Just a tick over a fortnight away from finals footy, and all fans start having the same names run through their head when they think about the premiership race.

It's always Cameron Munster, Nathan Cleary, Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco... but what about the little guy? The underappreciated back-rower? The young talented centre?

Behind every club's superstars are an assortment of unearthed gems.

They aren't the ones that steal headlines or star in YouTube highlight reels, but they're the one's ensuring that your club is succeeding, the driving force behind the image of success.

And yes, every club in finals contention has one.

Penrith Panthers: Spencer Leniu

He may already have a grand final ring, but that doesn't mean Spencer Leniu can't be the Panthers' secret weapon heading into this finals series. The Samoan international has ensured life isn't too bad for Penrith over the past few weeks with James Fisher-Harris suspended.

He doesn't eat metres like a Jason Taumalolo or Reagan Campbell-Gillard but it's the energy he delivers off the bench that's ensured he's scored five tries in 2022, and will be a constant threat in the finals.

NRL Rd 10 - Panthers v Cowboys
PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: Spencer Leniu of the Panthers looks on during the round 10 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Panthers Stadium on July 19, 2020 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

North Queensland Cowboys: Peta Hiku

Can you believe that 2022 marks Peta Hiku's tenth season in the NRL?

The Kiwi international debuted in 2013 for the Manly Sea Eagles, running over 300 metres in his finals debut later that season. Spending time at Penrith, Warrington and the Warriors since then, Hiku brings the level of experience and composure that Chad Townsend has been lauded for this season at the club.

There's a reason that Hiku is keeping Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on the bench each week, and it's that experience on the big stage that guarantees Hiku's voice will be a valued one in North Queensland come September.

Cronulla Sharks: Royce Hunt

For a secret weapon, he's certainly been jagging some headlines of late, but Royce Hunt should thanks to the way he's been scoring tries and making an impact in recent weeks.

The former Raider has scored two tries in two weeks, but it's his surprisingly wide skillset that makes the newfound starting prop so dangerous. His four offloads against Manly in Round 23 was twice as many as any other starting Shark and a throwback to outgoing prop Andrew Fifita's peak.

While Toby Rudolf's impending return will see Hunt drop to the bench, it could make him even more impactful when he's injected into the game alongside Braden Hamlin-Uele.

Melbourne Storm: David Nofoaluma

It's tough to find a secret weapon within a side stacked with bona fide superstars, however it's hard to go past David Nofoaluma, who is on the verge of playing his maiden finals game despite playing in his tenth season season.

The Wests Tigers winger is on loan with the Storm through to the end of the season, and the metre-eater will be desperate to ensure that if he only gets one chance at finals football, that he'll make it count.

Since joining the club, Nofoaluma has scored three tries in three appearances, and averaged nearly 160 metres per game across the time span. Xavier Coates will get all the wraps on the opposite wing, but it'll be 'Nofa' getting through the dirty work.

Parramatta Eels: Will Penisini

There's an obvious reason the Wallabies are desperate to sign Will Penisini in the near future.

Coming through school playing rugby union alongside Joseph Suaali'i, Penisini has always been highly touted, but in 2022 we've finally been able to witness it first-hand. While he's enjoyed some wonderful attacking moments, his defence is his most poignant feature.

He won't put on the big hits like Justin Olam would, but the way he shuts down a sweeping, offensive raid on his side of the field is beyond his years, and in a game where sides predominately attack to their left, Penisini will be a massive factor for the Eels in September.

NRL Rd 23 - Eels v Cowboys
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 21: Will Penisini of the Eels scores a try during the round 23 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium, on August 21, 2021, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

South Sydney Rabbitohs: Siliva Havili

The Rabbitohs are a different side to the one that made last year's NRL Grand Final, but while they've lost megastars like Dane Gagai and Adam Reynolds, they've picked up high-performing role-players, and there's few out there better than Siliva Havili.

In a forward pack featuring big names like Jai Arrow, Cameron Murray and Thomas Burgess, it's easy to forget about hooker-turned-lock Havili. While others lay the platform and steal the commentator's attention, it's Havili's energetic impact around the 25th minute of each match that has really seen South Sydney hit the accelerator this season.

Averaging just shy of 100 metres and 20 tackles per game off the bench, he's the energiser bunny the Rabbits need to make an impact in the finals.

Brisbane Broncos: Kobe Hetherington

His undeniable talent is shifting him from 'secret weapon' to 'young star', but the impression Kobe Hetherington may leave on the finals is astronomical. The ball-playing lock played hooker in his early days, but in the same vein as Connor Watson and Kurt Mann, he's made the transition into the No.13.

Currently without Patrick Carrigan due to suspension, Hetherington plays a different style of lock to his teammate, with that link role really benefitting halves Ezra Mam and Adam Reynolds when he's on the pitch.

Free to negotiate with opposition clubs from November 1, Brisbane are set to offer a massive upgrade in order to keep the hard-hitting forward, so much so that it could push Carrigan into the front-row in the near future.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Kobe Hetherington of the Broncos leaves the field after being sent off during the round 14 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Brisbane Broncos at GIO Stadium, on June 12, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Sydney Roosters: Sam Verrills

Sometimes in life, we become so enamoured with a restaurant's specials board that we completely forget how good the food on the menu is.

That's been the case for the Roosters. They've thrown a massive paycheque at Brandon Smith, but in the process, they forgot about Sam Verrills sitting right under their nose.

Since news broke of Verrills' impending departure to the Gold Coast Titans, the young hooker has been sublime, finally shrugging off the injury cloud that's hung over him for two years.

While he isn't the same level of star that Smith is, he complements this side so well and has a knack of knowing when to inject himself, and when to dish it off to the halves and allow them to run the show. He won't be the one club's are studying video on, but he has the ability to make them pay for it.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 31: Sam Verrills of the Roosters celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round 24 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers at Sydney Cricket Ground on August 31, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Canberra Raiders: Adam Elliott

There's a chance this secret weapon may be unfired, but in his final month with the Canberra Raiders, expect big things out of Adam Elliott.

The former Bulldog has been a mainstay in the Raiders' pack in 2022, missing just one game all season, and it's his ferocity and tenaciousness that makes Elliott dangerous on the field. Pound for pound, the lock runs as hard as anyone, and his nifty ball-playing makes him quite the man to watch.

While Joseph Tapine and Josh Papali'i are the men we'll see when the media promotes their pack, it's the forwards around them, especially Elliott, that ensures their front-rowers have moved from potential to powerhouse.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been processed using digital filters) Adam Elliott of the Raiders looks on during the round two NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at Qld Country Bank Stadium, on March 19, 2022, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)