Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR and Huddersfield Giants have all completed major signings for next year.
Hull FC have done the same signing NRL stars like Herman Ese’ese and Franklin Pele.
But just as important is the retention of stars and they have re-signed veteran Danny Houghton.
It is a bit of a shock with many expecting him to announce his retirement.
The Black & Whites’ long-serving hooker will head into his 18th season with his hometown club at the MKM Stadium in 2024 and will continue to rise in the club’s appearances chart, having clocked up 435 for the Airlie Birds to date.
Already the club’s highest appearance maker of the Super League era, Houghton could rise as high as Hull’s second highest appearance maker of all-time during the new campaign, as well as potentially joining an illustrious group of modern greats in the competition’s top ten highest appearance makers.
The 34-year old back-to-back Challenge Cup winner has already secured legendary status amongst the Hull FC Faithful over the last decade and a half, thanks in part to his famous last gasp tackle to clinch Hull FC’s first cup title at Wembley Stadium – one of the most iconic moments in club history.
That same year, he was named as the Steve Prescott Man of Steel, becoming the first Hull player to win the award, and named in the Super League Dream Team.
Houghton helped the Black & Whites defend their Challenge Cup title in 2017, and the hooker’s allegiance to his boyhood club was rewarded with the captaincy from the 2018 until 2021.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever been produced in the city of Hull and one of the club’s most influential figures of the modern era, Houghton has enjoyed another impressive campaign in 2023, rolling the years back with some eye-catching performances throughout the season.
Houghton described his excitement to continue his journey with the club in 2024, adding: “It does feel like a big weight off my shoulders now I have made a decision on my future, and I’m really looking forward to continuing into 2024.
“Part of the reason why I wanted to extend my time was because I still feel fit and healthy. I truly believe I still have lots left to give and that played a big role in helping me make my decision over my future.
“It’s also been down to enjoying my rugby in 2023. I feel like Tony is bringing the best out of me and that’s all I really want as a player. I feel like my style of play suits his vision, so we’re getting the best out of one another.
“I’ve still got that fire in my belly to keep improving, both on a personal level and as a group. It’s exciting to be part of this transitional period. I’m looking forward to some down time in the off-season, and then I’ll be chomping at the bit again come day one of pre-season.”
Hull FC head coach, Tony Smith, added: “Danny seems to have discovered a new energy about himself this season and he has thoroughly enjoyed playing, which is why I feel he has decided to go around for another year.
“I won’t speak on his behalf, but from what I understand from having conversations from him, it is like Danny has found a new lease of life in 2023 and he is looking forward to continuing in that frame of mind in 2024.
“Danny is an exceptional player. He is one to never shy away from the tough stuff and he will always try to make a difference, which makes him a key member of the squad.”