There are few more official ways to declare someone 'the next big thing' than for the league to rate them the best junior player of the year - and between 2008 and 2017, that's what the NRL did annually.

The Dally M Under-20s Player of the Year award is not to be confused with the Rookie of the Year gong. While the rookie of the year goes to the youngster who has best adapted to the demands of the NRL, the under-20s award went to the most talented (but untested) youngsters still in the development pool.

It's a great way to hype someone up, but it also heaps expectation upon a young man's shoulders - and each winner has dealt with it in different ways. Though most are still playing and some are gone from the game not one of the most talented juniors in the land has become a premiership winner - though some have come closer than others.

2. Beau Henry (2009 - St George Illawarra Dragons)

Henry comes in at the opposite end of the spectrum to Hunt – in fact, if you put their total appearances together you’d only just have entered the 300 club. But was his career silently affected by Wayne Bennett?

NRL Trial - Dragons v Bulldogs
WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Beau Henry of the Dragons passes during the NRL trial match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at WIN Stadium on February 20, 2010 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

After an incredible NYC career that saw him score over 400 points, Henry struggled to break into Bennett’s first team at the Dragons, eventually signing with Newcastle and being handed his NRL debut in 2011, making six appearances in his first season.

But then Bennett came to Newcastle and Henry was once again unwanted, eventually signing for the Gold Coast. His time on the Coast was troubled, making just eight NRL appearances in three years. He eventually returned to the Dragons and made the Auckland Nines squad, but was released just months into his contract to go and play Ron Massey Cup for Wentworthville. He played just 14 NRL games.


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