It’s just over ten weeks till the opening game of Super League in 2024 and whilst teams such as Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors among others have done their business early, there’s still a handful of sides who are still recruiting.
Leeds rounded out their recruits with the signings of Andy Ackers and Brodie Croft in the off-season, whilst Wigan made the splash play to bring in NRL man Luke Thompson to replace the departing Morgan Smithies.
Other teams have recruited from the division below with Castleford Tigers taking advantage of their new coach Craig Lingard’s connections with Batley Bulldogs, the Tigers signing up ex-Warrington Wolves and former Batley man Samy Kibula.
There’s still plenty of signings to make though with these five teams all likely to make further moves in the market.
Saints are an obvious one when it comes to recruitment, after all the club have specifically left open a vacant starting shirt number highlighting exactly what and where there need is. The Red Vee released Will Hopoate at the end of the 2023 campaign, the Tongan then opting to retire after the series against England, and Saints have now left Hoppa’s number three shirt vacant when confirming their playing squad. In a statement the club have also confirmed that the search is both domestic and down under, so we could be set to see a big name sign for the Red Vee.
The Tigers might have made a handful of signings under new coach Craig Lingard but there’s one name they’ve been linked with that has to be officially announced as putting pen to paper. That man is ex-Hull KR second-rower Luis Johnson who spent time on loan at the Jungle in 2023 and could be set for a return. Images of the forward training with the Tigers have circulated online but as yet there hasn’t been an announcement of a deal, something that could potentially come soon.
The Leopards have done incredibly well in retaining their talent from last season with a huge majority of the Challenge Cup winning squad remaining. They’ve also made plenty of signings including Huddersfield Giants forward Owen Trout who will add plenty to their pack, whilst Ben Reynolds has been replaced with ex-Australian international Matt Moylan. That was a major coup for the Leopards but club owner Derek Beaumont has suggested the team are in for another big splash signing. Speaking about the club’s IMG grade on their Youtube channel he let slip: “I could have saved that money… likewise the one more player that we’re looking to bring in.” It’s unclear where the Leopards want to recruit but they’re a team to look out for.
The Dragons went all the way to the Grand Final in 2023 but that squad has been broken up massively with ten departures including key men such as Sam Tomkins, Mitchell Pearce, Adam Keighran and Tyrone May. Much of the Dragons spine has been decimated with just Theo Fages coming in as cover so far. With one quota spot available it would seem likely that Steve McNamara’s men look to add starting quality to their spine, or possibly bring in a centre to replace the impressive Adam Keighran.
The Broncos shocked the Championship when they stormed through the play-offs, beating Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers and Toulouse Olympique all on the road. It was an incredible achievement for Mike Eccles side but they now face the battle of building a Super League quality side. Much of the Broncos’ policy so far has been around retainment but with vacant quota spots they will likely be dipping into the market to sign some overseas talent. It’s been reported by the Mole of Wide World of Sports that unwanted Manly hooker Karl Lawton is set to sign with the club, an impressive coup for the Broncos.
The Black and Whites have made some impressive signings for the new season such as Franklin Pele and Herman Ese’ese. Meanwhile, they have signed New Zealand and Samoan international Fa’amanu Brown who made his name at Featherstone Rovers. But the club have been open about wanting an outside back for next year and this has yet to be done.