It has been a very tough time for English Rugby League in recent years. With clubs struggling to survive and question marks around the long term future of the game in England, supporters over there have been worn down over time.
One bright spot has been the performance of a number of English players at the games highest level. For a long time England stopped producing players that were anywhere near being a match for the best in the world. Over the last few years though, there have been a few players that have stepped up to the challenge.
These are the top ten English Rugby League players in the game today.
1. Sam Burgess
An outstanding player, one of the best forwards in the game. His size, footwork and bit of ball playing ability allows him to play up front or in the back row. The thing I like about Burgess is that he is up for the challenge. He is willing to take on the oppositions big guns.
2. James Graham
He isn’t the most popular player, in fact I would go as far as to say he is fairly unlikable. He doesn’t care! He goes out, does his job and he isn’t looking to make any friends. His work rate is outstanding and like Burgess, he loves a personal challenge.
3. Gareth Widdop
The only half on this list. He achieved so much at the Melbourne Storm and now finds himself at the St George/Illawarra Dragons on a big contract. I was really impressed with his ability to come back last year from a dislocated hip. That would have ended the entire year for most players. Widdop was back for the finals but was unfortunately underutilized by England during the World Cup.
4. George Burgess
An outstanding first season in the NRL has seen George Burgess make a name for himself as a wrecking ball. The crazy thing is, he should only get better from here. It is interesting that he is a different player from his brothers, he is more of a no nonsense impact player. I’m willing to say he is the best player at scoring a try close to the oppositions line that I have ever seen.
5. Jack Reed
Coming off a bit of an off year for him see’s him this far down on the list. He is a very strong center, a good defender, and England really missed him during last years World Cup.
6. James Roby
Injuries are taking a toll on his career but he is still easily the best hooker England has produced for a long time. While he doesn’t have all the skills of the truly elite hookers in the game, he is still a very good player.
7. Sam Tomkins
There are so many question marks about his game and every single one of them will now be answered as he plays his first season in the NRL. No matter the outcome, I admire Tomkins for leaving his comfort zone, going to a team with two other first grade quality fullbacks, and putting the reputation he built in Super League on the line.
8. Thomas Burgess
He is developing a little slower than twin brother George, but all the signs are there that he will be a very handy forward for South Sydney.
9. Josh Charnley
When you watch him play you know he is having the time of his life. He goes out there for Wigan, has a heap of fun, and he just keeps scoring tries.
10. Ryan Hall
A big athlete, I rate him lower than Charnley simply because I think most of his tries are gifted by great play from the players inside him. Still a handy winger though.
Note: Rangi Chase is as English as Russell Crowe, Phar Lap and Pavlova.
So, do you agree or disagree? Feel free to have your say in the comments section below!
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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