With the window closing for this year, and many clubs well underway recruiting for next season we look at the big movers in Super League for 2020.
James Maloney (Penrith to Catalans)
James Maloney already has a bit of history from this move, the first current State of Origin player to sign for a Super League club. At 33, the World Cup-winner is into the back-end of his career but this is still an impressive addition to the Catalans squad and brings a wealth of experience. There isn’t an honour that Maloney hasn’t won during his decade-long NRL career, a record he’ll be keen to improve on during his three years in Perpignan.
Gareth Widdop (St George to Warrington)
The long-rumoured move will finally see Gareth Widdop play in Super League. Born in Halifax but raised in Australia, the stand-off was highly rated during his time at Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra, including being named in the NRL’s team of the year in 2017 and picking up 28 England caps.
Widdop arrives with high expectations, Warrington’s chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick said that the signing was “arguably the biggest in the club’s history”, and the prospect of a partnership with Blake Austin must already be exciting Wire fans. The 30-year old hasn’t had much luck with injury in recent seasons, but if he can stay fit then Warrington could have pulled off a major coup.
Jackson Hastings (Salford to Wigan)
Since his mid-season arrival in 2018 Hastings has helped turn Salford into genuine play-off contenders. After repaying their faith with another season in 2019, it seemed inevitable more clubs both here and in Australia would come calling for 2020.
It was Wigan who won the battle for his signature, as they attempt to replace NRL-bound George Williams. At Salford Hastings has seemingly managed to lift and get the best out of the players around him, so it’ll be interesting to see if Hastings can have as significant influence at the DW.
George Burgess (Souths to Wigan)
After seven years in the NRL, George Burgess returns to England to bolster the Wigan pack for next year. Despite not being offered a contract with South Sydney, it’s thought he could have still stayed down under if he didn’t want to make a move to Super League.
With some serious investment ahead of next season already done, Burgess will add both size and experience to the group. The England international is arguably the biggest name to make a move to the DW, if not the competition in general, and means Adrian Lam’s side should be ready to seriously challenge again in 2020.
Mahe Fonua (Wests Tigers to Hull FC)
Hull FC’s already impressive back-line will benefit from the return of a fans’ favourite in Mahe Fonua. The Tongan international returns to Humberside after a stint with Wests Tigers, and fans of Super League will already be well aware of how dangerous the winger can be.
Lee Radford will be spoilt for choice next year (including the arrivals of Manu Ma’u and Adam Swift), but if Fonua can hit the form that got him named in the Super League Dream Team twice, then his place will rarely be in doubt.
Rhyse Martin (Canterbury to Leeds Rhinos)
Coming over mid-season means that we already have an idea of what the back-rower can bring to Leeds, but there’s already excitement about how he’ll return after a full pre-season. In his first few appearances for the Rhinos he’s been highly-rated, and with a more experienced squad next year that won’t already be in a relegation battle, that form can only continue to improve.
There’s a reason Canterbury fans were disappointed he never got a real shot in the NRL.