WARRIORS ace Liam Farrell picks the Super League players that have impressed him the most so far as the season reaches half time.
LEEDS - KALLUM WATKINS
This is an easy choice. I’ve always thought he’s been a good player, but this year he’s stepped it up a level. I watched a game against Hull FC and he was outstanding. He set one try up and then scored a solo try which I don’t think anyone else could have done. He’s athletic and skilful, too.
ST HELENS - ALEX WALMSLEY
It’s a great story, isn’t it? He was playing for his university team not long ago, and then two years ago he was playing at Batley. I know the Championship is a competitive league, but it’s still a step up to Super League – yet he has gone to Saints and given them their main go-forward this year.
WIGAN - JOHN BATEMAN
A few people have played well for us this season, but I’m picking out Batty – his workrate is up there with the best around. He’s a natural rugby league player: tough, aggressive and has a good all-round skill-set. He’s not the biggest lad, but he never backs down from a challenge and he’s only going to get better and better for us.
HUDDERSFIELD - JOE WARDLE
The easy option would be to pick Danny Brough, because he obviously has a huge influence, but Joe Wardle has impressed me this year. He’s switched from the centre to the back-row and he’s handled the move well, he’s very good defensively in a team which has done well, without getting too much attention.
WARRINGTON - CHRIS HILL
In different games, different players stand-out – Ben Currie has showed he’s going to be a great back-rower – but in a team which has probably under-achieved so far, Chris Hill has turned up every week. He’s strong, and I rate him as one of the best front-rowers in the game. He’s a Wigan lad, too, and very easy going.
CATALANS - ZEB TAIA
And no, this isn’t just because of the way he played against Wigan at the weekend. I watched him play against St Helens and he made a similar impact. For a bloke who is so big, he’s really agile and when Catalans are on a roll, he shows how dangerous he can be.
CASTLEFORD - JUSTIN CARNEY
Yes, I know he’s been out injured for a few weeks, but how could I not pick him? He’s so strong – he’s like a bull. Sometimes, there’ll be two defenders in front of him, yet he still manages to fling them off and get over the line - I don’t know how he does it. He’s really hard to defend against.
WIDNES - KEVIN BROWN
He’s been a really important player for Widnes, and this year has been no different. He controls the game well, he’s got a presence and I think Widnes rely heavily on him. When he’s missing, they don’t seem to be the same side and they can struggle. But once Kev is there and he fires, Widnes seem to fire.
HULL FC - MARK MINICHIELLO
Of all the teams, Hull FC are probably the one side who’ve I not seen too much of this year. I know they’ve had a good run of results recently, so a few players must be doing something right, but earlier in the campaign I was quite impressed with their Australian backrower Mark Minichiello.
HULL KR - TERRY CAMPESE
It’s hard to look past Campese, isn’t it? Just like Widnes rely on Kev Brown, Hull KR rely on their No.6 as well - when he’s there, they tend to play better. They did well against us in the Challenge Cup, and he was at the centre of that - he kicked long and called the shots for their side.
SALFORD - NIALL EVALDS
I know they have some really good players like Rangi Chase and Michael Dobson - and I have a massive amount of respect for Adrian Morley - but in terms of who’s caught my eye, this young full-back has done really well. I didn’t know too much about him, but he’s played well every time I’ve seen him.
WAKEFIELD - PAUL MCSHANE
The Wildcats have obviously had a difficult season and, when they’re being beaten so often, it’s hard to pick out a stand-out player. But from playing against them, and from what I’ve seen, I think their hooker Paul McShane gets them going