Your club's rookie hotshot in 2015
He's the unlucky one tasked with carrying waters and kit bags and jotting down the morning's coffee orders for the rest of the team. He's the kid whose five-year-old car you fill with popcorn, the raw upstart who has to sing happy birthday to the coach's mum and settle for the final spot on the team bus.
But everyone knows the real reason why he's been lumped with first-year duties. Put simply: he's the future franchise face. The one who'll be giving out those orders in a few years to come – he's your club's rookie hotshot.
Brisbane Broncos: Joe Ofahengaue
Joe is a 112-kilogram powerhouse built with the endurance of a marathon-runner but the strength of 10 horses. Cut from the same cloth as Wallabies legend 'Willie O', the nephew of one of Australian rugby's most decorated forwards is being groomed to be a cornerstone of Brisbane's pack for years to come. Topping the hit-ups and metres in the under-20s competition last season, the 19-year-old was a member of the Holden Cup Team of the Year.
Canberra Raiders: Jeremy Hawkins
Jeremy Hawkins isn't new to a list like this. For a few seasons now the promising centre has been standing on the fringes of the NRL spotlight, but a combination of injuries, second tier salary cap issues and bad timing has limited him to just the one NRL appearance in the final game of 2014. A David Nofoaluma doppelganger – in looks and ability – this Junior Kiwi is sure to get a decent look-in soon as the Raiders continue to rebuild with youth.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: David Minute
Minute by name, certainly not minute by nature (sorry, couldn't help it). Not when you're carrying over 100 kilograms of pure muscle, including a pair of thighs that make the Burgess twins look like two vanilla Chupa Chups sticks. He's built low to the ground – we'll give you that – but that just makes those tree trunks harder to bend backwards. Not that there aren't enough earth-shakers at Belmore, but you can bet this one won't fall through the cracks.
Cronulla Sharks: Jack Bird
They've been waiting for a big break along the flanks of the Shire for a number of years now, and the Sharkies just might've stolen one from their geographical neighbours St George Illawarra in Jack Bird. He's what those with the good eye call a complete package; a versatile footballer who can play second row, centre and even fullback, with aplomb. Whether it's for the NSW Under-20s or the Junior Kangaroos, the tackle busting ball-runner has proven that he's got it all.
Gold Coast Titans: Kane Elgey
When Titans prodigy Kane Elgey took out the prestigious Holden Cup Player of the Year award last season, he joined a heady list of under-20s successes that included Ben Hunt, Tariq Sims, David Klemmer and Bryce Cartwright. Adding his name to that honour roll bodes well for the former Australian Schoolboys halfback, who interestingly only signed a one-year deal to stay on the nation's party strip and play back-up to first-choice halves Aidan Sezer and Daniel Mortimer.
Manly Sea Eagles: Jake Trbojevic
While the departure of Manly stalwart Glenn Stewart signalled an end to a successful era alongside brother Brett, the club began ushering in a new era after with the re-signing of promising prop Jake Trbjoevic and his younger sibling Tom. Jake, who spent most of the 2014 season in a moon boot getting over a serious ankle injury, made his NRL in the final game of the 2013. With the Sea Eagles still short on front-row stocks the former Junior Kangaroo is expected to make the jump up, where his power game will be invaluable as the club rebuilds.
Melbourne Storm: Nelson Asofa-Solomon
Get on YouTube, get on it now. Because there is nothing we can say, no combination of words we can group, that will go close to describing the power and skill displayed by this Sonny-Bill Williams clone. This 18-year-old rugby prodigy from Wellington, New Zealand, conquered the Holden Cup this year, leading the competition with 150 tackle breaks with daylight coming second. At 198cm and 112 kilograms, he has the height of Sam Kasiano and the weight of Frank Pritchard – a frightening combination that already has us quivering in our boots.
Newcastle Knights: Danny Levi
Newcastle under-20s captain Danny Levi is certainly a man the Knights can draw on in future seasons. In what has been a whirlwind year of transformation for Levi, the Junior Kiwi representative hooker has worked his way up to skipper after joining Newcastle midyear in 2014. With now assistant coach Danny Buderus long retired and Travis Waddell moving on to the Broncos, first choice rake Adam Clydsdale doesn't have all that much back-up which Rick Stone can draw on. Enter Levi. The 18-year-old led Newcastle to the NYC minor premiership in 2014 as well as earning a spot on the bench in the Holden Cup Team of the Year.
North Queensland Cowboys: Javid Bowen
The nephew of Cowboys icon Matt Bowen finished the first season of his three-year deal as a member of the Northern Pride's premiership-winning side in the Queensland Cup and starred in the inaugural NSW State Championship one week later. Blessed with deceptive pace – perhaps because of his Thurston-like long hair – the elusive centre has a knack for finding or setting up tries not unlike his famous uncle. We caught a glimpse of his talents in last year's Auckland Nines but it won't be long until he shows it regularly in the NRL.
Parramatta Eels: John Folau
The National Youth Competition isn't quite comparable to the United States' bevy of NCAA basketball tournaments just yet, so there aren't pages of individual highlights of promising talents overtaking the internet. But if you YouTube the name John Folau, his mountain-moving hit of an unsuspecting Newcastle kid would just about force you to hand over a contract instantaneously. Big, strong, armed with a steel fend and obviously able to time his tackles with the best of them, the younger brother of dual international Israel could be just the tonic for a club still reeling from the loss of its superstar fullback from Minto. The best part? John Folau is from the same place.
Penrith Panthers: Reagan Campbell-Gillard
They're blessed with an abundance of backline talent waiting on the fringes – keep names Waqa Blake and George Jennings in your little black book – but the next Panthers cub likely to graduate into Phil Gould's five-year plan could just as likely be towering prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard. Not only is he an exciting addition to the League's escalating list of triple-barrel names, but the former Junior Kangaroo – who also went to the World Cup semi-finals with Fiji last year – could get a decent look in what will be a slightly shallow front-row pool at Penrith next season.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Chris Grevsmuhl
He's got a CV that suggests he's been in this gig for as long as Cameron Smith – and looks to match – but Grevsmuhl hasn't quite cracked the big time yet. A two-time Queensland under-20s representative, former Junior Kangaroo and Australian Schoolboy, Grevsmuhl was in the Cowboys system for a long time before arriving at Redfern last season where he spent most of his time recovering from a major knee injury. With a high work-rate and a decent offload, the Townsville product could be a handy back-up for Michael Maguire's shallow second-row depth this year.
St George-Illawarra Dragons: Addin Fonua-Blake
Barnstorming 18-year-old prop Addin Fonua-Blake is a scary prospect already. Don't believe us? His 188cm and 116kg frame will have you thinking otherwise. His outlandish ways on the field will have to be toned down if he is to play in Paul McGregor's Red V team, but Fonua-Blake could certainly be the man to fix the Dragons' lack of size sooner rather than later. The Mascot Jets junior, who recently represented New Zealand in the Junior Kiwi's win over Australia, is a man the Dragons will love having in their corner.
Sydney Roosters: Jackson Hastings
Born the son of a Roosters legend, Jackson looked a player beyond his years with a couple of assured performances off the bench in the Roosters' charge to the finals in 2014. A life-threatening injury to dummy-half Jake Friend opened the door for the 18-year-old to make his NRL debut, and Kevin's son showed all the maturity of a veteran playmaker. He's a halfback by trade, so he might have to wait until James Maloney's contract winds up at the end of the year before getting a chance in his preferred position. But there's every chance the versatile young gun could be the Tricolours' fullback by Origin time.
Warriors: Sam Lisone
He's the proud Junior Warrior who lifted the Holden Cup in the club's fairytale grand final victory over Brisbane and is destined to follow a long list of former under-20s captains to graduate to the NRL side. That list already includes the likes of Ben Henry and Elijah Taylor, and Lisone is next in line. A barnstorming front-rower blessed with the strength of 10 men and an eye for a sneaky meat pie, the 20-year-old was 18th man for the Warriors in one game last year.
Wests Tigers: Manaia Cherrington
A staple of the Wests Tigers under-20s side for a couple of years now, 2015 could be the year Manaia Cherrington pushes his claim as back-up rake to skipper Robbie Farah. Showed glimpses of his elusiveness and vision in the Auckland Nines last February, and also has the added flexibility of playing third fiddle to halves Mitch Moses and Luke Brooks. The club needs a new "Blake Austin" – and this Junior Kiwi certainly has the goods.