Five of the most surprising Super League signings in history with Castleford Tigers and Bradford Bulls included

MOST transfers in rugby league create a bit of attention before other news gets churned out, but sometimes there is a transfer that makes people sit up and take note.

Whether it’s for the shock factor or the wow factor, some transfers are still being talked about today, making them almost timeless in the grand scheme of things.

Here are such five.

Dwain Chambers – Castleford Tigers

Yes, Dwain Chambers did try his hand at rugby league. Back in 2009, Castleford were a side that were dwindling near the bottom of the Super League table, though the advent of licensing helped in trying to prepare for the future. The Tigers tried to do that by adding banned Olympic sprinter Chambers to their ranks. He played one reserve game for the Tigers in a specially scheduled reserves game against the York in which he played half the match before being rested for the second forty minutes. It was certainly a decision that drew attention as more than 3,000 people turned up to the Jungle to watch the sprinter in action. However, the Englishman left after a month’s trial.

Israel Folau – Catalans Dragons

Israel Folau had spent his career at the top of both the NRL and Rugby Australia, making his way to the top of both rugby league and rugby union in a scintillating fanfare. That being said, Folau was dismissed by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments on his Instagram social media profile, leaving question marks over which code his future lay in. It was rugby league where things headed next as the maverick was signed by Catalans Dragons in 2020. Much was made of his arrival – including a proposed Pride game organised by the Wigan Warriors in protest against the French club’s signing.

Willie Mason – Hull KR

Willie Mason is a name that is synonymous with rugby league. Having made a name for himself in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters and then the North Queensland Cowboys, Mason penned a three-year deal with Hull KR in September 2011. It was a signing that was supposed to propel the Robins to the next level, but just six months into his contract and after just six appearances, Mason was deregistered as the club chose to sign Michael Dobson instead. His exit didn’t go without controversy either as it was revealed he had met with French rugby officials at Toulon whilst still under contract with Rovers.

Adrian Morley – Bradford Bulls

Yes, Adrian Morley did play for the Bradford Bulls. Though most people associate the front-rower with the Leeds Rhinos, Sydney Roosters and Warrington Wolves, Morley did actually grace the hallowed turf at Odsal for a very short spell in 2005. He played six games whilst contracted with the Roosters and actually turned out for the Bulls in the Super League Grand Final that year in which Bradford beat his former side Leeds – the irony!

Gareth Thomas – Crusaders RL

Being a Welsh cult hero in rugby union, it was a shock that Gareth Thomas turned his hand to rugby league in the twilight of his career. Capped over 100 times for Wales in the 15-a-side code, Thomas signed for Crusaders Rugby League, turning up for the Welsh side in 2010 and 2011. Having been used to crowds of over 70,000 for international games at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, showing up at the likes of the Jungle and Belle Vue on cold Friday nights must have been a real shock to his system. That being said, Thomas enjoyed a decent spell with Crusaders, scoring seven tries in 31 appearances.