The NRL market for halfbacks is at breaking point with few options on the market place but halfbacks being in as high demand as ever.
This has led to extraordinary fees being paid for halfbacks with Jarome Luai set to join Wests Tigers on a huge $6 million contract worth £3.1 million. This should be a concern for Super League clubs because as the halfback market dries up in Australia, clubs will turn to Super League.
Warrington Wolves were quick to tie down George Williams, Wigan Warriors have done the same with Harry Smith and Hull KR likewise with Mikey Lewis and Jordan Abdull. Leeds Rhinos meanwhile have signed Brodie Croft to a three year deal where the NRL clause doesn’t activate until after the 2025 season so he is safe at Headingley.
But there are other halfbacks who are less secure and Super League clubs had better watch out.
Since nailing the drop goal to sink Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge, Dodd has been routinely linked with a move down under. Wests Tigers were interested in the St Helens number seven but he was advised to wait for a superior club and many are likely to come knocking. His contract expires at the end of 2024 but he has an option to extend to 2026. Will he take it?
Still only 24, Trueman has bags of potential and could still be a future England international. He signed a three year deal with Hull FC so is contract till 2025 but this means that the club could be tempted by a transfer fee from an NRL club to secure a move should clubs come knocking.
Out of contract at the end of this year after his first deal at Huddersfield expires, Lolohea was already linked with a return to Australia last year. With the Giants having younger replacements in the pipeline could a return to the NRL be on the cards for Lolohea?
Like Trueman, Lam is out of contract at the end of 2025 so is secure beyond the current season but again having one year left on a deal is a precarious place to be as NRL clubs will be tempted to offer a fee to secure him. His father Adrian has been open about him wanting to go back to the NRL. Leigh may need to give him an extension mid way through 2024 to secure him long term.
It feels like Drinkwater has been around forever but he is only 30 and his deal with Warrington expires at the end of this year. A great organiser and kicker with NRL experience, he ticks plenty of boxes for NRL clubs.
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