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Age is just a number and in rugby league that statement certainly rings true.

Stars of the future like Nat Butcher and Jacob Liddle showed their potential in the NRL last season, and there are many more like them waiting in the wings.

Here's our look at the hottest prospects who are on track for an NRL debut in 2017, starting with the Broncos, Raiders, Bulldogs and Sharks.

Marion Seve (Broncos)

It remains unclear who will feature in the Broncos' back five next season, but one man ready to step up is Marion Seve. The former Wests Tigers centre had a standout 2015 season where he scored 10 tries from 17 appearances in the Holden Cup and also broke 38 tackles. An impressive showing for Ipswich in the Intrust Super Cup had him in line for an NRL debut last year, and if he can continue to impress in the pre-season, he might just do so in 2017. 

Special mention: Jamayne Isaako. A versatile speedster capable of playing centre or in the halves, Isaako excelled in 2016, scoring 10 tries from 13 matches and breaking 56 tackles. The Junior Kiwi is an excitement machine ready to take the next step in his footballing career. 

Nick Cotric (Raiders)

Still eligible for the Holden Cup, Nick Cotric has the talent to break into Canberra's already formidable backline. The crafty centre has the sort of footwork that leaves seasoned defenders looking silly. He finished the 2016 NYC season with seven tries, 11 try assists and a whopping 135 tackle breaks from 21 matches and was named in the Holden Cup Team of the Year. 

Special mention: Daniel Dole. There was a lot to like about Dole's 2016 campaign. The NYC youngster averaged 115 metres and 17 tackles a game last year, but it was his second-efforts and stinging shots in defence that really caught the eye. 

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Zac Woolford (Bulldogs)

An astute signing from the Raiders, Zac Woolford will be waiting in the wings should anything happen to regular No.9 Michael Lichaa. The son of former Raiders skipper Simon Woolford was one of the Green Machine's best in 2016, finishing with a team-high 144 points and 18 try assists. His all-round game makes him a multi-pronged threat in attack, while his goal-kicking could come in handy for the blue and whites. 

Special mention: Jayden Okunbor. He looks a lot like Jamal Idris, and just like the former Bulldogs cult hero, Okunbor has made the move from centre to the pack, playing the final five games last season at prop. 

Jayden Brailey (Sharks)

If you follow the Holden Cup then you are well-aware that Jayden Brailey has what it takes to be the next big thing in rugby league. The gifted No.9 has been a standout performer for the Sharks over the years, finishing both 2015 and 2016 with the most try assists at the club. His incredible work-rate coupled with an ability to hit the right man at the right time close to the line saw him named the Dally M NYC Player of the Year in 2016. With Michael Ennis now retired, Brailey will be one of the favourites to wear the No.9 in 2017.

Special mention: Sione Katoa. If there's one position where the Sharks are light on, it's on the wing. Katoa finished 2016 as the club's leading try-scorer in the NYC with 17 from 21 appearances and will come into calculations for a spot in the NRL side. 

Keep an eye on for Part 2 (Titans, Sea Eagles, Storm, Knights), Part 3 (Cowboys, Eels, Panthers, Dragons) and Part 4 (Rabbitohs, Roosters, Wests Tigers, Warriors) later in the week.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.