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Will Warbrick
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NRL: Five breakout players from the 2023 season

It has been another outstanding season in the NRL, with some of the world's best rugby league players showcasing their talents week in, week out.

Nathan Cleary of the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos fullback Reece Walsh are just two of the players to light up the NRL this season.

But, along with all the established names in the competition, it is always interesting to see which relative unknowns will come through and catch the eye.

As usual there has been no shortage of such talent and here are five players that have stood out in 2023.

Sunia Turuva - Penrith Panthers

There is no better place to start than with the Rookie of the Year for 2023, Penrith Panthers ace Sunia Turuva.

The winger has had an outstanding season for the Panthers as they went on to win their third grand final on the bounce.

In his first full season for the Panthers, Turuva scored 12 tries in 26 matches as he became a mainstay in the Penrith side.

At the age of 21, Turuva is set for a very bright future in the game.

Jahream Bula - West Tigers

It has been another season of misery for Wests Tigers and their long-suffering supporters, but alas there was one bright spark.

A huge one at that, in the shape of 21-year-old fullback Jahream Bula, who has given the Tigers some hope for the future.

Bula was a revelation after making his debut in round eight and was up there with the best fullbacks in the NRL when it came to running metres.

He was also among the nominations for Rookie of the Year.

Will Warbrick - Melbourne Storm

The jury was out on Will Warbrick, who made a name for himself playing for the All Blacks Rugby 7s team, but he has switched codes with ease.

He may be slightly older for a rookie at 25, but he showed his class when bursting on to the scene with the Storm in 2023.

The fact that he has cemented his place on the wing in a side like Melbourne Storm, says it all.

Warbrick played 25 games and scored 17 tries, which is an outstanding return in his first NRL campaign.

Jacob Preston - Canterbury Bulldogs

Again it has been a disappointing season for the Bulldogs, who failed to live up to expectations in the 2023 season.

They may have recruited some big names, but it was a talented rookie named Preston that was one of the highlights for the club.

The back-rower had a big impact and was a virtual ever-present until copping a suspension late in the season.

The 21-year-old still managed 20 appearances, making 760 tackles and chipping in with six tries.

Isaiya Katoa - Dolphins

Isaiya Katoa has to be one of the rookies of the season after starring for a club that was also making its debut in the NRL.

At just 19 years of age, Katoa made 22 appearances for the Dolphins, putting in some star performances in the halves.

He often kept the more experienced Anthony Milford out of the side and master coach Wayne Bennett knew what he was doing when luring the youngster from the Panthers pathways.

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