A new signing is all about that excitement and anticipation as well as putting bums on seats for the new season.
Sometimes, however, things go awry for one reason or another and some players may never even get the chance of registering an appearance for their new club.
Here are five who never played for the club they signed for.
Joel Tomkins – Leigh Leopards
Once the backbone of the Wigan Warriors, winning two Super League titles, one League Leaders’ Shield, a World Club Challenge and a Challenge Cup medal, Tomkins became a dual-code international when he joined Saracens in 2011. Earning three rugby union caps for England and six in rugby league, Tomkins returned to Wigan in 2014 and went on to have a spell with the Catalans Dragons until the end of 2021. Then, the back-rower was expected to play in the Leigh Leopards’ first season back in the Championship following their relegation from the Super League that year. However, Tomkins retired instead.
Mickey Higham – Bradford Bulls
It was a rather strange triangular move that saw Mickey Higham join the Wigan Warriors from St Helens. Indeed, the hooker had to go through the Bradford Bulls first as Saints would not sell Higham to their bitter rivals, Wigan. The Bulls paid a fee to take Higham off Saints’ books before swapping the hooker for Terry Newton in late 2005. With Keiron Cunningham the number nine at St Helens, Higham had wanted an opportunity elsewhere, but never played for Bradford on his route through to the Warriors.
Kallum Watkins – Toronto Wolfpack
It may seem rather bizarre now, but Kallum Watkins was indeed lined up by the Toronto Wolfpack in their maiden Super League season after signing for the club in May 2020. The centre was granted a release from NRL side Gold Coast Titans in April that year for personal reasons after his father contracted coronavirus. Linking back up with former Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott, Watkins was expectant but despite penning a three-year deal, the centre never played a game and was never paid by the Canadian side.
Gareth Hock – Barrow Raiders
Gareth Hock had been a brilliant player throughout his rugby league career, playing almost 200 times for the Wigan Warriors and registering over 50 appearances for the Leigh Leopards. However, with the former England and Great Britain prop’s career winding down, Hock moved down to the Championship with Featherstone Rovers in 2018 and was signed by the Barrow Raiders for the 2019 season. The ex-Wigan man never made an appearance for the Cumbrian club and instead rejoined the Leigh Leopards before hanging up his boots for good in the summer of that year.
Joe Greenwood – Leeds Rhinos
Not many people know that Joe Greenwood actually became a Leeds Rhinos player in late February 2020, albeit on a two-month loan. The forward’s parent club, Wigan Warriors, didn’t stand in Greenwood’s way to make the move to Headingley, but he never registered an appearance. Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, that Super League season was halted and Greenwood’s loan ended with a return to the Warriors on the cards. It was unlikely that Greenwood would force his way back into the reckoning at the DW Stadium and so he made a permanent move to the Huddersfield Giants ahead of the 2021 season.