It’s perhaps quite harsh to label some signings as the ‘worst-ever’, but for some clubs, the impression left by a rare minority of new recruits has left a lot to be desired.
Here are the five worst Australian recruits in Super League history.
5. Mark Carroll – London Broncos
An Aussie that had been a Grand Final winner before making the move to the UK, Mark Carroll’s reputation for being a hard-hitting, devastating forward seemed to crumble into thin air as he led the London Broncos pack. Carroll made 18 appearances for the capital club before leaving for South Sydney a year later, citing homesickness. But, it was his lack of presence that rankled London fans, especially with such a huge buzz surrounding his signature.
4. Brent Sherwin – Castleford Tigers
He was a Grand Final-winning halfback when he joined the Tigers in 2008, but Brent Sherwin’s legacy in Australia was a complete contrast to the one he left in West Yorkshire. Appearing overweight and sluggish for the two-and-a-half years he was at the Jungle, Sherwin epitomized the lack of standards at the Castleford club at the time. He left midway through 2010 to sign for the Catalans, but that didn’t exactly help his reputation either.
3. Bradley Clyde – Leeds Rhinos
At the age of 31, Clyde was past his best when he joined Leeds ahead of the 2001 season and it showed. Just 15 games later and Clyde had retired – an Achilles tendon issue saw him released halfway through a two-year deal. One of only two players to have won the Clive Churchill Medal in NRL Grand Finals, Clyde just couldn’t replicate that form and instead bowed out on a wonderful career on the treatment table.
2. Matt Orford – Bradford Bulls
Just two years prior to signing for Bradford, Matt Orford had won the Dally M Medal as well as the Premiership with Manly. But, his one and only season with the Bulls in 2010 was a failure to say the least. The halfback appeared just 14 times as his season was brought to an early finish due to a shoulder injury. And, to add insult to injury, on the day he was released, Orford signed for Canberra.
1. Willie Mason – Hull KR
Australian international Mason joined Hull KR amidst a blaze of publicity in September 2011, penning a three-year deal. But, just six months into his contract and after just six appearances, Mason was deregistered as the club chose to sign Michael Dobson instead. The rampaging forward disappeared under a cloud as it was revealed he had met with French rugby officials at Toulon whilst still under contract with Rovers.