Rating every NRL clubs transfer business for 2021

Every year, all 16 NRL clubs attempt to make signings that will transform their teams. Sometimes, just one player can make all the difference.

This year has been no different and throughout the recent NRL off-season, there have been many big name players to make the switch to a new team. 

We will take a look at all the player movements prior to the upcoming season and judge which team we feel has made the best business over the last four months.  

Brisbane Broncos

2021 Gains – John Asiata, Dale Copley, David Mead, Isaiah Tass
2021 Losses – Jack Bird, Darius Boyd, David Fifita, Andrew McCullough, Sean O’Sullivan, Joe Ofahengaue, Izaia Perese

We start with our lowest-rated team. The Brisbane Broncos have suffered the big loss of one of the game’s best young players, David Fifita. Ending last season at the bottom of the NRL ladder, Broncos fans would’ve hoped for a big off-season, but the club has not delivered. They will live in hope that their current squad of players can find their form in 2021, or it could be another long season for Broncos fans. 

BIGGEST GAIN – JOHN ASIATA
BIGGEST LOSS – DAVID FIFITA
RATING – 4/10

Canberra Raiders

2021 Gains – Caleb Aekins, Ryan James, Trey Mooney, Harry Rushton, Xavier Savage, Clay Webb
2021 Losses – John Bateman, Luke Bateman, JJ Collins, Nick Cotric, Andre Niko, Michael Oldfield

A solid off-season from the Canberra Raiders. They have acquired an array of youthful talent and despite the huge loss of former Dally M Second Rower of the Year John Bateman, Canberra will be hoping that they can go a step further from last season and find themselves in another Grand Final at the end of 2021.

BIGGEST GAIN – RYAN JAMES
BIGGEST LOSS – JOHN BATEMAN
RATING – 7/10

Canterbury Bulldogs

2021 Gains – Corey Allan, Nick Cotric, Kyle Flanagan, Jack Hetherington, Paul Karaitiana, Chris Patolo, Kurt Picken, Jackson Topine, Corey Waddell
2021 Losses – Jack Cogger, Kieran Foran, Kerrod Holland, Tim Lafai, Marcelo Montoya, Reimis Smith, Sauaso Sue, Isaiah Tass, Aiden Tolman

An excellent few months for Bulldogs fans. There are many new signings for them to be excited for. Allan, Cotric and Flanagan should all make an immediate impact for new head coach Trent Barrett, and fans will be quietly optimistic that the fresh new look will result in a change of fortunes in 2021.

BIGGEST GAIN – KYLE FLANAGAN
BIGGEST LOSS – KIERAN FORAN
RATING – 9/10

Cronulla Sharks
2021 Gains – Jonaiah Lualua, Jack Martin, Luke Metcalf, Aiden Tolman
2021 Losses – Jayson Bukuya, Cameron King, Scott Sorensen

Not much to see from the Cronulla Sharks. Young Luke Metcalf is one to watch in 2021 and the experienced Aidan Tolman will look to strengthen the Sharks forward pack. 

BIGGEST GAIN – AIDAN TOLMAN
BIGGEST LOSS – SCOTT SORENSEN
RATING – 6/10

Gold Coast Titans

2021 Gains – Herman Ese’ese, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, David Fifita, Sosefo Fifita, Patrick Herbert, Sam McIntyre.
2021 Losses – Jai Arrow, Shannon Boyd, Bryce Cartwright, Dale Copley, Keegan Hipgrave, Ryan James, Nathan Peats, Kallum Watkins

Another side who have made fine acquisitions during the off-season are the Gold Coast Titans. The forward pack will be much bigger and stronger in 2021 thanks to the signings of Herman Ese’ese, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and David Fifita. With Jai Arrow leaving the club for the Rabbitohs, it was vital for the club to compensate for their loss, and they did exactly that. The Titans ended last season as one of the competitions in-form teams, and they will hope to continue that form in 2021.

BIGGEST GAIN – DAVIFD FIFITA
BIGGEST LOSS – JAI ARROW
RATING – 9/10

Manly Sea Eagles

2021 Gains – Josh Aloiai, Andrew Davey, Sione Fainu, Kieran Foran, Tolutau Koula, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Alec Tuitavake
2021 Losses – Brendan Elliot, Addin Fonua-Blake, Daniel Levi, Luke Metcalf, Abbas Miski, Brayden Musgrove, Sam Smith, Joel Thompson, Corey Waddell, Tony Williams

A very respectable off-season for the Manly Sea Eagles with a lot of players going in and out of the club during the last few months. With the departures of Addin Fonua-Blake and Joel Thompson, it was important for the Sea Eagles to replace them as soon as possible, and they’ve done just that with the acquisitions of Josh Aloiai and Andrew Davey.

BIGGEST GAIN – JOSH ALOIAI
BIGGEST LOSS – ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
RATING – 7/10

Melbourne Storm

2021 Gains – Jake Howarth, George Jennings, Jonah Pezet, Reimis Smith, Tagiolupe Tivalu
2021 Losses – Sandor Earl, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Ricky Leutele, Paul Momirovski, Albert Vete, Suliasi Vunivalu

There wasn’t a tonne of movement from the reigning premiers. I’m sure they would’ve liked to have retained the services of Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Suliasi Vunivalu, but with the additions of George Jennings and Reimis Smith, and the strength of depth at the club, expect to see the Storm in the top four again in 2021.

BIGGEST GAIN – REIMIS SMITH
BIGGEST LOSS – TINO FA’ASUAMALEAUI
RATING – 6/10

New Zealand Warriors

2021 Gains – Euan Aitken, Kane Evans, Addin Fonua-Blake, Marcelo Montoya, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Sean O’Sullivan, Bayley Sironen
2021 Losses – Daniel Alvaro, Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Lachlan Burr, Poasa Faamausili, Blake Green, Patrick Herbert, Jack Hetherington, George Jennings, Adam Keighran, Taane Milne, Agnatius Paasi, Isaiah Papali’i, Nathaniel Roache

A great off-season for the New Zealand Warriors. Thanks to the signings of Addin Fonua-Blake, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Euan Aitken, the Warriors have been able to bolster both their forward pack and their outside backs in preparation for the new season. The Warriors fans will hope that their new signings will add more consistency to the team in 2021. 

BIGGEST GAIN – ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
BIGGEST LOSS – PATRICK HERBERT
RATING – 9/10

Newcastle Knights

2021 Gains – Tyson Frizell, Blake Green, Bailey Hodgson, Jack Johns, Brayden Musgrove, Garrett Smith, Sauaso Sue, Dominic Young
2021 Losses – Herman Ese’ese, Tim Glasby, Aidan Guerra, Mason Lino, Sione Mata’utia, Andrew McCullough, Tautau Moga

The Knights have made a couple of good signings prior to the new season, but they have also had a few disappointing losses. Tyson Frizell is the standout signing and the former Dragon will become an immediate fan favourite.

BIGGEST GAIN – TYSON FRIZELL
BIGGEST LOSS – HERMAN ESE’ESE
RATING – 7/10

North Queensland Cowboys

2021 Gains – Michael Bell, Kane Bradley, Lachlan Burr, Heilum Luki, Jeremiah Nanai, Griffin Neame
2021 Losses – John Asiata, Gavin Cooper, Tom Opacic, Dan Russell, Tukimihia Simpkins, Garrett Smith

A sub-par off-season. Fans would’ve been hoping for more big name signings given the losses of John Asiata and Gavin Cooper, but similar to fellow Queensland club Brisbane, they have failed to bring in replacements to match the outgoing quality. 

BIGGEST GAIN – LACHLUN BURR
BIGGEST LOSS – JOHN ASIATA
RATING – 5/10

Parramatta Eels

2021 Gains – Bryce Cartwright, Keegan Hipgrave, David Hollis, Joey Lussick, Michael Oldfield, Tom Opacic, Isaiah Papali’i
2021 Losses – Daniel Alvaro, Andrew Davey, Rhys Davies, Kane Evans, Jai Field, David Gower, Watson Heleta, George Jennings, Ethan Parry, Jaeman Salmon, Kyle Schneider, Brad Takairangi, Peni Terepo, Stefano Utoikamanu

A fair few outgoings for the Eels in recent months with no big money signings to compensate. Head coach Brad Arthur must have faith that his current crop of players are the ones who will bring an end to Parramatta’s 35 year wait for a premiership.

BIGGEST GAIN – KEEGAN HIPGRAVE
BIGGEST LOSS – STEFANO UTOIKAMANU
RATING – 6/10

Penrith Panthers

2021 Gains – Matt Eisenhuth, Robert Jennings, Paul Momirovski, Jaeman Salmon, Scott Sorensen
2021 Losses – Caleb Aekins, Kaide Ellis, Jack Hetherington, Pat Hollis, Daine Laurie, Josh Mansour, Brayden McGrady, James Tamou, Zane Tetevano, Malaki Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare

Last year’s runners-up Penrith have had more departures than acquisitions during the off-season. Experienced veterans such as James Tamou and Josh Mansour have moved elsewhere, and Malaki Watene-Zelezniak was forced to retire. I believe the Panthers have been more interested in retaining their star players for next season rather than bringing new players in. It seems to have paid off, with Stephen Crichton already having signed a new deal and Jarome Luai also expected to pen a new deal in the upcoming days.

BIGGEST GAIN – PAUL MOMIROVSKI
BIGGEST LOSS – JAMES TAMOU
RATING – 6/10

South Sydney Rabbitohs

2021 Gains – Jai Arrow, Jacob Host, Josh Mansour, Benji Marshall, Taane Milne, Tautau Moga
2021 Losses – Corey Allan, Tom Amone, Kurt Dillon, Bryson Goodwin, Jack Johns, Ethan Lowe, James Roberts, Ky Rodwell, Bayley Sironen

An off-season to be happy with if you are a Rabbitohs fan. Other than Corey Allan, the club hasn’t had many major departures, but they have been able to strengthen their squad with the likes of Jai Arrow, Josh Mansour and Benji Marshall. Expectations will be high for the Rabbitohs fans this year.

BIGGEST GAIN – JAI ARROW
BIGGEST LOSS – COREY ALLAN
RATING – 8/10

St George Illawarra Dragons

2021 Gains – Daniel Alvaro, Junior Amone, Jack Bird, Kaide Ellis, Poasa Faamausili, Andew McCullough, Tyrell Sloan
2021 Losses – Euan Aitken, Tyson Frizell, James Graham, Jacob Host, Tim Lafai, Joe Lovodua, Issac Luke, Jason Saab, Tristan Sailor, Korbin Sims

Tyson Frizell’s departure will be huge for the club, and sadly, they have not made signings to effectively replace him. They have however made decent signings with the additions of Andrew McCullough, Daniel Alvaro and Jack Bird, but there is not too much to be excited about for Dragons fans. 

BIGGEST GAIN – ANDREW MCCULLOUGH
BIGGEST LOSS – TYSON FRIZELL
RATING – 6/10

Sydney Roosters

2021 Gains – Tuku Hau Tapuha, Adam Keighran, Joseph Suaalii, Naufahu Whyte
2021 Losses – Mitchell Aubusson, Poasa Faamausili, Kyle Flanagan, Ryan Hall, Christian Tuipulotu, Sonny Bill Williams

Not much to see for the Roosters. However, fans will be excited about the signing of 17-year-old Joseph Suaalii, who was highly sought-after by both league and union clubs. 

BIGGEST GAIN – JOSEPH SUAALII
BIGGEST LOSS – KYLE FLANAGAN
RATING – 5/10

Wests Tigers

2021 Gains – William Kei, Daine Laurie, Joe Ofahengaue, James Roberts, Tukimihia Simpkins, James Tamou, Kelma Tuilagi
2021 Losses – Josh Aloiai, Kane Bradley, Oliver Clark, Matt Eisenhuth, Harry Grant, Robert Jennings, Chris Lawrence, Benji Marshall, Sam McIntyre, Chris McQueen, Paul Momirovski, Josh Reynolds, Dylan Smith, Elijah Taylor

An eventful but solid off-season for the Tigers. Their forward pack will benefit greatly thanks to the additions of Joe Ofahenguaue and James Tamou. Fans will be hoping that their new signings will help the club finally make their way into the top eight after nine seasons without a finals appearance.

BIGGEST GAIN – JAMES TAMOU
BIGGEST LOSS – BENJI MARSHALL
RATING – 7/10

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Tevita
Tevita
1 month ago

dumb retards lol