BY CURTIS WOODWARD
A halfback is only as good his forwards. The pigs never get the glory but if you don’t have them, you’re not winning any game of football.
The following players could be anything. Curtis Woodward takes a look at some of the best young middle men to catch his eye.
The Wests Tigers are on a winner with this Junior Kangaroo. He didn’t miss a beat when he came into grade in 2017 and will push for a starting spot against the likes of Russell Packer and Ben Matulino. I watched him live at the World Cup playing for Lebanon where he gave everything he got against James Graham’s England. Has size, skill and a very big motor.
It comes as little surprise legendary coach Wayne Bennett was interested in luring King to the Broncos. I tweeted last year that I think King can play for Australia and my opinion hasn’t changed. According to all reports, he’s a mad man at training and gives everything. The kind of bloke you want to play for.
Speaking of mad men, pencil in the name Keegan Hipgrave. He treats every run or tackle like it could be his last with Titans captain Ryan James calling him a Greg Bird clone. That’s nice and all but Hipgrave will end up being double the player Bird was. Hipgrave is dynamite and will have plenty of opposition players looking over their shoulders in years to come.
Standing 6 foot 5 inches and weighing over 100 kilograms, Boyle was a wanted man in 2017 until he extended his contract on the Gold Coast. Won the club’s rookie of the Year award last season and the man can kick goals!
Everyone knew he could play but the big Panther went to another level at last October’s World Cup. Penrith has plenty of muscle in their engine room but Kikau could make a home for himself in the starting side if he can take that next step.
Brown has played plenty of first grade but I’m mentioning him here because I not only think he’ll gain Blues selection in 2018 but a green and gold jersey too. He is proof that the interchange modifications have worked and rugby league is a game for all shapes and sizes.