Top 10 second-year superstars
Whether they have a whole season under their belt or a handful of games these are 10 of the NRL's hottest prospects set to play in their second season of NRL football.
10. James Fisher-Harris (Panthers)
The softly-spoken Fisher-Harris let his football do the talking for the Panthers during his debut year. Only a thumb injury kept the 20-year-old from featuring in all of Penrith's games as he solidified his place in coach Anthony Griffin's starting line-up. A Test debut for New Zealand at the end-of-season Four Nations was due reward for the back-rower.
9. Latrell Mitchell (Roosters)
Michael Gordon's arrival from Parramatta means 2017 will likely be a year of learning for young Latrell Mitchell. In a similar scenario as Anthony Minichiello and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck found themselves in a couple of years ago, Mitchell and Gordon are expected to alternate between fullback and the wing. Mitchell featured in every game for the Roosters last year and showed he is a long-term prospect for the Tricolours.
8. Jai Arrow (Broncos)
Corey Parker's retirement has opened the door for Arrow to build on his burgeoning NRL career. Arrow particular impressed defensively in 2016 with an incredible 96 per cent tackle efficiency. Handed 12 games by master coach Wayne Bennett, Arrow is currently competing with hardened Maroons prop Josh McGuire for the Broncos' No. 13 jumper.
7. Te Maire Martin (Panthers)
The young Panthers playmaker's first season was a weird one. Following a stellar Under 20s career at the Wests Tigers, Martin headed to the foot of the mountains and earned his first grade start in Round 3. Producing the match-winning field goal against Brisbane on debut, Martin only played a further five games before a serious shoulder injury derailed his season. The 21-year-old was picked in New Zealand's Four Nations squad and played one Test while on tour.
6. Kalyn Ponga (Cowboys)
The teenage prodigy made his NRL debut during the finals series and showed he could match it with the game's elite. While the Cowboys may be hesitant to develop the 18-year-old further, he will provide handy depth for Lachlan Coote, Kyle Feldt and Antonio Winterstein. The fleet-footed utility still has a year in North Queensland before he links with the Newcastle Knights for the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.
5. Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
Never fear Melbourne fans. Fijian sensation Marika Koroibete has left the club but it doesn't mean you will be without. Ex-Wests Tigers young gun Addo-Carr's arrival at the Storm will prove an exhilarating replacement for the rugby-bound winger. The 21-year-old Addo-Carr played nine games for the Tigers in 2016 and averaged over 100 metres per game.
4. Bevan French (Eels)
French was the only player to make his NRL debut for the Parramatta Eels last season following a memorable Auckland Nines campaign. The Tingha product scored eight tries in the Eels' Nines campaign and made the Team of the Tournament as a result. French went on to score 19 tries in 13 games in his first NRL season and is in the box seat to replace Gordon as the Eels' fullback in 2017.
3. Cody Walker (Rabbitohs)
Whether it was at fullback or five-eighth, Walker endeared himself to the Rabbitohs' faithful last season. Voted as the Rugby League Players Association's Rookie of the Year, the 26-year-old showed it's never too late to make a name for yourself in the NRL. South Sydney's Mr Fix-It should find a permanent spot in the halves alongside Adam Reynolds following Luke Keary's departure.
2. Suliasi Vunivalu (Storm)
The competition's reigning top try scorer enjoyed a meteoric rise at the Storm. The Fijian flyer made his NRL debut in Round 7 and didn't miss a game from there. Vunivalu crossed for 23 tries in 21 games, including five doubles, two hattricks and one four-try haul. The 21-year-old will form a lethal wing combination with Addo-Carr in the coming seasons.
1. Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
Cleary played so well in 2016 that the Panthers had no qualms releasing James Segeyaro and Jamie Soward from their respective contracts. The 19-year-old halfback played 15 games last year and helped guide Penrith to the finals despite usual back-rower Bryce Cartwright forced to partner him in the halves. Cleary is viewed as a future representative star by many.