The legend, the veteran and the youngster: Three of Wales’ best Super League players to watch this season

In a league dominated by English teams these Welsh exiles are hoping for their chance at glory

THE Betfred Super League kicks off this Thursday as Warrington Wolves meet last year’s Grand Final runners-up Leeds Rhinos.

There will be two Welsh players going head to head in that match, maintaining their country’s proud tradition in the game.

Welsh players from Clive Sullivan to Jonathan Davies have crossed the code divide since the 1895 schism, which led to the creation of rugby league away from its union-based origins.

The Cardiffian looks at three of the best Welsh players in this year’s edition of the competition.

Rhys Williams

Wales’ most-capped men’s senior league international and record try scorer, the Flint native has long been a source of hope for a country whose performances on the world stage have often been sub-par at best.

Williams made his debut in 2008 against England and has since gone on to make 33 appearances for the national team, scoring 22 tries.

On the domestic scene, the 33-year-old has enjoyed a varied career that has seen him play for a host of clubs in both the UK and Australia.

The winger, who can also play as a centre, started his career at the Warrington Wolves in 2010. His three years at the Cheshire club were interrupted by brief loan moves to Celtic Crusaders, Castleford Tigers, Salford Red Devils, and Swinton Lions.

Williams then spent a brief spell in Australia with the Central Queensland Capras in 2014, before returning to the UK with the London Broncos.

Over a four-year spell at the Broncos, Williams would rack up an impressive 100 tries in 154 appearances.

Williams left the Broncos in 2019 to join Salford for his second spell at the club where he has remained to this day.

Gil Dudson

The Trowbridge native is arguable one of the most experienced players in the league this season, with a playing career that has spanned more than a decade.

The prop started his career at the Celtic Crusaders from 2009-2011, with a brief loan spell at the South Wales Scorpions.

Dudson then moved to Super League side Wigan Warriors in 2012 and since then has amassed more than 200 top-flight appearances for the likes of the Widnes Vikings, Salford Red Devils and the Catalan Dragons.

In 2021, Dudson featured in the Catalonian outfit’s 10-12 defeat to St Helens in the Grand Final.

On the international stage, Dudson has featured 15 times for Wales, including all three of the Dragons 2013 World Cup games which were played on home soil.

The 32-year-old will be starting this season at Warrington Wolves after leaving the Catalan Dragons at the end of the 2022 season.

Luis Roberts

Tipped by many as a future star, the Leeds Rhinos centre could easily make this season his own by helping his side redeem themselves from last year’s Grand Final defeat to St Helens.

The 20-year-old made his Super League debut back in 2020 for Salford Red Devils against the Warrington Wolves, before joining championship side Swinton Lions for the following season.

The 2021 season saw Roberts nominated for Young Player of the Season after scoring an impressive 10 tries for the Lions in 20 games – form which motivated league rivals Leigh Leopards to sign him.

However, Roberts failed to make a similar impact at the Leopards and he was loaned out to Widnes Vikings for the remainder of the 2022 season.

Despite an initial set-back, 2022 proved to be a monumental year for Roberts, who not only featured in Wales’ squad for the World Cup, but also signed a two-year deal at Super League side Leeds Rhinos on October 18.

The youngster already has plenty of experience at both levels and with a bright future ahead of him, there’s a good chance that Roberts can follow in the footsteps of those before him and cement himself as yet another famous Welsh star.

How the league works

The Super League was founded in 1996 and is the pinnacle of men’s rugby league in the UK.

It has 12 teams: 11 from the North of England – the sport’s geographical heartland – and one team from France.