The duos hoping to deliver success to their new Super League clubs in 2022

The start of the new Super League season is a little under a month away and fans will be eager to see how their side will look in competitive action this year.

As always, there are new faces in each squad, who their fans will hope will be the difference in making 2022 a successful year for their clubs.

Here are the two new additions to each side who will be the key to their success in the coming campaign.

Castleford Tigers – Joe and Jake

There are nine new signings as well as a new head coach, but the addition of Jake Mamo might be the one to excite supporters more than any other, considering his quirky personality and his eye for the try line.

Mamo scored 16 tries in Super League last season for Warrington, a figure bettered only by Ken Sio, and if he can have another full season playing at centre, he will back himself to have the same impact for the Tigers.

He’ll be working under Lee Radford for the first time but the new coach has also brought in some familiar faces, with Joe Westerman one of three signings to have played under him at Hull FC alongside Bureta Faraimo and Mahe Fonua.

Westerman has been a key man for a struggling Wakefield side in the past two seasons, so much so that he earned a recall to the England squad last year, and the loose forward will hope to build on that to the benefit of the Tigers and his own World Cup hopes.

Catalans Dragons – Tyrone and Mitchell

Catalans have gone for quality over quantity in their off-season business, with just three new signings, but all the trio are big-name NRL recruits.

Mitchell Pearce is the biggest of them all, as an NRL, World Club Challenge and State of Origin-winning halfback making the move to Perpignan from Newcastle Knights.

His job is to replace a certain James Maloney, his partner-in-crime for Sydney Roosters and New South Wales, who was so instrumental in taking the Dragons to the top of the table for the first time last season. Pearce inherits Maloney’s number 6 shirt.

Tyrone May also arrives from Australia with high expectations, though the halfback or centre also comes with baggage, having had his contract with Penrith terminated for a social media post relating to his previous convictions following a sex-tape scandal. He will wear squad number 20 and even if his stay only lasts a year, he can make a big impact in that time.

Huddersfield Giants – Chris and Theo

Ian Watson needs a big second season in charge of Huddersfield and he has turned to some experienced hands to help him out.

The signing of England international Chris Hill after a decade at Warrington represents a major coup for the Giants, and the 34-year-old prop, who will wear squad number 8 as he did at Warrington, will bring real power to the front of their pack this season if his age doesn’t catch up with him.

At halfback, Theo Fages, who will wear squad number 7, as he did at St Helens, will look to bring skill, vision and control to the team after joining from St Helens, where he played a winning role in three major finals but was squeezed out with injury at the back end of last season.

As well as their individual qualities, the pair will also bring bucketloads of experience from winning environments, having spent considerable time at the heart of successful sides, and they will also need to lend a hand in setting those standards to help Huddersfield rise up the Super League table.

Hull FC – Darnell and Luke

After making only one signing ahead of his first season in charge in 2021, Brett Hodgson has been a little busier ahead of this campaign with four new players arriving.

The most high-profile is Luke Gale, who has left Leeds to replace Marc Sneyd at halfback in squad number 7. His job is to turn around the fortunes of an ailing Hull side alongside that one recruit from last season, Josh Reynolds.

At the top of his game, there is no doubt Gale is one of the best around but keeping him fit long enough to show if he can reach his Man of Steel-winning heights again will be the big challenge for the Black and Whites.

As well as Sneyd’s exit, Hull have also lost Bureta Faraimo and Mahe Fonua to Castleford. That presents a chance for Darnell McIntosh, on his arrival from Huddersfield, to make his mark on the edges in shirt number 5.

Hull Kingston Rovers – Sam and Lachlan

There’s no doubt who the biggest recruit for Hull KR in this off-season has been, with the club having obtained the signature of Lachlan Coote on his departure from St Helens.

The fullback has won the title in all three seasons he’s spent in England so far, and Saints’ loss is very much Rovers’ gain, with one of the most accomplished players in Super League boosting a squad that reached the play-off semi-finals last term, replacing Adam Quinlan in shirt number 1.

Coote will only add to the Robins’ exciting attacking threat, but his biggest impact will likely be on their defence, bringing his own excellent attitude to that side of the game as well as the mentality that has characterised Saints in that area.

With three Championship players signed, only one other signing comes directly from another Super League club, and Sam Wood will look to make a real breakthrough at last after leaving Huddersfield. If he can earn a regular spot, despite having been given squad number 24, he should relish being on the edges for Tony Smith’s exciting team.

Leeds Rhinos – Aidan and Blake

It’s all change in the crucial halfback positions at Leeds with Rob Lui and Luke Gale leaving, while Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer come in as squad numbers 6 and 7 respectively.

Both players have made big impacts on Super League already, with Austin showing what a devastating player he can be at Warrington and Sezer making a big difference to Huddersfield on his arrival.

But both also arrive at Headingley with points to prove after those spells went a little off the boil, and both will want to add a first major trophy to their collections with the Rhinos.

Austin and Sezer will be helped in that endeavour by the fact they are not stars having to form an entirely new partnership, having spent three years together at Canberra. If the pair can fire together and knit nicely with the rest of a talented young Leeds squad, they could be a menacing force.

Salford Red Devils – Brodie and Marc

Another team with a new pairing in the halves is Salford, who have brought Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd together for squad numbers 6 and 7 respectively, replacing Tui Lolohea and Kevin Brown in the hope of striking a winning partnership.

On paper, it could be a great success. Croft struggled at Brisbane following his breakthrough at Melbourne but is still only 24 and could be a strong asset for Salford if he can fulfil his early promise.

He’ll have a great partner for his debut Super League season in the form of Sneyd, an experienced general who has returned to the Red Devils after seven years at Hull FC. He will be confident of showing Croft the ropes while making his own crucial impact, especially with his kicking game.

The key question will be whether they can come together on the field and complement each other effectively. Whether Salford will have another season of struggle or will return to fighting it out at the top end of Super League will depend on the answer.

St Helens – Will and Joey

It’s a tough task, albeit a pleasing one, trying to improve a side that has won three Super League titles on the bounce, including the League-and-Cup double last season, but St Helens have looked to touch up their squad with some interesting additions.

Joey Lussick is back in Super League after a season at Parramatta and the hooker will aim to complement James Roby and potentially be the direct replacement for the skipper when he eventually calls time on his extraordinary career.

Having shown at Salford Red Devils how dangerous a player he can be, playing a leading role in their runs to two major finals, Lussick, wearing squad number 14, could make this Saints side even stronger.

Possibly St Helens’ biggest loss during the close season was Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Kevin Naiqama, who scored two tries in the Grand Final. Will Hopoate, a Tongan international recruited from Canterbury Bulldogs, will inherit Naiqama’s number 3 squad number and he will be hoping to provide a similar level of power and skill that we saw from the departed Fijian, not least because he will be playing for his Tongan coach Kristian Woolf.

Toulouse Olympique – James and Matty

The relative lack of news on the recruitment front at Toulouse has seen their prospects dismissed in some quarters before they’ve even thrown a ball in Super League.

And while a slate of only four new signings does not immediately the catch the eye, there are players who could potentially make a big difference.

A squad looking for extra Super League experience will have been grateful for the addition of Matty Russell, who has played more than 100 top-flight matches for five different clubs, albeit with a relegation to his name at Leigh last season.

The winger was also at Toronto at the time of their demise in 2020, alongside James Cunningham, who he is reunited with in France. 

Hooker Cunningham has had a nomadic career to date and struggled to make an impact at Huddersfield last term, but if he can replicate the form from his London days, he could be a useful signing.

Wakefield Trinity – Lee and Liam

Willie Poching has introduced some interesting signings ahead of his first full season in charge at Wakefield, including some less established figures and talented prospects.

Most crucial to their chances this season, though, will be Lee Gaskell and Liam Hood, two of the more experienced players out of the six brought to Belle Vue.

Gaskell joins from Huddersfield and will hope to play a key role as playmaker, probably at fullback, although Max Jowitt has the number 1 shirt, with Gaskell being given number 17. At Headingley on Boxing Day he showed signs that his kicking game will make a strong contribution to Trinity’s cause.

Trinity will be Liam Hood’s fourth Super League club and he will wear the number 9 shirt vacated by the departed Kyle Wood. If he can show the leadership around the rucks he demonstrated for Leigh then he will play a major role as Poching seeks to emulate some of the results he enjoyed in the final seven games of last season.

Warrington Wolves – Peter and Oliver

Daryl Powell is preparing for his first season in charge at Warrington and will be hoping for big things from the two players he has brought along with him from Castleford.

Oliver Holmes is a hugely significant signing, the England international backrower leaving the club he’s spent his whole career with in the hope of winning a first major trophy. 

If he can back up his performances of recent years and hit his peak – he’s now 29 – his drive and work rate, from squad number 12, will give Warrington every chance of competing for the big honours.

Holmes was joined in the trip across the Pennines by Peter Mata’utia, a versatile back who showed many glimpses of his skill and threat in three seasons at Castleford and could prove a very astute signing if Powell gets the best out of him in a side providing more attacking opportunities. Mata’utia has been awarded the number 3 shirt worn last season by Greg Inglis.

Wigan Warriors – Cade and Patrick

Wigan’s most notable recruitment for the 2022 season has come from the NRL, with three players jetting in from Australia, the most important being Cade Cust, who takes over the number 6 shirt worn by last season’s new recruit Jai Field, who reverts to number 23.

It’s not often a halfback showing great promise in the NRL leaves for England at the age of 23, but that is what Cust has done by leaving Manly to try his luck at the DW Stadium.

He’s stepping into the shoes of Jackson Hastings at the Warriors but is already being backed to succeed and is one of the bookies’ favourites to win the Man of Steel award this season.

If Cust is to do his job he’ll need some good forwards ahead of him and Wigan have acquired power for their front row in the form of 27-year-old New Zealander Patrick Mago, who will wear number 10 this season after his NRL experience with North Queensland Cowboys, Brisbane Broncos and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.