Andrew Johns has chosen five of the 22 most outstanding NRL players in the 22-year-old’s scary observations for NSW fans.
While the Blues are enjoying a period of dominance, winning three of the last four series, it may be short-lived if Johns’ predictions about the next generation of greats come true.
Johns identified roster stars Sam Walker (19) and Joseph Swallow (18), boom Broncos winger Selwyn Cobo (19), Warriors fullback Rees Walsh (19) and the Cowboys, who were asked to pick five young guns who would dominate for the next decade. Speedstar Hamiso. Tabuai-Fido (20).
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“Four of them are Queenslanders,” Johns said at the Wide World of Sports. Immortal behaviorRaises his eyebrows, and also observes that there was a lack of quality halfbacks, the only number 7 on Walker’s list.
Of the five listed, three could be long-term fullbacks at the Queensland club stage, potentially complicating the Origin selection for the Maroons.
Cobbo, who is playing a breakout season for the Broncos, has made nine tries in 11 games, is determined to make a Maroon debut on the wing this year, while Tabuai-Fidow tasted his first origins in the last three games of the year.
Both Walker and Walsh are seen as long-term origins for Queensland, leaving Swallow, who is still more than two months away from his 19th birthday, to pursue a long-term career in the sky blue as the lone player on the Johns list.
At this stage of their careers, Johns sees Swalli, Walker and Kobo as the top three players of their generation, with Walsh and Tabuai-Fido behind them.
He predicted that Walker would attract the most lucrative deals due to the lack of brilliant halfbacks.
“Is Joseph Swallow still 18?” Johns nodded. “He is one. He must be one.
“He will eventually go to the centers, it won’t take long for him to get to the center, and I see him being one of the best centers of the competition. We saw him on defense the other night in Kikuyu!”
Johns then walked over to Cobbo, saying “we can all see, he’s finally going to be a world-class fullback.” Johns hopes he will move to the centers before becoming the No. 1 seed in the top.
Although Suali and Kobo Johns are the most breathless players on the list, he said Walker “could be the top earner in the competition in the next 10 years”.
“Halfbacks are very rare,” he added.
Although Walsh had a clear fourth name on the list, a warning to Johns Cowboys flyer Tabuai-Fido, he said he would have to fullback his long-term position to secure his place among the competition elite.
Probably the biggest surprise on Johns’ list was the omission of classy five-atom / back-rower Josh Schuster, who has made a big impression since making his Manly debut as a teenager in 2020.
Now 21, Schuster has become one of the Sea Eagle’s most dangerous offensive weapons on the left side and will take over from Kieran Foran in Manley’s famous No. 6 jersey next season.
Yet Johns kept him out of his top five and had a caution for Schuster about his conditioning.
“He has the talent, he’ll move up to fifth-eighth next year, Kieran Foran will move on,” John said.
“Big Five-Eighth. Something to worry about for me, Josh is back, he’s out with an injury, and he’s huge. I think he’s gained some weight in the off-season.
“We all know the talent … to be truly elite you have to tick every box and that is to be a professional away from training, not just focus on training and rigorous training, it’s extra and how you prepare for training. And how you prepare your body.
“So it could be a challenge for Josh but we can all see the awesome talent he has.”
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