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12th September 2017, 17:31 | super_league
Oliver Gildart – Wigan Warriors
The young centre has rose to prominence in the Wigan squad, as the Warriors have steadily climbed the table.
The 21-year-old played a key part in the Cherry and White’s World Club Challenge win, chipping in with a try and two assists in one of the most memorable games of the season.
After returning from an injury lay-off Gildart’s form has peaked towards the back end of the season, with two tries in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final and one on his Wembley debut. Two tries in the last three games has also helped push the Warriors into the semi-final spots.
Grace was thrown in at the deep end by his coach Keiron Cunningham during the Easter Derby with Wigan, and the winger came out with flying colours with a blazing performance, which included a debut try.
Ever since, the Welshman has been a mainstay in the Saints line-up, even under new coach Justin Holbrook, scoring a further eight tries in the league campaign.
The fleet-footed 20-year-old has a touch of pace and sublime agility which combined, has caused havoc for Super League defences in 2017.
Another product of the Saints youth system, Knowles is enjoying his second full season at elite Super League level at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The second-rower has proved himself as a formidable tackler, racking up an average of 30 per game for St Helens this year.
Further strong performances have rubber-stamped the young Welshman’s position in the team, and he’s one of the first picks on Justin Holbrook’s team sheet.
Tricky winger Marshall announced himself to Super League in style, when he scored four brilliant tries on only his second senior appearance when the Warriors defeated Warrington back in March.
With key players absent from Shaun Wane’s side, the 21-year-old took full advantage of the chance he was given, scoring six tries in the next seven games, helping to cement his spot in the Wigan side.
A hat-trick at his first Magic Weekend continued an impressive three months for the starlet, with Marshall currently second in the Super League scorer charts, with a total of 21 league tries to his name.
Just 17 at the time, promising Walker was handed his Leeds Rhinos debut by Brian McDermott against Doncaster in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, and the coaches’ faith was fully repaid with the full-back grabbing a hat-trick.
Jack Walker, 17 years old, Leeds Rhinos debut, scores a first half hat-trick 🙌 pic.twitter.com/x7Nmq0chHz— The Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) April 22, 2017
Making his Super League debut a week later, Walker got a try assist as the Rhinos went down to Huddersfield Giants.
After alternating with Ashton Golding at full-back, Walker signed a new long-term deal at Headingley having initially turned an offer down, and in recent weeks has been the preferred no. 1 by McDermott.
NOTE: Players must be aged 20 or younger on the first game of the season (February 9th) to be eligable for the Young Player of the Year Award.
The official confirmed three-man shortlist for Young Player of the Year will be confirmed next week.