Red Devils snap up NRL star

Salford are looking forward to welcoming Australian halfback Brodie Croft as they get used to life without Lee Mossop.

And the Red Devils are also being linked with Leigh’s Matty Russell and his fellow winger Deon Cross, of Widnes.

While Brisbane halfback Croft, 24, has signed a two-year deal starting next season, former England prop Mossop, 32, has retired immediately after seeing a specialist about the shoulder problems that have plagued him for much of his career.

Queenslander Croft joined Brisbane in 2020 after four seasons at Melbourne, for whom he played in the World Club Challenge win over Leeds and the Grand Final defeat by Sydney Roosters in 2018.

“I’m super excited about this opportunity,” he said.

“(Coach) Richard Marshall has been very thorough and bold with the ambitions and I cannot wait to get started.”

Marshall, who signed halfback Ata Hingano earlier this year but is set to lose his Tonga international teammate Tui Lolohea to Huddersfield, while Kevin Brown is retiring, said: “Brodie has consistently competed at the top level in the NRL and he will add further quality in the halves. Despite his talent, he is still quite young so he will only develop and improve.”

Mossop has had a series of shoulder problems, undergoing eleven operations during a career that started at Wigan and took in a stint at Parramatta in 2014.

The Cumbrian, who played his junior rugby for Hensingham before joining the Wigan development system, signed for Salford in 2017 and played a key role as the Red Devils reached the 2019 Grand Final and 2020 Challenge Cup final.

He was a Challenge Cup winner with Wigan in 2011, returning to the Wembley pitch after dislocating a shoulder to help his side beat Leeds 28-18 in the final, and in 2013, was a regular as the Warriors claimed a Super League title and Challenge Cup double.

Another shoulder injury limited him to three appearances for Parramatta, and he returned to Wigan in 2015, featuring in the Grand Final defeat by Leeds that year.

Mossop, who played for England Knights before earning four full caps, including an outing against Australia during the 2013 World Cup, has made 79 appearances for Salford.

“It’s been no secret that I have struggled with shoulder issues the majority of my career, but after seeing the surgeon last week, he told me there are no more surgeries he can offer to help prolong my career any more,” he explained.

“Instead, it will be one final operation to give me a better quality of life with my wife and young children.”

“I joined Salford in 2017, planning on only being here one year as I thought I’d be forced to retire then, but with a lot of hard work from the coaches and physio staff, I’ve managed to represent this club for almost five seasons and been lucky enough to make some unbelievable memories.”

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