The new year is almost upon us, and with that comes a new rugby league season. Here, we will look at five players to look out for in the new year.
James Maloney (Catalans Dragons)
A multiple NRL winner with several clubs, Maloney will bring a lot of big game experience to the Catalans back line in 2020.
Maloney has had a 10-year career in the NRL prior to this move, having played for Melbourne Storm, New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks and Penrith Panthers.
He was a key figure in the Roosters’ title win in 2013 and for the Sharks in 2016.
With that, he has also has experience playing against English sides, as he came up against Wigan twice in the World Club Challenge.
The first saw him kick six goals from a possible six, as the Roosters beat Wigan at home. However, his second experience at the DW Stadium was not a good one as his Cronulla side were beaten 22-6.
He also has multiple representative honours having played for Australia and New South Wales. He was part of the Australia side that won the 2017 World Cup.
At the Dragons, he will also link up with former teammates Sam Moa and Remi Casty.
If he can bring the game that allowed him to perform at the highest level, then he will be a great signing for the Dragons.
Aidan Sezer (Huddersfield Giants)
Sezer comes to Huddersfield having narrowly missed out on a first major honour as Canberra Raiders lost the NRL Grand Final.
He started out as first choice halfback, but lost his place after injury and the good form of his replacement Sam Williams.
On his day, Sezer is a very capable halfback, and answered any criticisms about his game management during the final.
He can kick both in-play and off the tee, and will also pitch in with the odd try or two.
Huddersfield have been missing a spark for a few years now, and Sezer could well be the man to provide that.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull KR)
Kenny-Dowall comes to the UK of the back of a very successful NRL career.
He spent the majority of his time with Sydney Roosters, where he also won one NRL Major Premiership, two Minor Premierships and a World Club Challenge.
He finished his career at the Roosters with 123 tries and amassed almost 500 points.
The New Zealand international then moved to Newcastle Knights, who were building a brand-new side under Head Coach Nathan Brown. He scored 18 tries in 53 games before moving to Hull KR.
A player who is established at both club and international level, he will certainly bring some much-needed experience to a Rovers side that avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth last year.
He is one of 20 signings at Hull KR this year.
Gareth Widdop (Warrington Wolves)
Widdop will playing his first season in England, despite being an England international, when he turns out for Warrington.
He was born in Halifax, but moved to Australia at the age of 16, and ended up playing rugby league in Melbourne for Altona Roosters.
Widdop then signed for Melbourne Storm and made his debut for the club in 2010. He won the NRL in 2012 with the Storm, as they beat Canterbury Bulldogs.
He then signed for St George-Illawara Dragons in 2014, where he would become a mainstay in the team, until he started to struggle with injuries. Although, he did win the Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year in 2017.
The England international needed a second shoulder reconstruction last year and missed five months of the season. It was soon announced he had joined Warrington.
If he can rediscover the form that had made him one of the most respected halfbacks in the NRL, then Warrington could be a dangerous side. Particularly if he strikes a partnership with Blake Austin.
George Burgess (Wigan Warriors)
Burgess is coming to England with a bit of a point to prove.
His NRL career ended amidst serious questions about his discipline, following two charges for gouging.
Before then, he had made a career for himself at his only club; South Sydney Rabbitohs. He made 150 appearances for the Bunnies.
He was born in Dewsbury and played for Bradford Bulls Academy before moving Down Under. He ended up playing for the Rabbitohs with his three brothers Luke, Tom and Sam.
Burgess won the Dally M Rookie of the Year in 2013, before helping the Bunnies to the NRL title a year later. He followed that up by winning Man of the Match during the World Club Challenge win against St Helens.
He is also an England international. He has made 15 appearances for his country, scoring two tries.
Burgess will bring some aggression into the Wigan pack, and if he can re-discover that form between 2013 and 2015, then it could well be a good buy from the Warriors.