Youngest NRL players. Our NRL rookie preview features a look at some of the most exciting newcomers who will be competing to make a name for themselves in the league this year.
A promising young half-back who could be a contender for Brisbane’s number six spot in 2022. Albert Kelly and Tyson Gamble, two former South Logan Magpies, are vying for the right to partner newcomer Adam Reynolds in the halves. Mam won the Queensland Cup rookie of the year in 2021 after scoring 13 tries and assisting on another eight in just 11 appearances.
The Rabbitohs’ teenage star was propelled into the top 30 squads for the 2022 season despite not playing in the New South Wales Cup. There is a gap in South Sydney’s centers after Dane Gagai’s move to Newcastle, and the 19-year-old can likely fill the void with ease.
An outstanding reserve grade player for Canterbury and promising young talent for the class of 2022. The Bulldogs have signed the 18-year-old strike center to a contract until 2023, and he has been included in Trent Barrett’s top 30 squads for the upcoming season. As the Doggies prepare for a new age, he serves as another building component.
At the Under-16 and Under-18 levels for the NSW Blues, Mooney has played alongside Kalo Kalo, who is also a future blue. At just 19, he’s already a skilled and quick free forward. Ryan James, Dunamis Lui, and Sio Soliola’s departures open the door for him to make a name for himself in Rick Stuart’s squad.
In spite of his 20-year-old age, the halfback is one of St. George Illawarra’s brightest prospects. As Adam Clune leaves for Newcastle and Corey Norman retires, there is an opening in the Dragons’ halves and Sullivan is capable of being a long-term solution.
After the losses of Brent Naden, Paul Momirovski, and Matt Burton, the Panthers will have a dynamic and light-footed center in 2022. Last year, Tago was an integral member of a Panthers team that went 12-1 in the NSW Cup before the season was cut short. Ten tries were scored over the 9 games he played, with four assist tries, eight line breaks, and 34 tackle breaks.
The Titans have come a long way since they finished bottom in the NRL in 2019, placing ninth and eighth, respectively. Gold Coast will need a new six-and-seven combination now that Jamal Fogarty and Ash Taylor have left, and AJ Brimson is likely to move to the standoff, so Sexton has an opportunity to show his abilities and establish himself as a long-term scrum half solution. Toward the end of last season, the 20-year-old showed glimpses of his talents, and it would be interesting to see how he performs in a complete season.
Maika Sivo and Semi Radradra are two Fijian wingers who have made an impact on Parramatta throughout the years, and Solomone Naiduki could be the next big thing for the club in 2022. Sivo parallels have already been made, and after performing in the NSW Cup he has now made it into the Eels’ top 30. Dunster’s season-ending injury could provide Dunster, 20, an opportunity to emulate the success of his fellow Jamaicans.
With Jayden Sullivan, Talatau Amone, and the Feagai brothers all vying for bigger roles this season, the Dragons have a lot of promising young talent. With six tries in his first five appearances for St. George Illawarra, the best of the group is Sloan, who has already proved his offensive brilliance with two assists and an average of over 100 meters per game. The 19-year-old is expected to take over Matt Dufty’s fullback role this season, so it’s worth keeping an eye on him.
The Raiders’ 19-year-old star has all the flair, imagination, and raw speed to be a long-term success story for the team. Savage will have to compete with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who is expected to return from injury this season, for the starting job. However, given Savage’s huge potential and his propensity to rip through opposing defenses, we may see much of Savage in the next season.