The marquee signing was introduced in 2015 as a way for Super League to either retain their best players or bring in new, expensive recruits from abroad.
From one to two, clubs are now permitted to have a pair of marquee players whose salary cap value is limited to £150,000 – or £75,000 if club trained.
This has given a lot of sides the inspiration to dig deep and attempt to bring in world-class stars that would otherwise have passed them by. Here are ten of the best.
10. Trent Merrin – Leeds Rhinos
He started slow to life at Headingley, but Trent Merrin ended it as a popular figure at the West Yorkshire club. The forward made 27 appearances before being released from his contract on compassionate grounds, though his impact had been felt in what was a difficult rebuilding phase for the Rhinos.
9. James Maloney – Catalans Dragons
Maloney signed for the Dragons ahead of last season and, being a former Australia and NSW Origin star, the pressure was on the halfback immediately. At the age of 34, Maloney is at the twilight of his career yet still performed admirably for Catalans in 2020, registering 17 appearances as the French side made it to the play-offs.
8. Sam Tomkins – Wigan Warriors
Though a lot of his time at Wigan the second time around was plagued with injury, Tomkins still enjoyed some success upon his return to the DW Stadium. Despite missing the 2016 Grand Final, the wiry fullback had been a key figure in the Wigan side that year and made up for his absence in that showpiece event by ending his time at the Warriors with a winners’ ring in 2018.
7. George Williams – Wigan Warriors
Not a signing, but a re-signing, George Williams became a marquee player for Wigan back in 2018. The halfback won two Grand Finals and one World Club Challenge in his time at the Warriors before leaving for Canberra Raiders ahead of the 2020 season. But, Williams definitely stepped up a gear after penning the new deal, running the show with confidence for Wigan.
6. Blake Austin – Warrington Wolves
Though his 2020 season was far from what is expected of Austin, the halfback burst onto the scene with the Wolves in 2019. After playing a pivotal role in Warrington’s Challenge Cup run, Austin was injured for the final as his peers were able to secure the cup with the halfback missing out on most of the end of the season. Alongside other marquee signing Gareth Widdop, the Australian was unable to strike up an exciting partnership, but the experience will have stood both in good stead heading into 2021.
5. Ben Barba – St Helens
He stayed at St Helens for just over one season, but Ben Barba tore up Super League towards the back end of 2017 and then again in 2018. Scoring 34 tries in 34 appearances, the elusive fullback won the Man of Steel as Saints lost just four games all season. Unfortunately for Barba and Saints, the club fell short in both the cup and play-off semi-finals as the Aussie made a swift return to his native country.
4. Konrad Hurrell – Leeds Rhinos
Human wrecking-ball Hurrell moved to Leeds ahead of the 2019 season, becoming one of the Rhinos’ most important players in their revival under Richard Agar. The Tongan centre has registered 21 tries in 38 appearances, winning the Fans’ Player of the Year in 2019 as well as the Challenge Cup with the West Yorkshire side in the last campaign. In the last year of his contract, Hurrell will be looking to impress once more in 2021.
3. Jackson Hastings – Wigan Warriors
After being the main man at Salford for 18 months, guiding the club to a Grand Final appearance in 2019 and scooping up the Man of Steel, Hastings moved to Wigan as a marquee signing ahead of the 2020 season. The halfback became an integral cog in the Wigan wheel immediately, helping the Warriors to a Grand Final appearance in the last campaign. Rumours of a move back to Australia continue to circle, but Wigan will be determined to keep hold of Hastings for longer.
2. Lachlan Coote – St Helens
Coote was signed by St Helens as a marquee recruit and a direct replacement for the outgoing Ben Barba ahead of the 2019 season and boy was it a good swap. The fullback fit in perfectly and continues to do so today, running the show from the back as Saints secured back-to-back Grand Finals in 2019 and 2020. Goes about his business a lot quieter than Barba, but is arguably a more well-rounded star in the Saints side with nearly 500 points under his belt.
1. Aidan Sezer – Huddersfield Giants
He has played just one season in Super League for the Giants so far, but what a season it was. Sezer joined Huddersfield ahead of the 2020 campaign and ended it as a Man of Steel nominee. The diminutive halfback played 17 times, scoring seven tries, kicking 38 goals and one drop-goal. Basically single-handedly, Sezer lifted Huddersfield to seventh and will be the main man for the West Yorkshire club once more in 2021.