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Top NRL Players Transferring to Super League in 2023

Several players from the National Rugby League are poised to make the move to Super League in 2023, including Sydney Roosters Kevin Naiqama and Newcastle Knights half Jake Clifford. These are some of the top contenders who could help shape the future of Super League.

10. Harry Rushton

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From: Canberra Raiders
To: Huddersfield Giants

There was anticipation that Harry Rushton would be a regular on the NRL stage after signing with the Canberra Raiders on a three-year deal in mid-July 2020. Two years into the contract he’d made three appearances for the Raiders before being granted a release in August. With a tiny bit of NRL experience under his belt and being closer to family, Rushton should benefit from his time in Canberra and make an impact with the Giants.

9. Tex Hoy

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From: Newcastle Knights
To: Hull FC

Tex Hoy makes the transition to Super League with Hull FC after coming through the grades at the Newcastle Knights. Son of former world surfer Matt, Hoy filled in for Kalyn Ponga during his time on the sidelines through a prolonged concussion in 2022. In his three seasons in the Hunter, he made 29 appearances – with last season being his most improved in the top grade, averaging 126 metres per game and having six try assists. Super League should see those metrics increase. With fellow Novocastrian Jake Clifford also making the move to FC, they might have the makings of a solid spine.

8. Sam Lisone

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From: Gold Coast Titans
To: Leeds Rhinos

Sam Lisone is heading to the Rhinos with over 100 games experience between the New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans. 88% of his games have started from the bench with his game time in 2022 averaging 23 minutes. His defence is quite solid, but he doesn’t make the aggressive impact of a bench player in attack, averaging 37 metres per game for the Titans last season. Perhaps this move will refresh his career and see him play more minutes and improve his on-field impact.

7. Esan Marsters

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From: Gold Coast Titans
To: Huddersfield Giants

Another Gold Coast Titan heading to Super League is Esan Marsters. It was an unhappy last two seasons at the Titans where he was restricted to nine games, with Brian Kelly and Patrick Herbert the preferred centres under Justin Holbrook. It was reported that the Parramatta Eels were interested in picking up Marsters when they were struggling with injuries earlier this year. The Giants will be hoping that he’s a like-for-like replacement for Ricky Leutele who’s moved to Leigh Leopards. Surely, he’ll double his 22 tries in 85 NRL matches quite swiftly with the move to Super League.

6. Jake Clifford

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From: Newcastle Knights
To: Hull FC

Jake Clifford will be looking forward to the opportunity of being the regular halfback at Hull FC. After being a prized signing for the Knights in mid-2021, Clifford struggled to make an impact on the Knights side where he lacked confidence and ended up spending a significant amount of time out of the side following their heavy loss to Penrith in June. He has can create opportunities to put points on the board. The combination with fellow ex-Knight Hoy could be worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.

5. Tom Opacic

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From: Parramatta Eels
To: Hull Kingston Rovers

Hull Kingston Rovers might have picked up a handy backline signing in Tom Opacic. He was part of the Parramatta Eels side who made the 2022 Grand Final, which he missed through injury. It was a good year for the centre after getting the call-up to the NRL side in round 2 following a long-term rib injury to winger Sean Russell. While he may have only scored seven tries in 18 appearance last season, Opacic has the ability to burst through the defence and is a handy defender. He links up with former Brisbane Broncos teammate Matt Parcell, as they look to improve Rovers eighth placing from last season.

4. Josh McGuire

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From: St George-Illawarra Dragons
To: Warrington Wolves

NRL hardman Josh McGuire will join Paul Vaughan as NRL imports at the Warrington Wolves. Of the listed top 10, he has the most career games with 259 spanning his time at the Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys, and St George Illawarra Dragons. Furthermore, McGuire has represented Queensland in State of Origin on 14 occasions and has eight international caps. He may attract the headlines for all the wrong reasons as sometimes his aggression gets the better of what he can deliver as a veteran player. However, he may come to Super League a more relaxed player who’s looking to enjoy the twilight of his career.

3. Siosiua Taukeiaho

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From: Sydney Roosters
To: Catalans Dragons

Catalans Dragons have made an excellent signing in Siosiua Taukeiaho from the Sydney Roosters. The Dragons will be hoping the NRL two-time premiership winning player can use that experience and lift the French club to a historic Super League title. He is an excellent ball runner which was on show against Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in the second-round last season where he ran for a season-high 208 metres. Taukeiaho is the type of player who’s also effective in defence with a low missed tackle count. He’ll provide a good backup should Sam Tomkins decide not to be the first choice goalkicker.

2. Paul Vaughan

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From: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
To: Warrington Wolves

Paul Vaughan is a welcome addition to the Warrington Wolves side for the 2023 campaign. Vaughan and former Dragons teammate McGuire are welcome additions to bolster the Wolves muscle in the forwards. Yes, Vaughan had his contract terminated by the Dragons in 2021 after the “barbeque-gate” incident on the eve of the NRL competition being transferred to Queensland. However, he made amends with his move to Belmore and played all 24 club games for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs last season, leading the way up front. His experience will be very welcome at the Wolves.

1. Kevin Naiqama

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From: Sydney Roosters
To: Huddersfield Giants

Kevin Naiqama has the runs on the board in Super League which makes him our top NRL import to the competition in 2023. He’s won three titles with St Helens and was awarded the Harry Sunderland Medal for best on ground in their 2021 Grand Final win over Catalans Dragons. In 76 matches with the Saints, he scored 39 tries and despite being 34 by the time Huddersfield start their season again Warrington Wolves, he’ll be one of the Giants’ key signings alongside Rushton and Marsters. Are they the team to challenge the Saints in 2023 and end their quest for five consecutive titles?

Other National Rugby League to Super League transfers*

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Rhys Kennedy (Brisbane Broncos to Hull Kingston Rovers), Wesley Bruines (South Sydney Rabbitohs to St Helens), Renouf Atoni (Sydney Roosters to Wakefield Trinity), Sauaso Sue (Newcastle Knights to Hull Kingston Rovers), Kevin Proctor (ex-GC Titans to Wakefield Trinity).

* as of 17th December 2022

Related: https://nothingbutleague.com/2021/12/27/top-10-nrl-imports-to-super-league-2022/

Related: 2023 Super League Squad and Fixtures

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