Written by Callum Walker
Over the years, a number of Super League players have been snapped by NRL sides, hungry for English stars that can make a difference Down Under. The likes of the Burgess quartet, Adrian Morley, Gareth Ellis and James Graham have all made a lasting impact in the southern hemisphere.
So just which five could follow in their footsteps?
Despite signing a long-term deal with Warrington last season to extend his stay at the Halliwell Jones until 2023, Daryl Clark always seems to be a name bandied about when talking about potential NRL hotshots.
A Man of Steel winner in 2014 with hometown club Castleford, Clark has consistently churned out stellar performances for Warrington and has been unlucky in the past not to cement an England spot with the amount of hookers at the national side’s disposal.
With a superb running game, an incredible work ethic and the ability to create something out of nothing, Clark is surely one of the first names on anyone’s list and, aged just 27, would have many years left at the top of his game.
Following his move to St Helens from Batley in 2013, Alex Walmsley has transformed into one of the most formidable forwards in Rugby League. A fractured neck in March 2018 threatened to derail his already impressive Saints career, but the towering prop has since recovered and rediscovered the form that gave him an England call-up in 2017.
A winner of the Grand Final with Saints in 2014 and 2019, Walmsley continues to make those metre-eating runs that could see him be a huge Down Under. Still only 29, the front-rower could certainly make it big in the NRL.
Although somewhat of an outside shot, Liam Watts has definitely put in the consistent performances that would bring him up to par with the NRL forwards. After a successful period at Hull FC – where the forward won two Challenge Cups in successive years – Watts moved back to hometown club Castleford in 2018 with his career appearing at a crossroads.
Yet, that move rejuvenated his career and the prop has gone from strength-to-strength, even earning an England call-up in 2020 with his bruising yet mobile style of play that would fit in perfectly Down Under.
A St Helens winger through and through, Tommy Makinson would likely only leave his hometown club if an NRL side came calling.
At the age of 28, Makinson has won two Grand Finals with Saints – in 2014 and 2019 – but always appears as though he is ready to take his game to the next level. Arguably one of the greatest finishes in Rugby League in any hemisphere and one of the greatest ball-runners out of defence in Super League, 2018 Golden Boot winner Makinson would be a great addition for any NRL club wanting to take one of the world’s best wingers.
Though currently injured, Oliver Gildart is still only 23 yet seems to have been around forever. Having made his debut for Wigan in 2015, the centre enjoyed loan spells with Workington and Salford before making it crack in 2016. In fact, at the age of just 20, Gildart won his first Grand Final with the Warriors in 2016 and added another Old Trafford success in 2018.
The centre’s elusive running game, lightning pace and brilliant work ethic makes him a surefire target in the near future. But, Gildart already appears to be an NRL player-in-waiting.