You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Your club's rookie to watch in 2019

They're the future superstars tipped to light up the 2019 Telstra Premiership season.

With a record amount of experience - think Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Luke Lewis, Simon Mannering and Sam Thaiday among others -  lost last season to retirement, there is no better time for the next generation to make their mark.

Last year's crop of newcomers included eventual rookie of the year winner Jamayne Isaako, goal-kicking wizard Rhyse Martin and Titans sensation AJ Brimson.

Isaiah Papali'i, Kyle Flanagan and Lachlan Croker also made their mark in the competition.

Who will be the young guns step up to the plate in 2019? has identified one player from each club to keep an eye on over the next eight months.

Jump to your team: Broncos Raiders Bulldogs Sharks Titans Sea Eagles Storm Knights Warriors Cowboys Eels Panthers Rabbitohs DragonsRoosters Wests Tigers

Broncos prop Thomas Flegler.
Broncos prop Thomas Flegler. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

Brisbane Broncos

Thomas Flegler

  • Date of birth: August 19, 1999
  • Position: Prop
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Junior Kangaroos (2018), Queensland under 20s (2018)

Brisbane's nursery of front rowers is at one of its strongest point in club history and Tom Flegler looms as the next prop to join the Broncos' NRL debutants list.

Flegler has won the battle with several teammates for a spot in round one following Payne Haas' four-game suspension.

The 19-year-old played 15 games for Souths Logan in the Intrust Super Cup last season, further highlighting his talent to match it with grown men, albeit in a second-tier competition.

Raiders forward Emre Guler.
Raiders forward Emre Guler. ©Keegan Carroll/NRL Photos

Canberra Raiders

Emre Guler

  • Date of birth: January 19, 1998
  • Position: Prop
  • NRL appearances: 3
  • Representative honours: Junior Kangaroos (2017), NSW under 20s (2018)

Emre Guler made his NRL debut in round 23 last season and didn't look out of place in the top grade with a high work rate in limited minutes.

The departures of Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo in the engine room leaves Ricky Stuart with limited options up front. That could see Guler land more game time.

The 21-year-old played his junior footy at South Sydney before moving to the nation's capital. He played Junior Kangaroos in 2017 with the likes of Jesse Ramien, Brodie Croft, Cameron Murray and Victor Radley.

"I just know I've got to keep building and get better to earn a few more games this year," Guler told

"I want to get a start and play some consistent footy. My debut last year got my foot in the door with experience so it's a start for me but I want to cement a spot now."

Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney.
Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Canterbury Bulldogs

Nick Meaney

  • Date of birth: September 10, 1997
  • Position: Fullback
  • NRL appearances: 5
  • Representative honours: NSW under 20s (2017), NSW residents (2017)

Nick Meaney arrives at Canterbury after five NRL games for the Knights last season. He left the Hunter on an impressive note after earning player of the year awards over two seasons.

The Ballina junior has represented NSW in both the under 20s and reserve grade level. Meaney's speed is his biggest asset, while he proved in his five games he's safe under the high ball.

He'll lock horns with Will Hopoate for the fullback spot at Belmore throughout the 2019 season.

"Will played a lot and is a handy fullback, having him here still drives me and motivates me to earn that spot," Meaney told

"Nothing is given in this industry and you've got to earn everything you get. Growing up I've always been a skinny guy and I've focused on putting on a few kilos this year but I've also found a balance to not lose any speed or fitness."

Xerri turns on the jet boots

Cronulla Sharks

Bronson Xerri

  • Date of birth: September 9, 2000
  • Position: Centre/Wing
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Australian Schoolboys (2017), NSW under 18s (2018), NSW under 20s (2018)

A stunning long-range try in the pre-season trial against Manly left people in awe of Bronson Xerri's potential in 2019. Xerri is a local junior, having played with the Sharks in both the Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions.

He was denied a chance to play first-grade football last season due to age restrictions, but has since turned 18 and is now a genuine option.

The departures of four regulars in the backline – headlined by Valentine Holmes – leaves multiple spots up for grabs in the Shire.

"If it comes I'll be more than happy to take the opportunity," Xerri said at the Sharks' recent media day.

"I can play anywhere to be honest. As a local junior it would be an honour to make it to the top and debut.

"I also want to make the 20s NSW team and Junior Kangaroos, I missed out last year."

Gold Coast utility back Jesse Arthars.
Gold Coast utility back Jesse Arthars. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Gold Coast Titans

Jesse Arthars

  • Date of birth: August 7, 1998
  • Position: Utility back
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Nil

Jesse Arthars is back at the Titans after stints with Melbourne and South Sydney. He can play anywhere in the back five, giving Garth Brennan a versatile option should injuries or the representative period strike on the coast.

Arthars finished as the under 20s' highest point-scorer in 2016 during his time at the Storm.

He also finished with seven tries in six appearances (including eight line breaks) in last season's Intrust Super Premiership with Rabbitohs feeder club North Sydney.

Manly forward Reuben Garrick.
Manly forward Reuben Garrick. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Manly Sea Eagles

Reuben Garrick

  • Date of birth: June 30, 1997
  • Position: Centre
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Australian Schoolboys (2015), NSW under 18s (2015), NSW under 20s (2016-17)

A former junior NSW and national representative, Reuben Garrick moves from St George Illawarra to Manly looking to push his case for an NRL debut.

Garrick started on the wing in the Sea Eagles' first trial against Cronulla and could weave his way into the backline in round one through injuries and suspension, while long-term he could be a mainstay by season's end.

He spent five seasons at the Dragons and most recently played 21 games for their Intrust Super Premiership side, scoring 10 tries, making 12 line breaks and completing eight try assists.

The 21-year-old has been a junior star for years and could finally be able to display his talents thanks to his new surroundings.

Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen.
Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

Melbourne Storm

Ryan Papenhuyzen

  • Date of birth: June 10, 1998
  • Position: Fullback
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative Honours: Australian Schoolboys (2015), NSW under 18s (2016), NSW under 20s (2018)

A former Wests Tigers junior, Ryan Papenhuyzen will enter his second season in Melbourne colours after spending 2018 with feeder club Sunshine Falcons.

The NSW junior representative is a highly rated fullback having come through the lower grade systems as a consistent standout performer.

A pectoral injury to Scott Drinkwater could open the door for the speedster to play second fiddle behind either Jahrome Hughes for the Storm No.1 jersey, at least until Drinkwater makes a return.

Ironically in 2015, when Papenhuyzen represented the Australian Schoolboys side at fullback, Drinkwater was in the same side and selected in the halves.

Knights prop Pasami Saulo.
Knights prop Pasami Saulo. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Newcastle Knights

Pasami Saulo

  • Date of birth: August 1, 1998
  • Position: Prop
  • NRL appearances: 3
  • Representative Honours: Australian Schoolboys (2016), NSW under 18s (2016)

The Knights may have recruited well to boost their front row stocks but have an up-and-comer at their disposal in prop Pasami Saulo.

The local junior came off the bench in three games for the club last season and showed maturity beyond his age.

He represented NSW under 18s in 2016 before Australian Schoolboys selection three months later. Saulo is one of the tallest players at the club and is viewed as a long-term prospect with further development to come.

Adam Keighran and the Warriors at pre-season training.
Adam Keighran and the Warriors at pre-season training. ©Andrew Cornaga/

New Zealand Warriors

Adam Keighran

  • Date of birth: April 24, 1997
  • Position: Halfback
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Australian Schoolboys (2015)

It looms as a most intriguing three-way tussle for the No.7 jersey vacated by Shaun Johnson's departure.

Adam Keighran finished the year as the leading point-scorer in the Intrust Super Premiership and even if he loses out for a spot in round one he will be putting pressure on those ahead of him to make his first-grade debut.

The former Panthers halfback originally came through the Bulldogs junior systems before the Warriors came calling.

Cowboys back-rower Mitchell Dunn.
Cowboys back-rower Mitchell Dunn. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

North Queensland Cowboys

Mitchell Dunn

  • Date of birth: February 3, 1997
  • Position: Second row
  • NRL appearances: 2
  • Representative honours: Queensland under 18s (2015), Queensland under 20s (2017)

Ethan Lowe's sudden move to South Sydney opens the door for Mitch Dunn to play more NRL games in 2019 and there'll be no better way to learn than under the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Josh McGuire, Josh McGuire, Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper.

While he may not get the game time he'd like to, the next few seasons are critical for his development. Dunn's biggest asset comes from his time spent in the halves as a junior before size got the better of him and he was moved into the back row.

In the Cowboys' pre-season trials alone he covered up to three positions over 80 minutes to display his versatility.

Parramatta Eels

Dylan Brown

  • Date of birth: June 21, 2000
  • Position: Halfback
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Australian Schoolboys (2017)

Dylan Brown's pending NRL debut will come with much anticipation after the departure of Corey Norman to the Dragons. Brown is a promising talent hailing from New Zealand before linking with the Eels as a 15-year-old.

Moses: Dylan Brown's a classy player

Only the playmakers at the Warriors, who made a last-minute attempt to sign Brown over the summer, will come into the new season feeling more pressure. Brown convinced many in Parramatta's trial against the Raiders that age will prove no barrier.

How his body handles the physical and mental challenges of a full season in the halves could be a different story. His composure and footwork are his biggest assets.

"We see him a big part of the club long term. He's only young and he'll have his ups and downs but we'll support him throughout the season," Eels coach Brad Arthur told Inside the NRL.

"He's got a big future ahead of him and showed a good level of calmness [in the trials]."

Penrith lock Liam Martin
Penrith lock Liam Martin ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Penrith Panthers

Liam Martin

  • Date of birth: March 5, 1997
  • Position: Lock
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: NSW residents (2018)

Temora product Liam Martin is tipped to be one of the next players to come through the Panthers junior system. His rugged approach to the game in the middle of the field is a cornerstone to Martin's game.

The 21-year-old has spent four seasons at the Panthers since relocating in 2015 and was rewarded with a strong run of form last year to be picked in the NSW residents side.

The Panthers are well-equipped in the forwards department but an injury here or there could provide Martin his big opportunity in 2019.

Allan makes a statement

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Corey Allan

  • Date of birth: April 19, 1998
  • Position: Fullback
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Queensland under 18s (2016), Junior Kangaroos (2017), Queensland under 20s (2017) 

The uncertainty of the fullback spot and fitness concerns around Rabbitohs skipper Greg Inglis leaves Corey Allan as strong chance to make his NRL debut in 2019. He is rated one of the brightest prospects in the game. 

The former Broncos product was actually lured to the club by former coach Anthony Seibold. The 20-year-old made history in 2018 becoming the first player to represent the Prime Ministers XIII despite no NRL experience previously.

He played 17 games for Souths Logan in the Intrust Super Cup last season, scoring nine tries and totalling 62 tackle busts. 

A hat-trick in the Charity Shield iconfirmed the new recruit would not look out of place in the top grade.

Ravalawa does it all himself

St George Illawarra Dragons

Mikaele Ravalawa

  • Date of birth: November 9, 1997
  • Position: Winger
  • NRL appearances: Yet to debut
  • Representative honours: Fiji World Cup squad (2017)

Mikaele Ravalawa arrives at the Dragons after a two-year stint in Canberra. A Fijian native with a heavy rugby union background, the 21-year-old was crowned the Raiders' under 20s player of the year in 2017.

His strong season also saw him named in Fiji's World Cup squad and though he never played a game, he gained valuable experience.

A two-try effort in a trial against Newcastle, and the departures of Jason Nightingale and Nene Macdonald leaves Ravalawa with a positive path towards a first-grade debut in 2019.

Sydney Roosters prop Poasa Faamausili.
Sydney Roosters prop Poasa Faamausili. ©Paul Barkley/NRL Photos

Sydney Roosters

Poasa Faamausili

  • Date of birth: February 14, 1996
  • Position: Prop
  • NRL appearances: 1
  • Representative honours: Junior Kiwis (2016)

The name Poasa Faamausili could become a lot more common as the defending premiers look to find a replacement for Dylan Napa in 2019.

The Auckland-born prop has been with the Tricolours since 2014, coming through the SG Ball and under 20s teams.

He made his NRL debut in 2018 against the Titans and was one of three debutants to score a try in the clash.

"As a front rower you've got to let them grow a bit, they develop a bit later on with age but he is ready," Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary told

"He'll get his shot again this year and from what he's shown at training he'll be ready.

"He's a big guy with the ability to offload or ball play. He's got a couple of big men in front of him to start the year but you never know with footy and injuries he could play a lot this year."

Wests Tigers

Paul Momirovski

  • Date of birth: July 19, 1996
  • Position: Centre
  • NRL appearances: 2
  • Representative honours: NSW under 18s (2014)

He's already had a taste of first grade – and finals footy for that matter – but Paul Momirovski arrives at the Wests Tigers wanting more than just a back-up position.

Momirovski was a Rabbitohs junior before he shifted to the Roosters and spent five seasons at the Tricolours.

The reliable outside back has speed to burn and is steady in defence, returning an 82.7 per cent tackle efficiency rate for Wyong in the Canterbury Cup NSW last season.

In his 20 appearances, he scored 10 tries, made nine line breaks and set up three four-pointers.

Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski.
Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski. ©

He can also slot into the halves and is a capable goal kicker should the joint venture struggle in those positions.

"I grew up watching a lot of Mark Gasnier and Billy Slater as well," Momirovski told

"A bloke like Gasnier, being a centre, was someone I tried to modelled my game on. I've spent years studying how he played ... his footwork, and mesmerising the opposition. He was pretty good defensively as well."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners