Viliame Kikau, Jamayne Isaako, Kalyn Ponga and Victor Radley.
Viliame Kikau, Jamayne Isaako, Kalyn Ponga and Victor Radley.

Boom young guns: The breakout star of each club in 2018

THE NRL campaign unearthed some genuine superstars of tomorrow in 2018.

While the game farewelled two of its greatest ever players in Johnathan Thurston and Billy Slater, the future looks bright.

Fox Sports looks at each club's breakout star for 2018 and whether they are likely to stick around.

Roosters - Victor Radley

Radley scored three tries in 25 games for the eventual premiers and put on some of the best hits of the year.

Radley signed a new deal with the club in 2018 that will take him through to the end of the 2023 season and he looks destined for Origin honours.

Storm - Brandon Smith

The long term replacement for Cameron Smith had his most consistent season to date, finishing with 18 games in first grade, including the grand final loss to the Roosters.

The 22-year-old Kiwi international is signed to the Storm until the end of the 2022 season and looks set for a long career in Craig Bellamy's system.


Rabbitohs - Cameron Murray



The boom young back-rower held the Rabbitohs' bench together in a brilliant season, scoring three tries in 25 games.

Murray is signed until the end of the 2019 season and will be pushing hard for a starting spot in Anthony Seibold's side next year.


Sharks - Jesse Ramien

The Sharks had injury problems in the centres in 2018 but it did enable them to unearth Ramien, who was electric in scoring 10 tries in 20 games.

Unfortunately Shane Flanagan could not hold onto his services and the Knights have secured a potential superstar until the end of the 2020 season.


Panthers - Viliame Kikau

The man they call Billy was a revelation for Penrith in 2018, scoring five tries in 25 games and his brutal running game punished defenders week in and week out.

The 23-year-old Fijian international has recommitted to the Panthers until the end of the 2022 season, by which time he could be one of the best back-rowers in the game.


Broncos - Jamayne Isaako

The Dally M rookie of the year finished the season only nine points behind Latrell Mitchell for the NRL's top pointscorer, with 239 points in 25 games.

Isaako has signed a contract with the Broncos, that will see him remain at the club until the end of 2022 and he looks set for a record breaking career in the top grade.


Dragons - Matt Dufty


NRL Rd 19 - Cowboys v Dragons 1003024092
NRL Rd 19 - Cowboys v Dragons 1003024092

Despite a lean trot at the end of the year, the Dragons' fullback still finished with 13 tries in 26 games for the club, in a brilliant 2018 campaign.

Paul McGregor has locked up the services of the pint-sized fullback until the end of the 2019 season and if he can have a big off-season, a long term deal beckons.


Warriors - Isaiah Papali'i

The 20-year-old wrecking ball was one of the Warriors most damaging ball-runners in 20 games in 2018 and scored three tries.

The Kiwi international re-signed with the club until the end of the 2020 season and is one of the most promising young forwards in the game.


Tigers - Esan Marsters



The hulking centre was an attacking juggernaut for the Tigers, scoring 124 points in 24 games, with a combination of his barnstorming runs and brilliant goalkicking.

Marsters signed a contract extension with the Tigers earlier this season, that will keep him at the club until the end of 2020 and he is a man they can build their backline around.


Raiders - Brad Abbey

The former Bulldogs' fullback filled in with aplomb for suspended star Jack Wighton, finishing with nine quality appearances in 2018.

Ricky Stuart has signed Abbey until the end of the 2019 season and he has a real opportunity to cement a place in Canberra's starting side and earn a new contract.


Knights - Kalyn Ponga

The 20-year-old came within a whisker of being the youngest ever Dally M Medal winner and was the club's player of the year, scoring six tries in 20 games.

The Knights' decision to sign Ponga to a big money deal until the end of 2021 looks to be a masterstroke already.


Bulldogs - Lachlan Lewis


NRL Rd 23 - Bulldogs v Warriors 1019151384
NRL Rd 23 - Bulldogs v Warriors 1019151384

Canterbury lost Kieran Foran to injury in 2018, but the silver lining was the brilliant performances of Lachlan Lewis in his nine games.

Lewis' match winning field goal against the Warriors was part of the reason Dean Pay signed him up until the end of the 2020 NRL season.


Cowboys - Enari Tuala

The Cowboys had a shocking season, but unearthed a potential gem in Tuala, who scored two tries in 10 games in season 2018.

Paul Green has signed Tuala until the end of the 2019 season and if he keeps progressing at this rate, he will be looking to sign a long term deal next year.


Titans - AJ Brimson



The Gold Coast youngster burst onto the scene with some brilliant performances for the Titans at fullback and five-eighth on his way to notching seven tries in 15 games.

The 20-year-old re-signed with the club on a two year deal, that will take him through to the end of the 2020 NRL season.


Sea Eagles - Shaun Lane

The NRL journeymen has had four clubs in five years, but scored nine tries in 24 games in his most consistent season to date for the Sea Eagles.

However the 23-year-old will join the Eels next year on a one year deal for the 2019 season and could prove to be the one that got away for Manly.


Eels - Marata Niukore

There wasn't much to cheer about for Parramatta in season 2018, but the promise Niukore showed in 14 solid outings was one of the few bright spots.

The 22-year-old is off contract with the Eels and is searching for a new deal, but Brad Arthur could do a lot worse than invest in the Cook Islands' international.