Less than a week removed from Wigan Warriors winning the Grand Final and the attention turns to the 2024 campaign and Leeds Rhinos in particular have strengthened their side with the double signing of Salford Red Devils pair Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers.
It’s a raid on the Red Devils with half of their spine heading to Headingley including the 2022 Man of Steel in Croft, who will go a long way to replacing the departed Blake Austin and Aiden Sezer.
Ackers is an England international in his own right and will help ease the strain on young Jarrod O’Connor whilst providing plenty of quality himself.
For a Leeds side that finished eighth in 2023 the pair will be a huge boost, but as for seventh placed Salford there’s a big question over how they will fare without two of their star players.
The club confirmed the departure of Ackers and Croft via a statement on their website, stating that a record transfer fee was involved.
“We can confirm that Brodie Croft has joined Leeds Rhinos for a club record transfer fee.
“The 26-year-old joined the club from Brisbane Broncos in August 2021 and has completely transformed his career at the Salford Stadium.
“Croft provided a phenomenal 32 try contributions in his debut campaign and was a driving force behind our top six finish.”
The club then thanked the Australian for his services: “Showing class and commitment throughout his time at the club, we would like to thank Brodie for his efforts and wish him and his family all the best in their next step.”
As for Ackers he’s set to follow Croft and the Red Devils also paid tribute to the 29-year-old via their website.
“We can confirm Andy Ackers has joined Leeds Rhinos.
“The 29-year-old signed for Salford Red Devils in June 2020 and has gone on to make 74 appearances, scoring 10 tries.
“Signing an initial two-year deal, Ackers was reunited with now-Head Coach, Paul Rowley, who he also worked with during his time at Toronto Wolfpack.
“During his four-year tenure, the natural hooker has shown clear signs of improvement, year on year – but 2022 was his real breakthrough campaign.”
He too was thanked: “We would like to thank Andy for his efforts during his four-year stay and wish him – and his family – all the best for his future endeavours.”