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Three NRL players Hull FC can sign to replace Nu Brown

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As part of a crazy couple of weeks for Hull FC, star Nu Brown was released early from his contract, and the playmaker has already found a new home.

St. George Illawarra Dragons announced today that they’ve signed him until the end of the season.

In a club statement, they also confirmed that his contract includes a club option for the 2025 season.

Head coach Tony Smith and fullback / stand-off Tex Hoy also departed the club, while Richie Myler, fresh out of retirement as a player, has been appointed as the new Director of Rugby.

Chairman Adam Pearson has stated that the Director of Rugby will have the role of identifying “the next coach and indeed some interim players for us for this year”.

Three NRL players Hull FC can sign to replace Nu Brown

Jackson Hastings – Newcastle Knights

Jackson Hastings, playing for Wigan Warriors, breaks through Hull FC players.

Credit: Imago Images

The 28-year-old enjoyed an excellent spell in Super League, winning Man of Steel in 2019 as a Salford player, whilst also playing in back-to-back Grand Finals, for Salford and Wigan Warriors, losing both to St Helens.

Hastings chose not to train with the reserve team following being dropped by head coach Adam O’Brien for NRL Round Three.

In his absence, Jack Cogger replaced him and Newcastle got their first win of the season.

Speculation ran rampant when he was dropped, with many suggesting a return to Super League could be on the cards, and that he must be incredibly unhappy at the club.

However, he has been recalled to the Knights squad in recent weeks.

Despite this, the Knights clearly have other options in the halves, meaning it could be easier for Hull FC to pry him away from the NRL side.

Having released two big names, they may also be able to pay the presumably high wages he’d ask for.

If he’s as unhappy as some people suggest, he could see this as a way back towards signing for one of the Super League’s elite.

Zach Dockar-Clay – Sydney Roosters

The hooker is out-of-contract at the end of this year, having signed for Sydney Roosters in a one-year move for the 2024 season.

He had a stellar 2023 season with North Sydney in the NSW Cup, as his side claimed the Minor Premiership and narrowly lost the Grand Final, as Dockar-Clay captained his side in a 22-18 defeat to South Sydney.

The 28-year-old has struggled for game time with the Roosters this year, making his debut in Round Six, coming on from the bench against Newcastle Knights in a tight victory.

He did, however, make 14 NRL appearances in 2022 with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

Dockar-Clay also has experience playing in the UK, as he played for Hull KR in 2017 in the Championship, making 17 appearances and scoring six tries as the Robins finished top of the table and achieved promotion to Super League.

This shows that he’s willing to travel over to the Northern Hemisphere, and as he’s struggling for game time in what should be the peak of his career, this could be a move he’s interested in.

If all parties believed this to be a beneficial move, the contract could be terminated early.

Chad Townsend – North Queensland Cowboys

Chad Townsend passes the ball while playing against Sydney Roosters in the NRL.

Credit: Imago Images

The 2016 NRL champion is the tenth-highest points scorer in Cronulla Sharks history, and was a key member of the side that secured their maiden Premiership trophy.

He was linked with a move to Super League last year, and after recently recording a new career-high top speed, the 33-year-old still seems to be in great shape.

Speaking to the Australian Daily Telegraph last month, the half-back spoke openly about his future, as he’s without a contract beyond the end of this year.

“I don’t have any plans at the moment. I’m taking it day by day,” he said.

“I still feel really good physically and mentally. At this stage, I think I want to play on.

“It’s going to be circumstantial. It will all play out. I’m not really stressed or worried about what’s going to happen.

“If there’s an opportunity that suits me and my family I’ll take it. If it’s not there then so be it.”

Indeed, a move to Hull FC could be that opportunity for Townsend, who may look to finally make the move from Down Under in the twilight of his career.

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