GARETH WALKER, the Championship correspondent of League Express, picks out seven new signings to watch in the Bettered Championship next year
Danny Addy (Leigh Centurions)
Leigh coach John Duffy set his stall out immediately when Danny Addy’s capture from Hull KR was announced. He wants to build his team around the Scotland international.
“If you watched Toronto last season, everything revolved around Jon Wilkin and I think Danny’s got those kind of qualities in abundance,” Duffy noted.
Versatile, experienced and having played at this level before, Addy looks one of the close-season’s shrewdest recruits, as the Centurions look to make up for 2019’s play-off disappointment. And like many of Duffy’s signings so far, the fact that Addy has worked with the Leigh coach before should ease his transition to the club.
Cory Aston (London Broncos)
After waiting longer than most for his shot at Super League, Cory Aston produced some hugely encouraging performances at the top level for Castleford Tigers last season.
And that should benefit newly-relegated London as the Broncos bid to bounce straight back.
Aston has played extensively in the second tier for Sheffield and Featherstone, so knows all about what it takes to succeed.
His partnership with the equally talented Morgan Smith will be crucial to the Broncos’ 2020 prospects.
Paul Brearley (Halifax)
Arguably the lowest profile of the seven players chosen, that doesn’t mean Paul Brearley won’t be one to watch again next year.
The rangy backrower, who has the handling ability to play stand-off, enjoyed an excellent debut campaign in the professional ranks at Batley after having arrived from Rochdale Mayfield.
His signature was courted by a host of clubs, with Fax winning the race as they look to improve on a significantly below-par 2019 season in the Championship.
Not dissimilar to his coach Simon Grix in playing style, the pair will be hoping that linking up together benefits both of them.
Chris Clarkson (York City Knights)
Few players in the Championship next season will have a CV as impressive as Chris Clarkson’s.
The experienced backrower, who is still only 29, has played 244 Super League games, winning two Super League titles, a Challenge Cup and a World Club Challenge.
His capture by the Knights is the latest indication of their rising status within the game and their ambition.
And, with Danny Washbrook packing down alongside him in the back row, expect Clarkson to enhance James Ford’s already impressive side.
Craig Hall (Featherstone Rovers)
At times last season Craig Hall still looked like a player who could trouble any Super League defence. So Championship sides will need to be on guard.
Initially a season-long loan signing, Hall has now penned a permanent deal at Rovers and is set to be a key attacking weapon under new coach James Webster.
The pair know each other well from the Robins, and with Thomas Minns, Dale Ferguson and Brett Ferres also having been added to the edges, Featherstone won’t lack strike power.
Goalkicker Hall could be one of the competition’s most dangerous players.
Pat Moran (Widnes Vikings)
The youngest player on this list, Pat Moran is no stranger to Rugby League at this level after having had extensive spells at first Rochdale then Sheffield
He proved a handful at both, and some felt he was unlucky not to be offered more of a chance at Warrington Wolves.
Now he starts afresh at the Vikings and his size will bolster Tim Sheen’s pack.
Moran has enjoyed a profitable World Cup qualifying campaign with Ireland, scoring twice in their win over Italy, and is definitely one to keep an eye on in 2020.
Frank Winterstein (Toulouse Olympique)
Rhys Curran is a big loss in the back row for Toulouse. But in Frank Winterstein they have secured a big name, and a big man, to replace him.
The 6ft 4in backrower has extensive experience at the top level of the game, having played in the NRL with Canterbury, Manly and Penrith, and in Super League for Crusaders, Wakefield and Widnes.
Also a Samoan international, he should add an explosive option to Sylvain Houles’ already impressive attacking arsenal.
This article first appeared in this week’s League Express. In Monday’s edition of League Express Gareth will select the players he believes will make a big impact in Betfred League 1 in 2020.