The 25 rookies set for a Maroon future: Part V
There's always plenty of hype around players in the NRL who are about to make their mark on State of Origin.
But which young guns are showing their potential at the lower levels? Who are the rookies impressing recruiters and scouts with their athleticism and dedication to making a career in the NRL?
While the pool of emerging talent in Queensland is deep, we've cut it back to 25 young guns that we're excited about.
Here's the final part of our week-long series.
Tanah Boyd (Brisbane Broncos)
BOYD has drawn comparisons with Alfie Langer for his stature and blond hair. He was the Queensland under-18s five-eighth this year and, along with Cory Paix, has been touted by Broncos great Darren Lockyer as a "game manager'. He could still be at least one more year away from NRL and will benefit from a year in the Intrust Super Cup with Souths Logan. In 2017, Boyd and fellow young Bronco David Fifita starred in Keebra Park High's national grand final win.
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Melbourne Storm)
THE Widgee product is one of the most exciting young rugby league forwards not just in Queensland, but across Australia. Fa'asuamaleaui was contracted to the Brisbane Broncos as a 12-year-old but signed a deal with Melbourne in May of 2017. The 18-year-old has since risen quickly through the ranks this year after he represented both the Queensland under-18s and under-20s, starred for the Junior Kangaroos and played with the Easts Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup grand final. He is edging closer to an NRL debut and, with his strong build and hard running game, is one to keep an eye out for in 2019.
Thomas Flegler (Brisbane Broncos)
A 19-YEAR-OLD prop, he played for the Junior Kangaroos against New Zealand in October as a curtain raiser and his presence in the second half changed the momentum for Australia. He is a monster forward, highly regarded across the game. Originally from Tully, he impressed especially with his bruising defence while playing Intrust Super Cup for Souths Logan in 2018. Has joined Brisbane's top 30 squad this year, along with fellow forward Patrick Carrigan.
Murray Taulagi (North Queensland Cowboys)
TAULAGI is widely tipped to be in line for his NRL debut this year. The former Junior Kangaroo is in North Queensland's top 30 squad and Matt Scott told The Courier-Mail the young back has "huge potential". The club's recruitment manager Clint Zammit is the one who signed Taulagi after watching him play rugby union at Brisbane State High and has been impressed by his development.
"He's come along in leaps and bounds," Zammit said.
"He came to us as a 17-year-old and played 15 games with the 20s in 2018. He's progressing along nicely. Athletically he could be anything. He's a big body. He can make a debut this year."
Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm)
WHILE Grant technically doesn't match the criteria given he played one NRL game for the Storm in May this year, he is certainly a bright prospect for Queensland in the future. The Yeppoon product is a rake and is learning from the best No.9 in the game in Cameron Smith. He played the majority of his 2018 season in the Intrust Super Cup with the Sunshine Coast Falcons and, despite an injury-riddled season, almost took out the competition's Player of the Year medal, finishing just two points behind Ipswich winner Nathaniel Neale. If he can stay injury-free in 2019, it will be a big year for him.