The Super League season is now just 16 days away but some teams will still feel more confident with one or two last minute bits of recruitment, and with the salary cap so tight they might have to do some smart business.
That would likely mean picking up free agents, however, Super League has been losing the battle to the NRL all off-season in terms of off-contract players opting to remain in Australia rather than make the switch.
Even some former Super League players have held out and eventually found an NRL home with former Hull FC and KR man Albert Kelly having signed recently with the Dolphins for 2023.
Most clubs have fulfilled their quota for overseas players but for those that haven’t, there’s still names available and names with pedigree as well so here’s five talents that Super League sides could still swoop for.
Joshua Cook: Hooker
Despite being listed as off-contract from an NRL team, which he technically is, Cook has never actually made an NRL debut with the 23-year-old’s playing time coming with North Sydney Bears in the Canterbury Cup.
He did eventually sign for NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs, doing so in 2021, but following two seasons without a first grade appearance he was released. Whilst he’s Australian-born he went on to represent Ireland at the World Cup.
Reece Hoffman: Centre
Another youngster who has been released by the Bulldogs with 21-year-old Hoffman being another that failed to make an NRL appearance for them, however he had previously debuted for Wests Tigers in the 2020 season, aged 19, and scored in his sole appearance.
For sides looking for centre help his big frame and ability to score at the elite level, even if it it only one try in one game, has shown. For the Bulldogs reserves in 2022 he scored seven in 18 during a New South Wales Cup campaign that saw the Bulldogs make the final.
Tuipulotu Katoa: Winger
It’s evident that Canterbury have done plenty of recruiting for new coach Cameron Ciraldo in the off-season because this is a third Bulldogs player and he’s even played 10 times in the NRL, scoring twice.
Katoa is 23-years-old and having featured nine times in the 2021 NRL campaign he found his 2022 rugby played in the New South Wales Cup against Hoffman, playing instead for strugglers Mount Pritchard where he scored nine in 15. He’s also represented the Tonga 9’s squad highlighting his athleticism and pace.
Steven Marsters: Centre
Perhaps the best known name on this list and one that might sound familiar given that his cousin, Esan, has signed for Huddersfield for 2023. Younger cousin Steven is just 23 but hasn’t played NRL since 2021 after making appearances for the Rabbitohs he’s found himself in exile.
That didn’t stop him from playing for the Cook Islands at the World Cup where he featured including a try contribution in their victory over Wales. The worry with Marsters is that he hasn’t played club rugby at first grade or reserve level for over a year, however that’s not stopped Catalans Dragons reportedly plotting to move for him.
Christian Crichton: Winger
The brother of the man who broke English hearts is one who’s yet to find a club for 2023 having featured just once for Penrith in 2022 and but instead mainly playing for their reserves side where he racked up 22 appearances.
The 26-year-old has 30 tries in 60 in the New South Wales Cup, which is somewhat equivalent to our Championship, whilst he’s recorded seven in 34 at the NRL level making him a solid target for any sides who are thin on the ground with wingers. Possibly another Catalans target given their injury to star Fouad Yaha.