As the NRL season is now fully underway, players are hoping to solidify their claims for their place in their respective teams. However, if they know there is no guarantee of this, they will hope to attract the attention of other clubs to snap them up.
Super League is always on the lookout for a big NRL signing and most who come over have successful careers here. Due to the depth of squads and the fact that most teams in the NRL have feeder clubs, sometimes Super League becomes the only chance that NRL players get to carry on playing.
So who are some of the players that Super League could make a bid for in between now and the start of the 2022 season? Well, below is a suggested list picking one off-contract player from each NRL team.
Xavier Coates – Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane’s star winger has all the hallmarks of a future star of the game so it will be a surprise if Brisbane do let him go. However, as things are now, he’s up for other clubs to take an interest. The 20-year-old has a very long career ahead of him and has already proved his worth by scoring on his debut for the Broncos in 2019, going on to score eight tries in 16 appearances in that season, and being easily one of the best players last year with the points to back it up. If Super League could get him it would be a huge result, especially as in full flight he can clock nearly 25 mph.
Toby Rudolf – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
This man has unfortunately made the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week but the attention that has brought him is not the reason why he is in this list. Rest assured, he is truly a fantastic player. Easily identifiable by his speed, size, and his tenacity in the ruck, Toby Rudolf was one of the standout stars for the Sharks last season, if not the standout star. If he is still available at the end of the year, expect a lot of clubs in the NRL and in Super League to be circling for the man mountain.
Tyrone Peachey – Gold Coast Titans
The Titans were a surprise to everyone last year. After claiming the wooden spoon in 2019 finishing 16th and only winning four games, in 2020 they finished 9th and won nine games. This included a five-match winning streak to finish the season with the Titans drumming the Newcastle Knights 36-6 in their last game. Because of this, it has raised the profile of the talent they have there and Tyrone Peachey is definitely one of those talents. He was instrumental last year for the Titans and had a good record at Penrith where he scored 160 points from 109 appearances. Peachey has also represented New South Wales at Origin level as well as the Indigenous All-Stars.
Reuben Garrick – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Something needs to change at Manly. Their season last year was disappointing to say the least and in their opening round of 2021, they suffered their biggest first round defeat ever, being annihilated by South Sydney 46-6. There is no doubt that Garrick is one of their key players but he may be axed if Manly needs to completely rebuild. If he does, it’s better for Super League. In his two years for the Sea Eagles he has scored 260 points and can play at fullback, on the wing, or centre. He would be a fantastic asset to any team in Super League.
Dale Finucane – Melbourne Storm
Dale Finucane has been a great servant to both his current club Melbourne and his former club the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. He has won the Premiership in both stints at each club and as a reward for his efforts, Finucane was named co-captain for the 2021 season for the Storm. He is a very powerful player and his presence on the field is obviously to the benefit of any club he plays for. Known for both his attacking prowess and defensive grit, Dale Finucane would definitely make an impact wherever he ends up.
Peta Hiku – New Zealand Warriors
Fans may recognise the name of Peta Hiku, but blink and you’d have missed him. He appeared eleven times in his only stint in Super League to date with Warrington Wolves and scored ten tries. He came to Warrington halfway through the 2017 season as he was being forced out of position at the Panthers. However, Warrington would release Hiku on compassionate grounds with New Zealand Warriors offering him a three-year contract of which he is now in his last year of. Given his success at his short spell at the Wolves, could we see him return to Super League?
Hymel Hunt – Newcastle Knights
Hymel Hunt has not really gotten a big break in the NRL yet. He has had a string of one-year contracts from Melbourne, South Sydney and then the Knights which is surprising given his talent. It may be time for a change for Hunt and with his playing style he would be a good fit for a number of Super League clubs. If he did come over it wouldn’t be surprising.
Scott Drinkwater – North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys are hoping to improve on a poor 2020 campaign and Drinkwater is a key factor in this. A great kicker of the ball on the field, he can create chances from anywhere and in his preferred position of five-eighth he is a definite threat. Depending on how the season goes for the Cowboys this year, Drinkwater may be on the lookout for other offers.
Maika Sivo – Parramatta Eels
One of Parramatta’s most popular players, Maika Sivo had a thundering season in 2020 and made a huge impact with the team and the fans. Without his try scoring acrobatics and sheer power, Parramatta may not have had such a successful season. If he doesn’t have his contract renewed with the Eels it will be surprising, but if Super League could get him his performances would be a treat for the fans to see.
Brent Naden – Penrith Panthers
Naden had a huge season in the Minor Premiership winning Panthers side in 2020 but would tarnish that with a one-time recreational drugs charge at the end of the season. He was handed a playing ban by coach Ivan Cleary who told him he would not be up for selection this year until Round 5. Naden has shown his true character by working like a mad man for his redemption and is currently playing reserve grade at his own insistence. He is also reportedly in the best shape of his life and when you have a player with that much dedication, it speaks volumes. It is hoped that once back in the Penrith side he can continue his superb run of form and make no mistake, he is a brilliant player. If he wants to test himself further though, maybe a spot in Super League is the best place for him?
Adam Reynolds – South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs captain has copped a bit of unfair flack in pre-season and some question whether he is good enough to hold the captaincy at South Sydney. The reason for this is unclear because he is one of the most dependable players within the team and is a superb kicker of the ball. He is also a great playmaker and would be a brilliant addition to high profile Super League clubs. Reynolds is without doubt a definite prospect for the big Super League teams come the end of the year.
Matt Dufty – St. George Illawarra Dragons
This man should be in Super League now. He just looks as though he should be! His is quick, scampering, and is a key player for a struggling Dragons side, scoring thirteen tries for the club last season. Famous for his try against Sydney Roosters in the traditional ANZAC Day game which left James Tedesco for dead, he would excel in the Super League.
Brett Morris – Sydney Roosters
This man is 34 years old and in the last year of his contract. Readers may be thinking retirement sounds a better prospect for him than Super League but they would be wrong. Brett Morris is the best winger in the world. Aside from Josh Addo-Carr and Tommy Makinson, no other player comes close to what this man can do and does every week. He opened up his quota this year with a hat-trick and his finishing on the second of those was fantastic. He looks more like a centre or even prop than a winger, but this just adds to his prestige as it takes at least three players to stop him on most occasions. He is by far the biggest fish on this list.
Michael Chee-Kam – Wests Tigers
A man who has proved his worth at the Tigers after stepping up and filling in for injured and de-registered players, Michael Chee-Kam is now part of the backbone at Wests. He can play a range of positions and is a force coming off the bench, but there is a feeling that he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. This is something that he could more than achieve in Super League.
Jordan Rapana – Canberra Raiders
A vital part of Canberra’s successful team last year, Jordan Rapana has scored 72 tries in 133 appearances for the Raiders to date. He has also represented New Zealand at international level and opened the 2021 season with two tries against Wests Tigers. Rapana announced in 2019 that he would be joining the Panasonic Wild Knights, a Japanese Rugby Union team, but due to the cancelling of the season due to Covid-19, he was eventually allowed to return to the Raiders. It is unclear whether he will go back to Japan at the end of the year, but if he doesn’t, he would be a great signing for Super League.
Will Hopoate – Canterbury Bulldogs
Going into his fifth season with the Bulldogs, Will Hopoate has almost scored a try for every one of his 96 appearances. He is from rugby league stock as his father, John Hopoate, played for Manly and Wests with a stint at the now defunct Northern Eagles. Will Hopoate is a quick, darting runner and has represented Tonga on nine occasions since 2017. Maybe he will leave, maybe he won’t, but Super League could come calling for him.