There’s been a whirlwind of change in Super League this winter. So many players have switched clubs across the league whilst a number of high profile signings have arrived from the NRL. There’s been some massive signings which could very well rock Super League to its core.
However, some of these moves were anticipated whilst others came as complete shocks to supporters across the country. With that in mind here’s the five most surprising signings going into 2022.
5. Blake Austin (Warrington to Leeds)
This signing was particularly surprising when it was announced. It was believed Luke Gale would be remaining at Leeds in 2022 and the Rhinos had already signed Aidan Sezer as the replacement for the departing Rob Lui. So, when they announced the signing of Blake Austin from Warrington, a few eyebrows were raised. Initially, it was suggested that the stand-off by trade would cover a number of positions for Leeds but recent events have seen him take on the number six jersey for next season as Leeds’ first choice stand-off for 2022 following Luke Gale’s departure. Making this even more surprising is the fact he has only signed a one-year deal at Headingley.
4. Chris Hill (Warrington to Huddersfield)
Another Warrington departure caught a few by surprise. The former Warrington skipper Chris Hill was given a testimonial in 2021 as he enjoyed his 10th season with the Wire and it would prove to be one in which he proved he could still be a key player for the Wolves with some top notch performances. If he was to leave, it was assumed he’d return to Leigh however he instead signed at Huddersfield and is one of a number exciting signings Ian Watson has secured for 2022. However, deeply engrained in the way Warrington have played since his arrival in 2012, it’ll be strange seeing him play against the Wolves next year.
3. Marc Sneyd (Hull FC to Salford)
This one took the whole rugby league world by surprise and seemed to come out of nowhere. After seven impressive seasons with the Black and Whites, two Challenge Cup wins and two Lance Todd trophies to go with those Wembley successes, Hull FC allowed Sneyd to return to the club he started his career with. It in a chain of events which would lead to another surprising signing.
2. Luke Gale (Leeds to Hull FC)
Sneyd’s exit opened the door for Hull FC to move for Luke Gale as they looked to revitalise their spine. Gale’s move to the MKM Stadium took many fans by surprise as he still had a year left on his contract and had categorically said he was staying at Leeds and would play alongside Sezer and Austin in an interview with Sky Sports. Richard Agar echoed this suggesting Austin would play a number of roles across the side. However, despite all of this, the former Man of Steel left Headingley after just two years to join the Black and Whites.
1. Konrad Hurrell (Leeds to St Helens)
Since Konrad Hurrell’s arrival at Headingley in 2019, he lived and breathed Leeds Rhinos. He constantly made it known how much he loved the club, would often dance to Marching on Together and seemed incredibly settled at the club. In 2019 he enjoyed a brilliant season being named in the Super League Dream Team and received the same accolade again in 2020 having been key to Leeds’ Wembley win over Salford. However, 2021 was his last season as a Rhino as he joins St Helens. His love for Leeds makes this all the more surprising as he joins one of their rivals on a one-year deal. Moreover, he’s been handed the number 23 jersey at St Helens and is firmly behind Will Hopoate and Mark Percival when it comes to being selected as the first choice centres. This makes this all the more surprising.