We may still be several months away from seeing any on-field National Rugby League action, but that’s not going to stop rugby league fans from trying to predict how next season will play out.
The player market has been a rollercoaster this year, with many clubs spending big money for some of the game’s biggest stars.
Some new arrivals will be worth the price paid, while others may not quite adjust to their new setting.
We take a look at five of the best signings, and five signings that may flop.
Highest rated 2018 National Rugby League Signings
James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
Tedesco is the key that will open the door to the Roosters first premiership since 2013. The former Wests Tigers and current New South Wales fullback is one of the most electrifying and exciting players in the game. For sheer speed and elusiveness, he is close to invaluable, and by joining champion halfback Cooper Cronk in the Eastern Suburbs, both him and the Roosters will enjoy success in 2018.
Ben Hunt (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
Hunt went between being hated and then adored during his time with the Brisbane Broncos, and will be looking to establish a positive relationship with the Dragons fanbase when he runs out for the club next season. His combination with Gareth Widdop will be pivotal to his success, and the style of play he brings should complement the English five-eighth nicely. A strong running and kicking game will be at the forefront of Ben Hunt’s game as he takes St. George-Illawarra to the next level.
Sam Kasiano (Melbourne Storm)
There’s plenty of examples of average players going to Melbourne and looking like absolute champions, but what happens when one of the game’s most damaging forwards heads south to the 2017 Premiers? An unstoppable force is what happens. Kasiano is incredible when in form, which wasn’t as often as the Bulldogs would have liked during his time in Canterbury. His good form should be a lot more consistent now that he’s under the ‘Bellamy regime’.
Dane Gagai (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
The 2017 Wally Lewis Medal recipient made himself a constant nuisance in a Newcastle side which it’s fair to say, was well below average over the last few seasons. Gagai is quick, powerful and very hard to put down. After finding success with both Queensland in origin and Australia in the most recent World Cup, Gagai should flourish playing outside the likes of Adam Reynolds, Greg Inglis and Cody Walker.
Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle Knights)
After lacking a severe amount of quality for the past few seasons, the Knights have made a brilliant signing in premiership winning halfback Mitchell Pearce. We won’t talk about his record at origin level, but not many can argue that as a clubman, Pearce has been performing at a high level for a number of years. He’ll bring his talents to Newcastle, where he should be able to fit in quickly, playing alongside former Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Aidan Guerra and Connor Watson.
Next page – 2018 National Rugby League Signings likely to flop