To kick off 2017, we take a look at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW this year and in the future. Today we look at one of the most talked-about men from last year's Holden Cup: Matt Dufty.
Many 20-year-olds reach NRL level with significant hype surrounding their playing future, but there is little doubt that Dufty’s is justified; with 55 tries from 65 appearances for the Dragons in the Holden Cup, the speedy fullback is the leading try-scorer in the competition’s history.
Earning a spot in the victorious NSW Under-20 side – and scoring a try in the win – Dufty was also selected on the bench in the NYC Team of the Year following a season in which he pushed his case for an NRL berth. The presence of Origin star Josh Dugan at the Dragons makes that task more difficult, but head coach Paul McGregor is sure to find a place for him at some point throughout 2017.
Dufty, who could easily have slotted into a classy Illawarra back line which helped secure the NRL Intrust Super State Championship this year, chose instead to continue in the Holden Cup, playing just two games for the Cutters. Many players spend considerable time in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW before progressing to the top grade, but Dufty’s performances have been so consistent that it might not be necessary. In any case, he is highly likely to play some NRL in 2017, fitness permitting, and will look for higher representative honours from there.