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Super League’s new era thanks to mammoth deal

On Tuesday Salford Red Devils announced Brodie Croft has signed a historic new long-term contract with Salford Red Devils, keeping him at the Club until 2030.

By keeping hold of one of the competitions finest and most sought after players, the Red Devils have shown their intention to build on the incredible progress made by the team in 2022 and aim even higher in 2023.

The Australian halfback joined the Club in August 2021 and has gone from strength to strength under the tutelage of Paul Rowley.

Across 2022, Croft produced stunning performance after stunning performance to climb the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel charts. A particularly strong ending to the season propelled Salford into a playoff position and secured the coveted award ahead of Wigan Warriors’ Jai Field and St Helens’ Jack Welsby.

That was just one of countless individual honours the 25-year-old amassed in his debut campaign.

He was presented with the prestigious Albert Goldthorpe Medal before our playoff eliminator against Huddersfield Giants – an award held in high esteem across the rugby league community.

At the Club’s annual awards evening, Croft’s incredible efforts were recognised by picking up the Coaches Player, the Players’ Player and the Supporters Player of the Year.

His 32 try contributions across the year also earned him a spot in the Betfred Super League Dream Team alongside Red Devils teammates, Ken Sio and Tim Lafai.

On signing his long-term deal, Croft said: “I’m delighted to extend my time at Salford.

“This group of boys is something special and along with the coaching staff through to the performance staff and office staff, I’m excited at what the future holds for the club!”

Meanwhile, coach Paul Rowley said: “The playing group, staff and myself are delighted that Brodie shares our vision and ambition for success and we get the chance to continue to work together going forward.”

“He’s a fantastic role model for our young supporters and a person who drives standards on and off the field. We are all very proud of the player and person Brodie is and look forward to playing a part in his career going forward.”

Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease added: “After some months of robust negotiations, I am absolutely delighted in securing Brodie’s long-term future at our club.

“We are determined to keep our best players and the current team together for as long as possible and securing Brodie’s long-term deal meets our determination.

“It is a real statement of intent to secure such a long-term deal for our club and for such a quality player, in my view, it also demonstrates that Brodie believes our philosophy and vision as a club

 “As a player Brodie has been welcomed by our fans, similar to how they welcomed Jackson Hastings into our club in 2018/19. Brodie has had a magnificent first season in Super League, culminating in winning the Man of Steel award and can now hopefully settle down to play his best rugby with the Red Devils.

“I believe we are building a legacy to admire at this club and the future is one that we are all as a team so excited to be a part of!”

But what does this mean for Super League?

Well it could be the start of a new era for the sport. We could see more clubs do this to ensure they keep their best players long term or at least command big fees for them should they he attempted to the NRL.

There have been a few recent examples of fees being offered. Wests Tigers paid $250,000 for Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman whilst less than that was offered to Salford for Brodie Croft which alarmed some fans.

Now any fee for Croft would be much more. Granted the Red Devils will be wanting to keep him but even if he leaves they would receive a huge financial reward.

It would secure their financial stability for sure.

Another important paradigm shift created by the decision is more top Super League players turning down the move to the NRL which is vital after so many recent big names have made the move over to the NRL with interest in Joe Batchelor, James Bentley, George Williams and Jack Welsby.

Lastly, it could see Super League’s clubs change back to signing longer term deals which has died down recently.

Once upon a time Leeds were signing Kevin Sinfield to a five year deal and Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow to six year contracts and now this could be making a resurgence.

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