Covid-19 has impacted practically everyone in some way, whether that be for better or worse, and club owners are no different. The majority have had to dig deep in recent times with excess finances in order to maintain their key stars but, some names aren’t financially viable and therefore have been made available to Super League.
At this point in time, these are all the names that have been made available to Super League clubs.
Here’s a look at each one in more detail.
Anthony Don (Gold Coast Titans)
They may have earned the ‘wooden spoon’ last year but the Gold Coast have some fantastic talent. Anthony Don has been one of their shining stars in recent times, scoring the most tries for the club in its 13-year history with 82.
Since joining in 2013, the 32-year-old hasn’t represented any other club in his professional career but this hasn’t deterred players in the past from a move to Super League. A prime example of this would be Jason Clark, who made the switch from South Sydney to Warrington in 2019.
Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans)
The second-row powerhouse has been raining terror around the NRL for over a decade now but, after nine years at Melbourne and four years to date at Gold Coast, the talented New Zealand international could be on the move.
However, ‘talented’ could well be an underestimate for Proctor, who has amassed 274 appearances, which includes 24 international caps and an unforgettable grand final with Melbourne in 2012.
Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers)
Marshall never seems to lose his magical repertoire of skills and continues to shine within the NRL on a weekly basis. He’s practically done it all in his career – won a grand final, made the Rugby Union switch, captained New Zealand internationally, received a prestigious Golden Boot award, triumphed in a Rugby League World Cup and earned a number of Dally M awards – but one thing he hasn’t done is made his Super League debut….yet.
The flamboyant utility-back, who has nearly two decades of NRL experience with Wests, St George and Brisbane, is off-contract with his current club at the end of the year and his agent confirmed that Marshall is open to any offers that could arise from Super League clubs.
If he does move over to England, he would be a massive capture for the competition as a whole and would join a long list of well-established names in the league to date.
John Asiata (North Queensland)
Asiata debuted in 2014 for North Queensland and has made 122 appearances to date. Most notably, the 27-year-old was a member of the Cowboys’ 2015 Grand Final winning side and played a part in World Club Challenge success over Leeds the following year.
Due to his family heritage, Asiata has represented Samoa and Tonga for two games each at international level, including an appearance against New Zealand.
Corey Jensen (North Queensland)
His teammate Corey Jensen has also been made available to Super League clubs. Born in Townsville, Jensen has spent a decade across multiple clubs in Queensland, including semi-professional side Townsville Blackhawks.
The 26-year-old, who plays at prop and lock, made his debut in 2017 and has totalled up 43 appearances to date. However, last year was quiet for Jensen as he would make just six NRL appearances, with the majority of his year being spent at the Blackhawks.
Ryley Jacks (Melbourne Storm)
Canadian international Ryley Jacks, who is the brother of former Toronto player Rhys, is currently in his second stint with Melbourne, the club where he began his professional career, and is quickly becoming a rising talent within Australia’s flagship competition.
After a brief one-year stint with Gold Coast, where he made 13 appearances, Jacks opted to return to Melbourne and filled the void left by Brodie Croft, who departed to Brisbane.
Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)
As a This was a surprising and unexpected one as Whare has been a regular name for the last few seasons, expect 2016 where he sustained a season-ending knee injury, with Penrith.
Brendan Elliot (Manly Sea Eagles)
Manly made one of their recent recruits, Brendan Elliot, who joined the club last season, available to Super League clubs a fortnight ago. The 26-year-old is versatile and has experience with four NRL clubs, including Sydney Roosters, where he has racked up 60 appearances in total along with 21 tries.
Elliot put pen-to-paper with Leigh Centurions two years back but, despite the club confirming the deal, his current club, Gold Coast Titans, blocked his release due to an injury crisis.
Mason Lino (Newcastle Knights)
Lino may be a slightly younger name on this list but, despite just 29 appearances in Australia’s flagship competition, already has valuable experience with three international caps for Samoa. However, the 26-year-old has been forced to wait for his first opportunity of the year.
This shouldn’t be too far away though, as Newcastle are currently in the midst of a deeply concerning injury crisis. Connor Watson (torn achilles) and Andrew McCullough (torn hamstring) joined Jayden Brailey (ACL – round two) on the season-ending casualty list, while Edrick Lee (arm) and Sione Mata’utia (knee) are out indefinitely.
Oliver Clark (Wests Tigers)
It may seem surprising, but with 15 professional appearances to his name, Oliver Clark could already be on the move elsewhere.
The prop, who often comes off the bench, is considered an impact player for Wests. Head Coach Michael Maguire tends to play Clark for around 35 minutes per game, but he has averaged 28 tackles in his six appearances so far this year.
Peta Hiku (New Zealand Warriors)
This is a more familiar name as the versatile star, who can play any position in the backs, already has experience, although brief, in Super League three years ago. Hiku made 11 appearances for Warrington during their Qualifiers campaign and proved to be an integral reason behind their late success with ten tries.
At 27, Hiku’s resume is quite magnificent as he’s played for Manly and Penrith in the NRL and is currently in his third year with New Zealand Warriors. Furthermore, Hiku has invaluable international experience and played every minute of every game in the 2010 Four Nations, which New Zealand triumphed in.
Lachlan Burr (New Zealand Warriors)
Burr has already clocked up 21000 air miles in the form of a return trip to England and, after a move over to New Zealand Warriors in Auckland last year, the 27-year-old could be on his way back to the Northern Hemisphere for a second time.
Originally, he moved to England ahead of 2017 by signing with Bradford Bulls, but following their liquidation, chose to instead sign a one-year deal with Leigh Centurions, where he went on to make 25 appearances prior to their relegation from the top flight.
Keegan Hipgrave (Gold Coast Titans)
An interesting name on this list is Keegan Hipgrave, who moved to his hometown club in mid-2017. He’s been consistent at second-row all-year, averaging at around 26 tackles per game, and has received high praise from Justin Holbrook for his no-nonsense approach in defence.
Speaking after their victory over the Warriors, Holbrook mentioned one of Hipgrave’s 211 tackles so far this year, which was on Chanel Tavita-Harris: ‘It was a big changer in the game that tackle.’