As our world continues to progress through these unprecedented times surrounding COVID-19, we thought we’d take a look at the top 10 Super League signings of the season so far ahead of Rugby League’s return, whenever that may be!
Richardson burst onto the scene at St Helens and quickly made an impact with his unique ability to out-manoeuvre defences with ease. He was only there for three years but could be considered one of their best captures of recent times, as he was known for his calm nature in game-changing moments, with one of these being a match-winning penalty from half-way against Warrington, and also featured at scrum-half in 2018’s Super League Dream Team.
2019 saw Richardson’s appearances become scarce as he did not feature in either of Saints’ finals and featured six times on loan with Leigh, and later signed a deal with Castleford.
He has slightly adapted his playing style to become a more attacking prospect, earning seven assists in the process, but has also maintained his goal-kicking role, with 27 conversions thus far.
Flying over to the UK with some excess baggage, such as a priceless NRL Grand Final medal, Sezer joined the long list of talent to join Super League and, interestingly, decided to link up as a marquee signing with Simon Woolford in Huddersfield.
Due to his unrivalled NRL experience with Canberra, Sezer was given the captaincy and he has six assists and is frequently directing his side from the back, which allowed them to win difficult confrontations including two tough away victories over Saints and Catalans.
Consequently, Huddersfield are now reaping the rewards and despite being eliminated from the Challenge Cup, sit fifth in Super League ahead of impactful sides such as the aforementioned Saints and Dragons, alongside Hull FC, meaning they have built the foundations for a successful season.
Until 2018, only a minority had heard of Jackson Hastings who, at the time, was a part of Manly Sea Eagles prior to his release in June 2018. Now, he has transformed into a household Super League star, with him being widely regarded as one of the best currently playing in this country.
Salford were the ones to give the then 22-year-old a lifeline, offering him a priceless two-year contract which has now turned his career upside-down for the better. Hastings impressed throughout Super League and played a pivotal role in Salford’s success in 2019, which saw him named Man of Steel and earned him a well-earned Great Britain jersey.
He may be at pastures new now with Wigan but has not lost his magic. Instead, he has the potential to now excel and reach a new peak, with international and experienced talent being littered around the side. From veteran Sean O’Loughlin to powerhouse George Burgess, Hastings will learn a lot from his teammates, and we expect it’ll lead to more international success in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.
As an NRL veteran with appearances totalling a quarter of a millennium across six recognised clubs, Maloney is without a doubt the biggest coup on the list. of Origin veterans without a doubt the biggest coup on this list. Holding appearances totalling a quarter of a millennium across six recognised NRL clubs, Maloney quickly rose to fame down under and was known as one of the most influential stars in the competition, and that’s without mentioning the five-eighth’s impeccable 14 games of State of Origin experience with New South Wales and his superb career kicking rate of over 80%.
Alike with many other names, Maloney has now officially made the switch to Super League, choosing to link up with Steve McNamara’s Dragons, who made history just two years ago after capturing their inaugural Challenge Cup trophy.
James is a tactician at his favoured position and has already utilised these unique skills within Super League, granting his side, whom are one of the three remaining with a single loss, a tough victory through his a match-winning try in the final minute against Hull in March. Currently, Catalans are sat in 7th place, but have competed the least throughout the league.
When we think of influential players, Luke Gale is one of the first that comes to everyone’s mind. He’s had some special moments throughout his four previous clubs, including a vivid Super League playoff victory in extra-time over St Helens, where Gale kicked the match-winning one-pointer, which also contributed towards his Man of Steel award in 2017.
Gale is one of the small minority of players to participate in every single national game during England’s 2017 Rugby League World Cup, and thus brought his astounding skillset to Leeds for 2020.
Luke had a poor start with the Rhinos, as the eight-time champions sunk to a hefty 4-30 defeat at home to Hull FC as part of a televised double-header in the opening weekend. Thereafter has been a different tale, though, with Gale now holding three tries and five assists to his name, alongside being the second choice goalkicker should Rhyse Martin incur an injury.
Born in New South Wales, Matt Prior began his career in 2008 with St George and has since made his presence known throughout the NRL as at 105kg, his damaging weight can charge through defences with ease and he has already become a hard-hitter in Super League, despite holding just five games of experience with Leeds.
Aside from Super League, 32-year-old Prior already holds a glittering CV including being one of a finite list to acquire NRL Grand Final premiership victories with two different clubs, St George and Cronulla, making him a wanted asset.
As many of us are aware, Matt has chosen to link up with Richard Agar in Leeds and, despite not providing any assists, has already applied his skillset in many challenging situations, such as 166 tackles in just five games, which has contributed towards Leeds’ current third place.
As a signing that may have gone under the radar, Rhys Williams has been a surprise since arriving in Salford. Joining from London prior to their relegation, Super League spectators already had high expectations of the Welsh winger, with his pace being unrivalled.
He has certainly put this pace to good use since beginning his Super League career aged 20, crossing on average for three tries every five games, alongside an impressive international record.
However, Williams is also responsible for a bizarre viral video earlier in the season due to him looking similar to that of Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah, providing Super League with invaluable exposure which almost certainly brought new fans to the club of Salford and to the competition.
Matty Ashton is a perfect example of a rising star and, after playing just one year for Swinton, his abilities were widely recognised. A number of clubs desired to have Ashton in their prospective squad, and it was Warrington who eventually claimed the youngster.
Steve Price allowed Ashton to make his mark immediately, which he did so with outstanding performances against two of Super League’s titans, Wigan Warriors and St Helens.
Unfortunately, the 21-year-old suffered a major ankle injury in Round 4, which sidelined him for up to five months, but we know he will be recovering during lockdown in order to get back his high standards.
A third player on this list that has definitely been under-recognised is Wakefield-born Derrell Olpherts, who began his career with six years outside the top-flight with the likes of Dewsbury, Hemel Stags and Newcastle Thunder. Similarly to Hastings, he received his opportunity with Salford in 2018 and is now flying high on the edge with Daryl Powell’s Castleford outfit.
Derrell was on fire before the season was halted due to the pandemic, finishing six impressive efforts in just seven games, placing him second in the league for tries scored. His pace has been put to good use in other areas of attack, with the winger acquiring an average of four tackle busts per game, making him a deadly threat in attack.
At this stage, we don’t know when Super League will return but we can be fairly certain that Derrell won’t have lost any of his speed, meaning he could play an integral role in the Fords’ success this year.
Finally, we have the only cross-code player in this list. After four eventful years at St Helens, including a Grand Final appearance in 2014 against Wigan, Josh Jones decided to make the switch to Union, where he linked up with Exeter Chiefs. Although, this only lasted two games due to personal reasons and he moved back to Rugby League, this time with Salford.
After a disappointing first three years, where they featured in the Qualifiers, Salford reached new heights in 2019. Jones was one of the most hazardous players in the league during this time for Salford, who managed to create a historic tale of underdog, and his individual successes were marked with his debut Super League Dream Team appearance and a priceless Great Britain jersey.
Lee Radford brought in a number of powerful and impactful stars ahead of the current season with the hopes of his side achieving league-wide dominance. Unfortunately, this hasn’t exactly taken place as Hull FC hold just three victories after seven fixtures but this could be put down to rotten injury luck which, for example, saw Josh Jones miss one game back in March.