The biggest transfer of the off-season came to a dramatic conclusion on Monday as Brett Ferres completed his move to Leeds Rhinos.
His off-field issues have been well documented over recent months, with the result of his misdemeanours resulting in his untimely departure from Huddersfield.
It’s hard to argue the Giants had any other option but to cash in on their international forward. He had just signed a new long-term deal, but if the reports of player unrest are true, then Paul Anderson had little option but letting him go.
But the Giants’ loss is most certainly Leeds’ gain. The 29-year-old is a top class athlete with an attacking game that most clubs around the world would love to have in their squad. His offload game is incredible, his ability to handoff players is deceptively good and the amount of tries he’s involved in is very impressive. For me, he remains the best second-row in Super League and definitely one of the best second-rows in the world, I rate him that highly.
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He’s had his disciplinary issues both on and off the field, but these have been isolated incidents, and if you asked an honest person about the man himself, they would tell you he is a very professional, grounded individual. When the allegations came out last year, the shock that ensued painted a picture of the man’s portrayal.
If there were any doubts surrounding Ferres, you can guarantee Brian McDermott wouldn’t have signed him. He’s meticulous in his recruitment drive, very selective on who he brings in both for their talents on the field, but also their personality away from the pitch. The fact that a man like McDermott was so keen to introduce Ferres to a treble winning squad tells you everything you need to know about him.
What makes Ferres such an incredible addition is the fact that you can see him slotting straight in at Leeds. After losing his front-row trio of Peacock, Aiton and Leuluai, McDermott has now managed to do the unthinkable and maintain the level of quality in his pack with the additions of Keith Galloway, Beau Falloon and now Ferres. All new signings come with a level of risk, but those expecting Leeds’ spell of dominance could well be in for a shock. Trying to contain Leeds offload game with the likes of Ferres and Cuthbertson is unenviable.
Leeds have pulled off a blinder in the signing of Ferres. Yes, he has made mistakes, but you can guarantee that he is desperate to put that behind him and at Leeds under McDermott, he is in the perfect place to let his Rugby League abilities shine.
The major question now is how Huddersfield use the money they have received, plus the budget on the salary cap, to replace Ferres. Oliver Roberts is likely to replace Huddersfield in the pack, but you’d have to think Anderson would be keen on adding an extra body to his squad now Ferres has left, and ideally a player of a similar quality to Ferres. Whether that is an option so close to the season is debatable, and on the surface, there isn’t an obvious replacement to come in for Ferres.
But anything can happen in Rugby League.