We’re now six rounds into the 2021 competition. And it’s fair to say that in any sport you’ll see players exceed expectation. It’s equally as fair to expect some players to fail to live up to the hype.
For the purpose of this we’ve picked out five players who we believe are ‘Hot’ – in that they’ve surpassed the levels expected of them, and three players who are ‘Not’ i.e. players who are performing below par/what’s expected.
This is purely opinion and is not designed to target any players. I could list 20 of each but I have chosen a handful that have stood out to me personally.
Ryan Papenhuyzen, for mine, is the form player of the competition, but almost played Origin last year and was man of the match in the Grand Final. Hardly unexpected.
1. Who’s Hot?
The Dragons halfback has been an absolute revelation thus far in 2021. Only injury could contain his brilliant start to the season under new coach Anthony Griffin.
It’s amazing what a little confidence can do for talented players. A try and five try assists in his three games make for beautiful reading for those wearing famous Red V. Last year he had seven in 19 games.
His form is back to the level that saw the Dragons offer up a big money, long-term deal. He’s also been named captain of the club and seems to have taken that on with great pride.
The 22 year-old has started the season in such brilliant form that he currently sits fifth on the Dally M leader board with eight points.
Two tries, five try assists, five line break assists, seven offloads and almost 92% tackle efficiency is downright brilliant for a number nine.
Mahoney has missed only eight minutes of game-time in 2021 and looks set for a QLD Origin squad call up. If his form continues he is second behind only Harry Grant.
William Kennedy has gone from long-odds to hold the number one jersey past round three or four to the Sharks undisputed best option at fullback with a big contract upgrade and extension to come.
Kennedy currently sits inside the top 10 on the Dally M count despite the Sharks only winning two games this season. He currently has seven points and has arguably been his sides best in every game bar the one he left early due to a failed HIA.
Six tries, two try assists, three line breaks and 13 tackle breaks show how important he has been in attack. He’s had further try involvements also meaning he’s hand a major hand in around half of the Sharks tries.
Hudson Young’s form across his five games has been such that the Raiders have hardly missed John Bateman. Considering the latter’s importance to the side, that’s a huge wrap.
Young has two tries, four line breaks, 90 metres per game as well as 19 tackle breaks shows just how difficult he has been to contain.
The improvement across one off-season is downright incredible. His issues are well behind him and now he’s a weaponry wide-running back rower to who has won every battle to date.
The bargain-priced signing of the season? It’s hard to argue against the 22 year-old wrecking ball, such has been his incredible level of performance to date.
Ryan Matterson’s loss should be huge, but Papali’i has stood up to the point where Matterson’s role isn’t even guaranteed once he returns from injury.
Four tries, a ridiculous 23 tackle breaks, almost 150 running metres per game and 360 post-contact metres says it all. Phwoar!
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