PNG v Fiji - Men's International
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Sunia Turuva of Fiji passes during the Men's International Test Match between Papua New Guinea and Fiji at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on June 25, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

It's the Rugby League World Cup - a cross-cultural melting pot with teams from the Americas, Europe and the Pacific ready to do battle.

But with 16 teams in the men's competition and hundreds of names to familiarise yourself with, we've had a look at the squads to determine just who are the three players from each nation you need to be watching.



Jack Welsby
The 21-year-old has been a revelation for English champions St Helens since he was handed his debut all the way back in 2018. With the ability to play multiple positions in the spine and on the edges as well as a readiness to ride the pine for an opportunity, Welsby capped off a sensational 2022 campaign with a Man of Steel nomination.

He finished a championship year with 13 tries, finished third in the league for try assists with 27, third for tackle-breaks with 116 and also added 14 line-breaks. He's also comfortable in the clutch, kicking two drop goals over the course of the season – including a match-winner against Wakefield. He's only young, but pay attention, because you'll likely be hearing his name for a long time.

Dominic Young
A promising young talent who's starting to deliver on his potential for the Newcastle Knights, Young has impressed coach Shaun Wane in his warm-up game hit-out against Fiji, scoring one try and getting regularly involved.

He's grown in confidence during his time in the Steel City, finishing his first full season of NRL with an impressive 14 tries in 20 games despite his team's struggles. He's added an extra layer of intrigue to the competition given he was originally a walk-in to the Jamaican starting side with his brother, but Young caused a stir when he announced he wanted to represent England instead, despite likely having to fight for his spot with 376-game Super League veteran Ryan Hall. Regardless of who Wane decides to start with in the tournament opener against Fiji, expect Young to get his shot at some point.

John Bateman
NRL fans will already be familiar with Bateman given his two-year stint in Canberra that also earned him Dally M second-rower of the year honours. Though he sought an early release from his contract to return home, reports have surfaced in recent weeks that he wants to come back to Australia again, so expect plenty of clubs to be taking note.

But there's another narrative surrounding Bateman as well after he received a three-match suspension Wigan's Super League semi-final loss to Leeds. He has already had two games cleared after missing the warm-up game against Fiji and an England Knights game, so the 28-year-old will likely come out with a point to prove against France in the second game of the tournament.