Leeds Rhinos: Here’s my Super League eye-catchers so far this season - Ablett

Tom Johnstone is fended off by Denny Solomona.
Tom Johnstone is fended off by Denny Solomona.
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WE HAVE played everyone once now, so I thought this week I’d give my view of the other 11 Super League teams and pick out a player from each who has impressed me this year.

Starting at the top, Warrington Wolves have been the best team over the first half of the season, but they’ve lost a couple of games since Chris Sandow has been injured which says a lot about his influence.

But, for me, the player who has really stood out is full-back Matty Russell. He is very consistent and he gets them on the front foot. He is excellent on kick returns and very strong and elusive.

Catalans Dragons have sorted their away form out and been very consistent this year. They don’t play with a lot of structure, they are very off-the-cuff, but they come up with some special plays. I am a fan of Glenn Stewart, who is a class act, but I’m going to pick another full-back, Tony Gigot.

He has been a bit of a utility-player in the past, but he carries the ball strongly, he has good footwork and he is a quality defender.

Wigan haven’t got their attack going yet this year so a lot of what they have been doing is based on a strong defence.

They have been missing some big players and given a few debuts to young kids, so it’s credit to them they are so high on the table.

I think Dom Manfredi has been probably the form winger in the competition and he was outstanding when they played us. When he gets the ball you have to get your body in front of him or he can be really dangerous.

I’d pick Gareth Ellis as Hull’s key man. Having played with and against him, I know what a threat he is.

He carries the ball really strongly and hurts you with his defence.

They are a big, strong team and I’ve been impressed with them this season. They signed well and have a lot of quality across the board.

Widnes started really well, but they struggled when Kevin Brown was out and that shows what a key man he is.

When you preview Widnes you look at him as a player you have to keep under control, but saying it and doing it are two different things. He can pass long or short, he is smart and he is able to put on some special plays.

St Helens will be disappointed not to be higher than sixth, but they are still in a good position and I think, considering the injuries they’ve had, they are are doing pretty well. Prop Alex Walmsley maybe hasn’t hit top form yet, but he is a strong ball carrier and really tough to defend against.

Castleford Tigers are another team who’ve had a shed load of injuries. Any side would miss players like Luke Dorn and Ben Roberts, but they’ve handled it quite well.

When I am watching games on tv, one player I enjoy watching is Denny Solomona. When he gets the ball in his hands you know something special could happen, he is quick and agile and a fantastic finisher.

I know I am picking a lot of backs, but Josh Griffin at Salford is somebody else who has impressed me this year.

We played them recently and and when we looked at them it was obvious he is a big influence on how they play.

He has been around for a while, but his game has really developed this season. Salford have been a bit up and down, like most teams, but they they have improved this year and they were very good defensively against us.

Wakefield have been the big surprise. They had a poor start, but their current form is outstanding and they have unearthed a real find in Tom Johnstone.

When he first burst onto the scene he was an outstanding athlete, but Brian Smith and Chris Chester have done a great job and his all-round game has really improved.

Hull KR have had a tough year, but Maurice Blair has been their stand-out. He has been shifted around a fair bit and that makes it tough, but he has been very consistent.

Huddersfield are similar. Jermaine McGillvary had a great year in 2015 and he has built on that this season.

He isn’t flashy, but he does his job to a very high standard. He scores a lot of tries and he’s very tough to defend against.