With the countdown to the Four Nations underway, we take a look at five players to keep an eye on this autumn and ticket details are announced today.

Johnathan Thurston – Australia

Arguably one of the most talented halfbacks of all time, Thurston is the current holder of the Golden Boot, the third time he has been recognised as the best player in the world, after orchestrating North Queensland Cowboys’ first-ever NRL Grand Final win last season.

The 32-year-old offered a glimpse of his talent on the pitch and his gratitude off it when his side won the World Club Challenge at Headingley in February and, after a strong start to the 2016 season, the 32-cap international look set to return to these shores in the Four Nations later this year.
Four Nations logo

Sam Burgess – England

After a short stint in rugby union, which saw him play in the World Cup for England, Burgess is back in League in 2016.

Despite concerns about a neck injury last month, the Dewsbury-born prop has been in fine form for South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2016 with 12 offloads and 695 metres from just five games. He will be playing for England for the first time since the 2013 Rugby League World Cup this year.

Matty Russell – Scotland

After coming through the ranks at Wigan, the Ayrshire-born back has gone on to become one of the stars of Tony Smith’s Warrington team since joining them in 2014 following spells with Hull FC and Gold Coast Titans.

The 22-year-old switched to the number five shirt at the start of the season but has established himself as one of Super League’s leading full backs in 2016, churning his way through over 1,200 metres from 158 carries and looks sure to be central to Scotland Head Coach Steve McCormack’s plans this autumn.

Shaun Johnson – New Zealand

Winner of the Golden Boot in 2014, Johnson’s last-second try at Wembley which stole a place in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup final is still fresh in the memory of English Rugby League fans.

The evasive halfback, now 26, suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the act of scoring a try during a round 20 fixture for New Zealand Warriors which saw him miss the England tour, but he has recovered to set the NRL alight. His stats currently stand at four tries in six games and racked up 40 points, alongside a ferocious work rate which has seen him surpass 100 tackles already in 2016.

Josh Hodgson – England

After a surprise move from Hull KR to the NRL with Canberra Raiders ahead of the 2015 season, the hooker has blossomed into of the world’s leading number 9s.

On the back of averaging 33 tackles per game and racking up no fewer than 12 assists last season, the former East Hull junior played a crucial role in England’s 2015 series win against New Zealand in November and leads the running for being named as the NRL’s best player this year, the Daly M Award, having already clocked up well over 200 tackles and three try assists so far.

Full details of the 2016 Four Nations fixtures and venues will be announced today, with tickets available to purchase the same day via rugby-league.com