AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 27: Sam Tomkins of the Warriors reacts during the round 16 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium on June 27, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

10 players who failed to live up to potential

Throughout the years, rugby league has seen many young talents rise up and become some of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

However, there have been some that although they looked promising in the beginning failed to live up to the hype.

Don’t forget to comment your thoughts and opinions below.

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Chris Sandow

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Chris Sandow of the Rabbitohs celebrates scoring a try during the round one NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the Sydney Football Stadium on March 15, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

After winning the 2008 Dally M Rookie of the Year medal Chris Sandow looked to set the NRL alighting to guide his club the South Sydney Rabbitohs back to the glory days.

However, for the remainder of his time at the Bunnies, the Rabbitohs failed to make the NRL finals every season and it didn’t help that the year after he left the Bunnies finished in the top four.

In 2012, Sandow signed with the Parramatta Eels on a four-year deal as he looked to rejuvenate his career at a club that could do with being rejuvenated themselves. Off the bat, Sandow faced criticism off Parramatta legend Peter Sterling as he accused him of being unfit and overweight in 2012. That criticism would become a foreshadowing as to the scrutiny Sandow and the Eels would succumb to in coming seasons with the Eels finishing last in seasons 2012 and 2013 and failing to make the finals during Sandow’s tenure at the club.

In 2015 the Eels would release Sandow during the final year of his contract where he would go to the English Super League. Sandow signed with the Warrington Wolves where he was an unwelcome addition by Warrington fans with them famously chanting “what a waste of money” at their new half.

In 2016, Sandow would make his first professional grand final in a game where the Wolves were to be defeated by the Wigan Warriors.

In 2017 Sandow signed a one-year contract with Intrust Super Cup side the Norths Devils where he was dropped in May for failing to show up to training.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think Hodkinson belongs on the list. He has always been a solid first grade halfback, nothing more. He only played Origin due to the belief that the team needed combinations and they wanted Josh Reynolds.

    Alex Johnston is similar, he is a great finisher, which is what we all expected him to be.

    I think Matt Moylan should be on the list considering all the build up the media has given him, which he definitely has not (yet) lived up to.

    As for Todd Carney, didn’t we all see him as a good footballer on the field, and pretty loose off it, so hasn’t he lived up to his reputation too……

  2. What is going on with this list? To put someone like Jamie Buhrer, who was/is always a solid and dependable first grader without being a superstar, at number 2 and yet fail to acknowledge one of the biggest disappointments to ever take a modern day field in Dave Taylor?
    I think a few guys on this list should feel a little hard done by.

  3. I’d have Jamal Idris on this list, massive hype around him when he first hit first grade but never really lived up to the hype. A shame because he seems like such a nice guy.

  4. Alex Johnston shouldn’t even be on this list yet alone finish as No. 1 as the “greatest disappointment” (or failure to live up to their potential). Alex Johnston is only 22 years old and still developing.

    AJ scored 22 tries in 2017 and finished the season just 1 try short of topping the list. He was clearly leaading the top try scorers list until he was injured in round 24 and missed the last 2 games of the regular season. It is hard to imagine he would not have scored 2 tries in the last 2 games given his strike rate. I think it is a stitch up that AJ is on this list. As Fatty would say, turn it up!

    To the writer, Oliver Kellner-Dunk, are you sure you didn’t leave an “R” off your last name (just before the last vowel)? Bahahahahahahaha

  5. Mate who writes this crap, well we know who, but where the hell do you get these guy’s from ZT, Johnston number 1 your kidding , he played for a team that missed the finals but only missed being the leading try scorer due to injury the last two games, and to suggest to leave Souths to improve well that just doesn’t require a comment.

  6. List should be:

    10. Ben Barba
    Had one of the greatest single seasons in 2012. Was destined for higher acolades but personal issues stopped him from reaching his full potential.

    9. Adam Reynolds
    He’s low on the list because he is young and can still improve. He had one of the best starts to a career but injury seems to be stopping him from reaching his potential

    8. Kyle Stanley
    Was named in Ricky Stuart’s Blues in Waiting once upon a time. He was destined for big things because he was athletic, skillful and versatile. A chronic knee injury prematurely ended Stanley’s career.

    8. Adam Blair
    Was on the path to be one of the best forwards to ever play when he was at the Storm. Sneaky power and very skillful as a edge backrower…. Then the big deal at the West Tigers happened although he has had a late career revival.

    7. T- Rex
    Damaging ball runner who could ball-play. Could’ve had Taumalolo like impact but injuries, weight and attitude seemed to hurt T-Rex

    6. Dave Taylor
    Same as T-Rex. Destined for greatness but injuries,weight, attitude and a big money deal hurt Dave Taylor.

    5. Jamal Idris
    Had alot of success early on in his career and was tough to handle given how big he was and playing as a center. Personal issues and a big money deal at the Titans hurt Idris.

    4. Jharal Yow-Yeh
    Had tremendous success early on. Was scoring tries at a ridiculous rate and was the best finisher during his time. Despite early success, Jharal was only tapping into his potential and in no way fulfilling it. Injuries ended his career.

    3. Chris Sandow
    Was the most promising and electricfying player during his early career but a big money deal from the Parramatta Eels was the start of his downfall. Attitude problems, fitness and high error rate crept into Sandow and he lost all his spark.

    2. Todd Carney
    Probably one of the most gifted players to ever play and his 2010 season is evidence of that. Was destined for stardom, however, too many off the field issues and an attitude problem stopped Carney from reaching his full potential.

    1. NZ Warriors
    I know… I know. There can’t be an article about potentials not being filled without mentioning the Warriors. Every season, they have the most talented squad in the league but it seems that talent hasn’t converted to production and wins for the Warriors

    • That’s a great list but it’s a bit unfair including blokes whose career was cruelled by injury, like Yoh Yeh and Stanley. Idris is a bit in the same boat.

  7. Adam Reynolds? You must be tr0lling. Back in 2014 Adam Reynolds was just about the best HB (certainly he had the best kicking game) in the NRL. Since then he has had a bad run of injuries and inconsistent playing time has effected his form. Reynolds has represented NSW in SOO twice and (when in form) his name is always in contention. Should he remain injury free in 2018 I think you will feel silly have put him on this list.

    1. NZ Warriors

    Now I KNOW you are tr0lling and don’t even start me on Jharal Yow Yeh. The kid suffered one of the most horrific injuries in the history of the game (against Souths of all teams and I remember the game). His failure to “live up to (his) potential” had nothing to do with his ability (or lack thereof) but rather the freak injury that cruelly cut his career short. Give yourself an uppercut for even mentioning it.

    Clearly this list was meant to focus on players like Chris Sandow and Dave Taylor (as crowy says) who had the potential but where too lazy or lacked commitment and the work ethic to develop their talent fully. For mine, Dave Taylor played his best football at Souths (as did Chris Sandow). Perhaps there is a lesson there for young Crichton if you think about it.

  8. Very harsh on johnston, buhrer and Austin. Johnston may not be consistent but is a golden boot winner so I think he’s gone ok. The likes of Taylor, t-Rex, Tomkins and idris should’ve been superstars. Would also add jarrod Mullen to that list

  9. Ha ha, Warriors are the ultimate kiss of death for any career, all ten spots could go to them. They are a waste of space, punt them and give their spot to the bears.

  10. How far can we go back>?

    1. Choc Watmough.. 4 yr contract that was never going to make it
    2. Nate the poo Miles.. lazy prop where ever he was except origin
    3. Adam Blair – Disaster at the tigers (was better at broncs)
    4. Michael Lichaa – at the dogs but dare i say it will drastically improve next year
    5. Tim Lafai – was a dud in the first 2 years for Saints, seems to be on the mend
    6. Simon Mannering – drank from the same cup as Nate Miles
    7. Robbie Farrah – used by date was 2012
    8. Lewis Brown – i rated this guy for ages, seems to be going backwards at Manly
    9.Charlie Gubb – I think just needs the right coach
    10. Joshhhhh the muck Dugan… Never been a fan of this guy at club level. It peeves me how good he can play in the oz side… and cant string 3 games together for Saints.

    • Bravo pedro! I think we made a real breakthrough today. Releasing all that pent-up anger is much healthier isn’t it. Next week we will talk about how your team the Dragons diminishes the authority of Paul McGregor as a father figure for your club by referring to him as Mary. But for now, time’s up! Bahahahahahahahahahaha

    • Watmough??? Ha ha lol…
      Eels dumb enough to pay him a big contract at end of his career, makes him smart not him underperformed. The bloke achieved it all, was as tough as they come also

      • As an Eels supporter I was stunned we signed Watmough as he was plagued with injuries and well past his use by date but to mention him as a player who should be on this list is just stupid.
        One of only a small handful of Sheagles players I would have had at Parra in there prime.
        The others would have been Beaver and Cliffy.

        • “As an Eels supporter I was stunned we signed Watmough”

          As a Rabbitohs supporter I am stunned we signed Glenn Stewart! All that “Chupa Chup” ever did for Souths was warm the bench, keep our physio busy and draw on his pension courtesy of SSDRLFC to be one of the highest paid spectators at any of our matches!

          No, Souths had dibs on Beaver and Cliffy! Toss you for them… got a time machine?

        • Yeah it was a strange one definitely, especially for a 4 year contract.
          But to say he was underperformed is ridiculous….
          I could have David wolfman Williams on the list.
          The guy has huge potential but then injuries and off field crept in and was never the same, was a confidence player and each injury he got you could see he didn’t run quite as hard as before it. I used to love his kick returns

    • Disagree with Watmough too, he definitely lived up to his potential with all of his rep honours, premierships etc. Parra were the ones that failed in signing him for 4 years (although I did say right from the start that I thought they were trying to exploit the loophole of him not finishing his contract and the end being off the cap due to injury).

      I don’t think Mannering belongs either. He has captained his country and been a great servent for them.

      You can’t leave Filiga off any list like this, with the build up, the massive contract (for its time), to only play that one game….

    • Agree with you about Dugan…Plays for Aus he’s fantastic, for NSW he’s even better…for the Dragons, makes you wonder why he even turned up to play? Plus if you sneeze on Dugan there is a high chance he’ll get injured.

  11. Shaun Johnson tops the list for me. Such a shame as he had so much potential now he plays like an absolute puss! Imagine the player he’d be if he developed through a good solid club. Warriors = career killer…

  12. Johnson tops the list for me. Such a shame as he had so much potential now he plays like an absolute puss! Imagine the player he’d be if he developed through a good solid club. Warriors = career killer…

    • As would an audit of the Roosters for $$’s vs salary cap! I would pay to read THAT report IF it was factual and not a fabrication!

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