Toronto Wolfpack have lined up four major signings to spearhead their recruitment drive for 2021.
Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Richie Myler and Ben Flower have all been identified as key targets by Brian McDermott as he looks to bolster his squad following a difficult start to life in Super League.
Big changes are expected at the Wolfpack who have several high-profile players off-contract. Jon Wilkin is set to retire at the end of the season, while Josh McCrone appears to be on his way out of the club at the end of the current campaign.
Ward has been pencilled in as a replacement for Wilkin and it appears that the Leeds captain will make the move, with his contract at his hometown club set to expire at the end of the season.
Injury problems have plagued the 26-year-old, who managed just six appearances last year due to a knee injury, while a concussion issue saw him stood down by the Rhinos earlier this year after he suffered delayed symptoms after the Super League opener against Hull FC.
But he now looks set to reunite with McDermott next year, with the two known to have a strong relationship.
He could be followed to the club by another of his current team-mates in Myler, who the Wolfpack are believed to have also held talks with about a move to the club next year.
The 30-year-old is also in the final months of his contract at Headingley and has been used as a utility this year following the arrival of Luke Gale.
Still, Myler has impressed in his new role, coming off the bench to impress against Warrington and scoring three tries in five appearances during Leeds’ strong start to the season.
A deal for Wigan prop Flower is understood to have been finalised already.
Flower, 32, is in the final year of his deal with the Warriors and has been expected to leave the club for some time, with speculation emerging earlier this year that he might make an immediate move to Catalans.
But it is with the Trans-Atlantic club that Flower will continue his career in a deal that will help Toronto spruce up their front-line, an area that McDermott has been critical of after their winless start to the Super League season.
The final of the four newcomers will be Hall, another player with Leeds connections, who is currently in the NRL with Champions Sydney Roosters.
The prolific England international is in his second season with the Roosters but has struggled to find first-team opportunities, making just seven appearances for the club since his arrival.
With his contract set to expire at the end of the year, Hall is not expected to be offered a deal by the Roosters and is thought to be keen to return to Super League.
That has sparked interest from Toronto and McDermott, who are now in the process of trying to complete a move for the 32-year-old, six-time Super League champion. Though not completed, all indications suggest Hall will join the Wolfpack next year.
Inevitably, with arrivals will come departures from the club.
Along with McCrone and Wilkin, the likes of Gareth O’Brien, who is understood to have interest elsewhere, Hakim Miloudi and Bodene Thompson are all at the end of their current contracts, while Andy Ackers has left the club immediately to join Salford.
One player staying, however, is Anthony Mullally, who has signed a one-year extension.