In our latest countdown, we have a look at Super League’s best signings of the 2016 season.
Honourable mentions: Sika Manu (Hull FC), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Salford Red Devils), Thomas Minns (Hull KR), Ryan Brierley (Huddersfield Giants), Willie Isa (Wigan Warriors), Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves)
10. Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils)
The Wales captain arrived at Salford after a disappointing 2015 season with Huddersfield, where things had gone stale after a successful spell at the Giants.
However, he was quick to recapture the form that had made him a star around 2013, playing superbly in Red Devils colours for the most part.
In the first-half of the season especially, Kopczak was one of the best forwards in the competition statistically, helping the Red Devils fill the void that was lacking in their front-row for larger parts of the season.
9. Anthony England (Wakefield Trinity)
England was arguably Super League’s most unsung hero in 2016.
Following his arrival from Warrington Wolves, England started exceptionally for the Wildcats in Brian Smith’s short tenure, before improving further upon Chris Chester’s arrival.
Injury sadly resulted in him missing the final few months of the season, and Wakefield were evidently worse off without him.
8. Jodie Broughton (Catalans Dragons)
Broughton’s arrival at Catalans was met by surprise.
After an indifferent spell at Huddersfield, Catalans’ move for the winger was seen as a peculiar one, after they recruited heavily to sign big names including Glenn Stewart and Dave Taylor.
However, Broughton proved to be Catalans’ best signing. After bulking up in size, he became a prolific scorer for the Dragons, averaging way over a try every other game. Crucially, he managed to maintain his speed along with his muscle increase, which made him a formidable opponent for any defender.
7. Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers)
The arrival of Minkin from York went under the radar. Seen as one for the future, it was expected that the centre would have limited game time at Castleford, with Michael Shenton, Jake Webster and Ben Crooks above him in the pecking order.
However, a serious injury crisis throughout the season resulted in Minikin being thrown in at the deep end. It was sink or swim for the 21-year-old, and he managed to stay afloat throughout.
Minkin’s arrival has proven to be another excellent signing by Castleford head coach Daryl Powell, who is quickly becoming Super League’s best operator in the transfer market. What makes this signing so superb is Minikin’s age. Barely out of his teens, his potential is something Cas can get excited about.
6. James Segeyaro (Leeds Rhinos)
When the Papua New Guinean arrived at Headingley, the Rhinos were in all sorts of trouble.
In the bottom four and not playing well, many were suggesting Leeds could realistically get relegated.
However, once Segeyaro came in, that changed completely. In his first two games, Leeds defeated Hull FC and Wigan, then they cruised through the Qualifiers.
It’s hard to think of a single player who had a bigger impact on a team, and had he made more appearances for the Rhinos, he would undoubtedly be higher up the list.
5. Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils)
This one needs no explaining.
Regardless of all his other involvements, that drop-goal against Hull Kingston Rovers in the Million Pound Game means he had to be on this list.
Besides, O’Brien enjoyed a good year with the Red Devils. Although his return of six tries was nothing to write home about, he produced a staggering 29 try-assists in as many games. Only Luke Gale, Chris Sandow and Luke Walsh created more tries.
However, his contribution to Salford’s safety with one drop-goal rightfully earns him this position.
4. Corey Thompson (Widnes Vikings)
Widnes’ constant progression continued in 2016, as the Vikings earned a spot in the top eight.
They have the Australian winger to thank for that, as his overall contribution proved to be huge.
A superb 28-try return was only bettered by Denny Solomona, while his work defensively was superb too, emphasised when Widnes defeated Wigan in the Super 8s.
3. Mahe Fonua (Hull FC)
Fonua was simply excellent for Hull FC all year.
After starting well, injury threatened to ruin his impressive start to life in black and white.
However, he wasted little time finding top form upon return and cemented himself as one of Super League’s best outside backs by the time the season came to a close.
A Challenge Cup winner and Dream Team inductee make Fonua’s first season at Hull FC a successful one.
2. Scott Taylor (Hull FC)
He’s made no secret of how much it means to him that he has been given the chance to play for his hometown club, and he has certainly taken the opportunity with both hands.
Taylor was outstanding for Salford in 2015, and he took that form with him into his new club, playing superbly for Lee Radford’s side.
In fact, his form has seen Taylor earn a place in the England squad, while he established himself as one of the competition’s best props.
1. Kurt Gidley (Warrington Wolves)
An ageing halfback arriving from Australia. We all know how this story ends, right?
Wrong. Gidley arrived at Warrington and was the consummate professional on and off the field.
His guidance, composure and leadership proved crucial for the Wolves, and with a bit more luck, they could have ended the season with the double.
Warrington made a number of good signings in 2016, but Gidley their best.