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5 off-contract props Hull FC could sign to replace Franklin Pele

Martin Taupau, Shaquai Mitchell, Gil Dudson and the Hull FC badge

Hull FC have let another quota player leave, as they’ve confirmed the departure of prop Franklin Pele.

He joins fellow 2024 NRL recruit Nu Brown through the Hull FC exit door, in another embarrassing moment for the club, and another damning indictment of their off-season recruitment.

Pele had previously played for NRL sides Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury Bulldogs and joined ahead of this season on a two-year deal alongside teammate Jayden Okunbor.

Richie Myler has been appointed as Director of Rugby to attempt to change their recruitment fortunes around, and they’ve already made signings such as Tom Briscoe, and Leigh captain John Asiata for next year.

Franklin Pele left the club with immediate effect, meaning they now have two quota spots available – and have one less man in the prop position.

Therefore, we’ve picked five players in the prop position, with a mix of overseas and local players, as they may want to use the quota spots elsewhere.

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5 off-contract props Hull FC could sign to replace Franklin Pele

Martin Taupau

A man that’s been perennially linked with Leeds Rhinos for the best part of a decade, it seems his days at Brisbane Broncos are numbered.

A former Samoa and New Zealand international with almost 250 NRL appearanaces, he’d be a big-name signing.

For Manly Sea Eagles alone, he made 156 appearances, and got his big break at Canterbury Bulldogs due to a suspension for former St Helens star James Graham freeing up a starting spot.

A main-stay of the side in 2023, he’s made just three appearances this year due to the emergence of young talents and the form of Corey Jensen.

The salary cap, according to News Corp, will mean he won’t have his contract extended, with big deals for forwards, as well as a huge reported offer to Reece Walsh of over 1 million Australian dollars, will put a strain on it.

Therefore, it seems very likely that a mid-season move is possible.

Ben Nakubuwai

Leigh Leopards Fijian forward Ben Nakubuwai at Hull FC s MKM Stadium

Credit: Imago Images

It looked for all the world that he’d be signing for Castleford Tigers earlier this season, but that move never materialised.

He’s a player that’s been linked with moves away for a long time, and it’s never felt that he was a huge part of Adrian Lam’s long-term plans.

The Leopards’ own injury problems meant they needed numbers, but now that key players are back fit, they can let Nakubwai leave after two years at the club.

There’s already been somewhat of an exodus at Leigh this year, with key men such as John Asiata making their way through the exit door, but it feels like this wouldn’t be a loss that the Leopards would be as upset about.

That’s not to say he isn’t a good player though – he looked a top talent in 2023, as Leigh won the Challenge Cup with Nakubuwai making 19 appearances.

They’ve already shown a willingness to let him go mid-season, and he’s been loaned out to RFL Championship side Featherstone Rovers, so this could be an option for Hull FC.

Shaquai Mitchell

Shaquai Mitchell is tackled while playing for South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Credit: Imago Images

Brother of controversial superstar teammate Latrell, Shaquai has taken a bit more of a back-seat in the Mitchell family.

However, he’s a good player in his own right, and the 28-year-old has appeared at prop for South Sydney Rabbitohs at times over the past three seasons.

He has, though, spent more time playing for their reserves, and at this stage in his career, he may look to make a move that would take it forward, and to escape the shadow of his brother.

The New South Wales-native has only appeared three times in NRL this season and could see a move to Hull FC as a real opportunity to kick on.

Being off-contract at the end of the year, Souths may be wiling to let him go early, as he isn’t currently in their plans, playing just 118 minutes in NRL this season.

Gil Dudson

Gil Dudson, at Catalans Dragons, celebrates victory over Huddersfield Giants.

Credit: Imago Images

The 33-year-old prop has been all over the place, appearing for sides such as Crusaders, Wigan Warriors, Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons.

Now, he’s been loaned out by Warrington Wolves to Salford Red Devils, showing that he’s not in Sam Burgess’ plans, and Wire have another prop coming in next season anyway: Luke Yates.

He may not be at his best, but Dudson has the know-how that anyone taking a spot in this side will need to have – Ian Blease, when he joined Salford, said: “He is a winner and a very experienced Super League player”, and this would prove vital for Hull FC.

Although his time at Warrington has been somewhat of a failure, a new club is always a new opportunity for struggling players.

This would, however, likely have to be a move for 2025, unlike many of the other options, due to being on loan currently.

Jarrod Wallace

Brisbane s Josh McGuire recives the ball from Jarrod Wallace

Credit: Imago Images

An incredibly experienced forward, the former Queensland representative has made over 200 NRL appearances.

However, this year, he’s struggled for appearances, playing just 84 minutes, and is now looking likely to be leaving The Dolphins.

With the signing of another young prop and a return from injury for Tom GIlbert, it would be even harder for Wallace to get game time.

According to The Courier Mail in Australia, he’s therefore receiving interest from Super League clubs, although no specific clubs have been mentioned.

They also report that he would face a huge pay cut if he was to stay in Brisbane next year.

What could make this tricky is that he’s a big fan of Wayne Bennett, the current head coach of The Dolphins, who is leaving in 2025, meaning he may prefer to stay until the end of the year.

However, he’ll surely be on Hull FC’s radar right now, and could make a big difference to their pack immediately.

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