Sometimes signings pay off, sometimes they don’t.
However, on different occasions, some players excel at their new club having been on the fringes or out of the team at their previous environment.
Here are five of the best in this regard.
No one – absolutely no one – can begrudge Paul McShane a place on this list. After being a bit-part player at hometown club Leeds, the hooker moved permanently to Wakefield before being exchanged for Scott Moore at Castleford midway through 2015. Let’s face it, it’s perhaps one of the greatest swap deals in Super League history. From that moment, McShane became one of the Tigers’ most important players despite coming from relative obscurity. A Man of Steel award and an England call-up later and McShane is arguably one of the most consistent stars in Super League.
He came through the ranks at Warrington and played 88 times for the club over a period of five years. However, he registered almost 40 appearances at four different clubs on-loan during that time too, before a move to Leeds in 2018 proved to be a catalyst in Dwyer’s career. The livewire hooker has gone from strength-to-strength at the Rhinos, playing almost as many games for the Yorkshire club in four seasons as he did in six seasons at the Halliwell Jones. Dwyer has excelled under Richard Agar who has utilised him superbly.
Much was said of Joe Westerman when he first came through the ranks at Castleford, before a six-figure move to Hull FC was hoped would take the loose-forward to the next level. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, Westerman didn’t seem to move forward and moves to Warrington, Toronto and then back to Hull FC didn’t really seem to make many waves. However, a transfer to Wakefield ahead of the 2020 season revitalised the Yorkshireman so much so that he even earned another England cap in 2021. And, a reunification with Castleford in 2022 could push him to the next level which his early career form originally threatened.
When Jake Mamo came to Super League in 2017, he set the top-flight alight with Huddersfield Giants. Two years later, the utility back signed for Warrington, but it’s been his form in 2021 which has earned him the most plaudits. After a few stagnant years at the Halliwell Jones, Mamo has developed into a tremendous centre, with his form attracting the attention of Castleford for whom he has signed with in 2022. Not only are his performances on the field improving all the time, but it’s his lovable energy off it that has struck a chord with most people.
When Joe Cator signed for Hull FC ahead of the 2020 Super League season from Leigh, some fans were left scratching their heads. With a fleeting stay at Hull KR – where he came through the academy – and loan spells at Newcastle and Coventry – the Airlie Birds had certainly taken a punt on the forward. However, that has certainly paid off with Cator becoming one of the most impressive young forwards in the country, winning Hull’s Young Player of the Year for 2020.