When a team announces a new signing, their arrival sparks widespread excitement as fans wait in anticipation to see them make their debut. Perhaps they’re an exciting youngster, a world class talent or the final piece of the puzzle, a new signing is always a huge deal. But there have been a few rare occasions when new signings have never played for the team they signed for due to one reason or another and that has happened recently in the shape of Joel Tomkins. So with that in mind, here’s five players who never played for the teams they signed for starting with Tomkins.
Joel Tomkins – Leigh Centurions
A Grand Final winner, an England international in both rugby league and rugby union and a pillar of Catalans’ recent rise to the top of the league and the Grand Final, Joel Tomkins was a major signing for Leigh. The fact the Centurions were able to sign a player of such quality despite their impending relegation to the Championship, made this a major coup. He was set to be one of the biggest players in the second-tier next year and a key part of Leigh’s hopes to return to the top flight however, he has instead elected to retire making his last appearance on the rugby field a Grand Final defeat to St Helens.
Mickey Higham – Bradford Bulls
A Grand Final winner at St Helens, Higham was the ideal foil to the brilliant Kerion Cunningham often starting on the bench changing the dynamics of the St Helens attack. But Higham was not content with playing second fiddle to Cunningham and with James Roby’s rise approaching, he wanted to take on a new challenge at Wigan but St Helens would not sell him to their biggest rivals. Fortunately for Higham, Bradford stepped in paying the fee to take him from St Helens before swapping Higham for Terry newton in October 2005 meaning he joined the Bulls, the reigning Champions at the time, but never played for them.
Joe Greenwood – Leeds Rhinos
After falling out of favour at Wigan, Joe Greenwood joined rivals Leeds on loan at the end of February 2020 on a two-month loan with many anticipating a permanent move. He was handed the number 37 shirt but due to the form of Alex Mellor and Rhyse Martin in the backrow he couldn’t force his way into the side. He looked set to feature in Leeds’ trip to Catalans until he began exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms prompting Leeds to postpone the trip. Even more frustratingly, his test eventually came back negative. A week later and the season was put on hold due to the pandemic, meaning he returned to Wigan having not played a single game for the Rhinos. He then completed a move to Huddersfield prior to the 2021 campaign.
Mose Masoe – St George Illawarra Dragons
Having helped St Helens to Super League glory in 2014, Mose Masoe returned to Australia in 2016 joining St George Illawarra on a two-year deal. However, a subsequent ACL injury saw him unable to force his way into the Dragons’ side before he moved to Hull KR part way through the 2017 Championship campaign as the Robins looked to secure promotion back to Super League.
Dwain Chambers – Castleford Tigers
On the 31st March 2008, it was believed that Castleford had sprung their April Fools a day early when they announced that British sprinter Dwain Chambers had signed for the Tigers on a month’s trial. With pace to burn some believed he could actually develop into a success in the sport especially following the recent performances of speedster Kevin Penny at Warrington and with Martin Offiah offering to mentor the gold medallist in the 2006 European Championships. However, he never took to the field for the Tigers’ first team but he did figure for their reserves against York on April 27th. However, nine days later the Tigers announced that they would not be offering him a contract as he was released from the club in May. He then turned his attention to a High Court Challenge of his Olympic ban for doping.