We’re over halfway through the season, so every signing made ahead of this campaign has had ample time to impress and show their quality.
As is always the case, some have shined more than others. But who has had the very best impact on their new clubs?
To answer that question, we’re ranking the six best signings of 2021 so far.
6. Luis Johnson
When Luis Johnson’s swap deal with Rob Mulhern was announced I believed it was sublime business from Warrington. In many ways it still is. Mulhern is one of the best props in the competition in terms of raw ability and he’ll only get better. But the deal saw the Wolves lose Johnson who has more than impressed at Hull KR this term. He’s claimed a starting place in a competitive pack, offers work rate and dynamism and looks at home in the red and white of the Robins. Another player I expect will only improve, he’s added to a Rovers pack that plays wonderful rugby.
5. Josh Reynolds
On the other side of Hull is a player I had concerns over when he arrived at Hull FC. An outstanding talent, I wondered how well he’d combine with Marc Sneyd. It seems my worries were unjustified. The Hull FC number six has taken to Super League like a duck to water. He gives the Black and Whites threat across the pitch, frees Jake Connor up to express himself at fullback and has been key to an impressive start to the season for Hull FC. Things have been derailed by the pandemic in recent weeks but I’m looking forward to seeing him torment defences in the weeks to come.
4. Mike McMeeken
The arrival of Mike McMeeken at Catalans raised a few eyebrows. However, the move to France has brought the best out of him. He’s playing his best rugby since taking the Tigers to Old Trafford in 2017. He and Matt Whitley have formed a formidable and dynamic backrow. The pair have more than played their part in the Dragons’ ascent to the top of the table.
3. Gil Dudson
The same could be said of Gil Dudson. I’d describe his arrival at Catalans as a key transfer. It’s clear that Steve McNamara wanted to freshen up his forwards this term letting go of the likes of Remi Casty and bringing in Dudson. Often capable of setting the tone for the Dragons at the start of games, he’s been key to Catalans’ dominance down the middle of the field.
2. Agnatius Paasi
When he comes off the bench it’s like an explosion. He changes the momentum of games with his direct and powerful running style and did so on the grandest stage when his introduction into the Challenge Cup Final helped sway the contest in favour of the Saints. He’s been the perfect addition to the St Helens’ pack and could be key to any further success achieved by the reigning Super League Champions.
1. Ryan Hall
Surprisingly, Ryan Hall’s return to Super League was welcomed with minimal expectations. The six-time Grand Final winner never got going in the NRL with sceptics asking if he was passed his best. How wrong they were. Super League’s top try scorer has 12 four-pointers to his name which is impressive enough but the fact they’ve come in just 10 appearances is even more so. This year he became only the second player to record 200 Super League tries and you’d expect more to come. The complete winger, he’s added an extra dimension to Hull KR this year.