The recruitment process is well underway for clubs up and down the country, with head coaches and recruitment managers putting the missing pieces together as they look to strengthen further ahead of the 2017 season.
While a good proportion of business will have already been sorted ahead of next year, Leigh’s promotion has quite significantly changed plans for the vast majority of clubs in Super League.
With Leigh coming up, it guarantees at least one Super League club will be relegated at the end of the season, which effectively makes 25 players free agents at the end of the season.
When a team is relegated, the contracts of all players become null and void, and therefore must be renegotiated ahead of the next season. However, that also means that those players can talk to other clubs too.
It’s leaves the other Super League clubs in a real predicament, with the option to stick or twist, so to speak.
A squad full of Super League players will effectively be up for grabs after the Million Pound Game, meaning some high-quality Super League players will be available to sign, which wouldn’t have been the case otherwise.
A look through the squads of the three clubs that could go down show a plethora of stars. At Hull Kingston Rovers, players such as Shaun Lunt, Ken Sio and Ben Cockayne could be looking for new deals, at Huddersfield, Danny Brough, Leroy Cudjoe and Jermaine McGillvary could be free agents, while Salford stars including Junior Sa’u, Justin Carney and Josh Jones could be up for grabs.
As a result, a lot of clubs have delayed completing deals to sign players as they keep an eye on the developments between those three clubs, in the hope that they can snap up a top class talent.
The only problem with that, however, is that the players the clubs had originally intended to sign can still pursue deals elsewhere, meaning clubs could end up missing out altogether.
It is a very awkward, exciting and nervous predicament that clubs find themselves in. Making the right decision could really boost their chances for the year ahead, but making the wrong call could be damaging.