Gareth Ellis has shown what a wonderful player he is since coming out of retirement for Hull FC.
For me, he defines the difference between a good player and a leader.
A good player will always play well themselves, but a leader gets that extra five percent out of those around them, with the way they carry themselves and demand standards in training, the dressing room and on the pitch.
What we are seeing is one of the best leaders in the modern Super League era.
That’s been great to see, but at the other end of the age spectrum there is some exciting young talent coming through in Betfred Super League.
Alongside Gareth at Hull FC is prop Masi Matongo, who was one of the shining lights early in the season during the side’s tough run of results and injuries.
He’s adapted very well to playing regular first team rugby, and he’s going to be a mainstay of the Hull side for a long time.
He has great physicality and plays the game very honestly, and those are two great traits for a front rower to have.
Jack Walker and Will Dagger are two excellent young full-backs with different strengths for Leeds and Hull KR respectively.
Jack is a fearless player – the kind that if he sees the smallest gap, he will run at it as hard as he possibly can.
He’s a great support player as well, and the area he will now be looking to develop is his ball playing.
Will Dagger is the opposite – he’s very agile and fleet-footed, with supreme skill and great timing with the ball.
His best attributes are around his decision-making – the challenge for him now will be being more physical when carrying the ball.
At Huddersfield, Joe Wardle reckons that younger brother Jake is a better player than him – and having played against Joe and having a lot of respect for him, that is saying something.
Jake has plenty of talent and a coach in Simon Woolford who has seen something in him and it will be great to see how he continues to develop.
Then there’s Jake Trueman at Castleford.
He’s only just turned 20 but is running one of the top Super League teams, and given that half-backs and props are the two positions that generally mature later, he can have an outstanding future.
I’m excited for England when I watch him play because that’s where he could end up – and he’s at the perfect club to develop with the coaching staff there.
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