While we all eagerly anticipate the continuation of Super League, which is currently suspended due to COVID-19, the majority of Super League sides are already planning their recruitment preparations for 2021 and beyond.
Due to legalities, clubs cannot negotiate new contracts with players until next month, but when that time arises, there’ll be a number of clubs placing key names onto the market.
Here are 13 key players that are set to be on the market in the coming weeks.
Kyle Amor (St Helens)
It’s been an impressive few years for Amor with his side, St Helens, lifting two League Leaders’ Shield and a Grand Final.
Amor, born in Cumbria, has also recently just taken up a role with local semi-professional side Thatto Heath Crusaders by becoming a part of their coaching staff.
Brad Dwyer (Leeds Rhinos)
Dwyer was never really able to find his feet under Tony Smith. During his opening three years, he was loaned out on four separate occasions with Swinton, Huddersfield and London respectively, and since 2015, has been over-shadowed by Daryl Clark, whose deal was the sixth most-expensive Super League signing in its history.
However, Brad has now established himself with Leeds, where he reunited with ex-Wolves teammate Richie Myler and has become first-choice hooker for Richard Agar’s side.
We are sure that when contract negotiations are looming, Dwyer will not forget to mention his extra-time match-winning drop goal over Castleford back in Round Eight…
🏉 The moment that Brad Dwyer made rugby league history!
This drop goal secured a golden-point victory for Leeds Rhinos as Castleford Tigers were defeated 21-20 at Headingley pic.twitter.com/BrQfk8RnhT
— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) March 28, 2019
Albert Kelly (Hull FC)
Kelly is the definition of a utility-back and during his three-year stint so far with Hull, has covered stand-off, scrum-half and full-back.
In his opening year with Hull, Kelly certainly showed the value he can bring, with a stellar performance in the Challenge Cup Final victory over Wigan, a Dream Team appearance and a Man of Steel runner-up award.
Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers)
McMeeken is another player off-contract at the end of the upcoming season.
The Tigers back-rower, 25, initially started played rugby union at an early age, and it has been rumoured that, should an opportunity arise, the England International would consider a cross-code switch.
We suspect McMeeken to be a highly sought-after star from both the 15-man and 13-man code in the upcoming months, meaning Castleford are going to have a tough job keeping a hold.
Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)
It’s been a tough journey for Ben Currie since beginning his professional career with Warrington at 17, after three separate knee ligament injuries halted his 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
However, ‘The Wire’ have stuck by Ben on his continual road to recovery and it’s paid off, with Ben now beginning to find his form yet again.
Considering Ben’s journey and his current form, we expect Wolves CEO, Karl Fitzpatrick, to negotiate his contract very soon.
Jamie Shaul (Hull FC)
Hull-born Shaul joined his hometown club, Hull FC, back in 2013 and, other than a minor injury in May 2019, has practically remained ever-present since his arrival.
He has played an important part in Hull FC’s success over the seven years he has spent with the club, most notably earning the Black and Whites two consecutive Challenge Cup trophies for the first time in their history.
We anticipate Shaul’s free-agent status in 2021 to attract a plethora of offers from Super League sides, but whether he will move away from Hull is another question.
Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils)
Evalds certainly had his breakthrough year in 2019, and will be on many clubs’ radar since his contract runs out at the end of the upcoming year.
The Salford star, who can play at full-back or on the flanks, was just one try short of the top-try scorer award, scoring an impressive 22 tries throughout their season, which ended in Super League Grand Final defeat to St Helens.
Salford have a re-structured side for this season, with Jake Bibby, Man of Steel Jackson Hastings and Joshua Jones all moving elsewhere, meaning Evalds has an opportunity to become an integral player but is the Red Devils’ budget enough to keep him?
Zeb Taia (St Helens)
Australian-born Taia, who has represented New Zealand, Cook Islands and the Exiles internationally, is another off-contract player.
After initially joining in 2017 on a two-year deal from Gold Coast Titans as part of a ‘swap deal’ with Joe Greenwood, Taia impressed in his first two years and was granted a contract extension last year.
Zeb’s consistent performances in 2019 meant he was instrumental towards Saints’ accomplishments, which, as mentioned, saw them lift the League Leaders’ Shield and Super League trophy.
Remi Casty (Catalans Dragons)
The French International, who lifted the Challenge Cup and was named in the Super League Dream Team in 2018, will now be entering his 14th season with the Dragons, and will be provided with captaincy for a seventh year.
It’s hard to see him in any other colours, but stranger things have happened.
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants)
Cudjoe has been on the ‘road to recovery’ for the best part of two years now, and after suffering a gruelling knee injury, will be looking to make an imminent return to the Giants side.
The only problem is that, due to his lay-off, his role of first-choice centre has practically been relinquished. Huddersfield’s recent squad number announcement saw Cudjoe given the No. 21 jersey.
Danny Houghton (Hull FC)
Danny is quickly becoming a veteran for home-town club Hull FC and, since his debut in 2007, has represented only the Black and Whites.
The influential hooker has made a number of memories with this club, including the unforgettable try-saving tackle on Ben Currie in the 2016 Challenge Cup Final, which Hull lifted.
The former Man of Steel’s contract is up in 2020, but we highly anticipate an announcement in the near future regarding Houghton’s next move.
Joey Lussick (Salford Red Devils)
Lussick found his career-best form in the back-end of 2019, a season which saw Salford shock many by participating in the 2019 Super League Grand Final.
Although, after his long-term friend Jackson Hastings moved away alongside impactful players such as Josh Jones and Jake Bibby, Joey may consider a similar move.
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)
It’s been an interesting journey already for Burgess, including two spells with his hometown, Wigan, but a number of his home-grown teammates are beginning to move to new adventures, while Burgess has chosen to remain with the Warriors.
Former teammates George Williams and John Bateman have moved to 2019 NRL Premiership Runners-Up Canberra Raiders, while Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum have remained in Super League, but have gone abroad to Perpignan-based Catalan.