As we continue our look at the season so far, we shift our focus to some of the best signings of the season in Super League – and there are plenty to pick from.
With the help of coaches and journalists who’ve been heavily involved in the season to date, we have put together a top ten, starting with…
#10 – Jake Mamo/Martyn Ridyard (Huddersfield)
We’re starting on a somewhat controversial note – with two Huddersfield players tied in tenth! But both Jake Mamo and Martyn Ridyard played their part in the Giants’ mid-season revival, so it would be incredibly harsh to leave either of them out. Both have been astute signings by Rick Stone.
#9 – Morgan Escare (Wigan)
Like Mamo, number nine is a fullback who has had his season curtailed by injury: but prior to that, Morgan Escare’s impact on Wigan was huge. Without Sam Tomkins for the first few months of the season, Morgan adjusted to life in a Warriors shirt impeccably well: helping them win the World Club Challenge against Cronulla. When he was injured, Wigan’s form dipped.
#8 – Kyle Wood (Wakefield)
The first of two new arrivals at Wakefield in this list, Kyle Wood has made the hooking role at Trinity his own since moving across West Yorkshire from Huddersfield. He has got better and better as the season has gone on, and looks to be a shrewd addition for Chris Chester’s side – as does..
#7 – Scott Grix (Wakefield)
Many fancied Max Jowitt to make the fullback shirt his own this year – but he hasn’t been given a sniff due to the form of Scott Grix. The former Huddersfield fullback has steadied Trinity’s backline no end, bringing a level of experience to the club which has proven to be invaluable on and off the field.
#6 – Kriss Brining (Salford)
Much of Salford’s success this season has been down to the men who were already there last year – but hooker Kriss Brining has definitely stood out. When he arrives from the interchange bench he gives Ian Watson’s side real zip and real energy: not bad for a player who stepped up all the way from League 1 at the start of this year.
#5 – Greg Eden (Castleford)
Who could leave Super League’s top try-scorer out of a list like this? Many fancied Denny Solomona’s shoes as big boots to fill – but Eden has made the task look an easy one. Should he return in time, he’ll be odds on to smash Solomona’s record-breaking haul of tries.
#4 – Jesse Sene-Lefao (Castleford)
Another Castleford player – but certainly not the last. Jesse Sene-Lefao has become a real cult hero at the Tigers in 2017, and it’s not hard to see why. Hard-hitting, strong-running and no-nonsense, Sene-Lefao has established himself as one of Super League’s standout forwards so far this year.
#3 – Albert Kelly (Hull FC)
There was undoubted pressure on Albert Kelly’s shoulders following the move across the city from Hull KR: but he has responded to it superbly. When he is on the field there is no question that Hull are a far better side, and his influence and partnership with Marc Sneyd has been one of the real highlight’s of FC’s campaign so far.
#2 – Matt Parcell (Leeds)
Leeds fans may have feared the worst when James Segeyaro walked out on the club late last year – in hindsight, they had no reason to panic given Matt Parcell’s arrival at Headingley. The hooker has been a revelation, and there’s even an argument that he’s gone better than Segeyaro did in a Leeds shirt, too.
#1 – Zak Hardaker (Castleford)
The way Zak Hardaker has settled in at Castleford, he looks like he’s been playing for the Tigers for years. The fullback has been sensational so far, and looks to be back to the form of 2015 when he helped Leeds win the treble and claim the Man of Steel gong for himself. Can he continue it into the Super 8s and, potentially, the World Cup?