Jack Harbidge takes a look at the ten most influential transfers ahead of the 2021 Super League season.
Here was our look at the six best transfers for the 2020 Super League season.
10. Mason LinoEmbed from Getty Images
Mason Lino looks to be an extremely astute signing from Wakefield, being a fringe NRL player that still has plenty of time on his side.
He also brings international experience to the table, with three caps for Samoa and will pose as a direct replacement for Danny Brough, albeit with less disciplinary issues.
When he got a chance in the NRL, the Samoan playmaker gave a great account of himself.
Lino is also a reliable goal kicker, so little will be lost in his replacement of Brough in that respect.
The stand-off comes over to Super League in his prime and should be pivotal in Wakefield’s production this season.
9. Dean WhareEmbed from Getty Images
Catalans’ history of signing established, quality NRL players continues with their new signing Dean Whare.
A 20 cap New Zealand international, Whare was a mainstay in the Penrith side until the emergence of superstar centre Stephen Crichton and while he was the first-choice centre, he put together an impressive reel of hard-hitting highlights.
While his defensive ability is top-class, he’s also a very capable finisher at both centre and wing and he most notably helped break English hearts in catalysing a 2013 World Cup Semi Final comeback with his no look touchline pass try-assist at Wembley.
A great addition to the Dragons’ ranks.
8. Greg InglisEmbed from Getty Images
Bringing a name as big as Greg Inglis to Super League can only be applauded.
Time will tell as to whether his body will allow him to play up to his pre-retirement levels, but if he is able to live up to even half of his best, he’ll be a great addition to the Super League from both a playing and spectacle perspective.
Let’s hope we see a Greg Inglis Goanna in 2021.
7. Rob ButlerEmbed from Getty Images
Warrington have bolstered their pack with the additions of Robbie Mulhern and Butler.
The latter, however, provides the greater upside of the two, having been key in London Broncos’ promotion to, and performance in, Super League.
A member of the England Knights squad, Butler provides a great work ethic and is the complete, hardened, front row package.
6. Luke YatesEmbed from Getty Images
Ian Watson brought Luke Yates to Salford following his elite season with London Broncos in Super League and has now taken him with him to pastures new in Huddersfield.
Yates is the epitome of effort and has impressed in both his seasons in Super League, posting immense defensive stats through his visually impressive hard-hitting style.
The former Newcastle Knights man is one of the more underrated players in the league but ranks among the best back rowers on his defensive stats alone.
5. Jai FieldEmbed from Getty Images
Jai Field is a great addition to the Warriors’ playmaking division.
He possesses the ability to play both half-back and full-back, and poses a serious running threat along with his attacking flair. He brings extreme speed and his relative youth will mean he will be extremely hungry to prove himself and help take Wigan to the title, as opposed to some past NRL players who have continued playing in the Super League to extend their career.
Field is an exciting prospect, and playing off one of the best packs in the league should free him up to excel as a starting playmaker.
4. Joel ThompsonEmbed from Getty Images
The NRL veteran boasts 235 appearances in the competition since 2008 and will bring a great deal of experience to a St Helens side that waved goodbye to fellow back-rowers Zeb Taia, Joseph Paulo and Dom Peyroux, as well as the ultra-experienced club legend James Graham.
While Joel Thompson can in no way fill such a void, he will go a fair way in doing so. He brings an exceptional competitive attitude, and he is undoubtedly one of the tougher players about, having played through a split tongue against Newcastle Knights last season. His physicality and abrasive playing style will no doubt be a welcomed addition to the league.
3. Niall EvaldsEmbed from Getty Images
Castleford were in dire need of plugging the gap at fullback last season and did extremely well to land the signature of Niall Evalds.
The full-back leaves Salford as the Red Devils’ record Super League try-scorer and is the ultimate playmaker and finisher you want in the No.1 shirt.
Interestingly, he goes to the Tigers on a one-year-deal so will be extremely eager to make his mark early doors and replicate the exceptional form that helped Salford to a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final in back-to-back years.
2. Ian WatsonEmbed from Getty Images
Arguably the most positive move from any team in the off-season is the Giants’ acquisition of Ian Watson.
The former Salford head coach led the Red Devils to the Grand Final and Challenge Cup final in back-to-back years with somewhat of an undercooked squad.
An extremely promising – and relatively young – coach, Watson clearly has the ability (given his success at Salford) to turn around Huddersfield’s recent downturn (with league finishes of 8th, 10th, 5th, 8th, 12th in the past five seasons) and return Huddersfield to the head of affairs for the first time since their League Leaders Shield in 2013.
1. John BatemanEmbed from Getty Images
While Wigan sent off their talismanic leader Sean O’Loughlin at the end of 2020, they gained a back rower who has the potential to live up to the generational talent he replaces.
Coming in off the back of an exceptional two-year campaign at the Canberra Raiders, Bateman will bring a different level of intensity and attitude from the best standard rugby league competition in the world, and one that he thrived in.
Dropping down in quality to Super League should see him dominate in his second stint at the club; his signing alone puts Wigan right at the front of the title race.
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