With the Super League season coming to a close and just three games to go it means that the squad building for 2024 goes into full swing, as does the rumour mill, with the current talk being Salford Red Devils star Brodie Croft is destined for Leeds Rhinos.
The Rhinos certainly need help in their halves with the duo that started the 2023 season, Aiden Sezer and Blake Austin, both having departed Headingley.
Sezer has returned down under and will link up with Wests Tigers in 2024 whilst Blake Austin left under a cloud in a loan move to Castleford Tigers, with the Tigers not currently looking to sign him permanently.
Rohan Smith’s men of course have young Jack Sinfield on the books and the likes of Rhyse Martin, Corey Johnson and Morgan Gannon all operated in the halves at times in 2023 but the need for a definite star is glaring.
Leeds Live reported that the Rhinos had put down a six figure bid, around the £200,000 mark, for Croft whilst Serious About Rugby League understands it could be as much as £300,000.
In a salary cap sport it’s a monumental figure, but where would it rank all time among Super League moves if it came to fruition?
T9th – Joe Westerman (Hull FC to Warrington – 2015), Luke Gale (Castleford to Leeds – 2019) and Zak Hardaker (Leeds to Castleford – 2017)
Rounding off the back of the top ten are the trio of Westernamn, Gale and Hardaker who all made moves for fees of £150,000. Castleford’s punt on Hardaker took them to a Grand Final with the help of Luke Gale, who in turn found himself destined for Headingley. Westerman meanwhile swapped Humberside for Merseyside crossing the Pennines into Cheshire in his big money move.
8 – Ben Murdoch-Masila (Salford to Warrington – 2017)
Another example of Warrington splashing big cash to acquire a player and that was Tongan powerhouse Murdoch-Masila who won a Challenge Cup during his time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, but couldn’t help Wire land the elusive Super League title.
7 – Daryl Clark (Castleford to Warrington – 2014)
Clark left the Jungle almost a decade ago and he finally leaves Warrington now to head to St Helens, however during his time at Warrington he earned plenty of success but again never a Super League title. It would still be hard to argue that the £185,000 fee was wasted though given his longevity with the club.
6 – Martin Gleeson (St Helens to Warrington – 2005)
A trend of Warrington spending big continues with the Wolves shelling out £200,000 for Gleeson, a club record, but one that was justified with his debut season tally of 17 tries. Unfortunately he never landed silverware with the club, leaving before their 2009 Challenge Cup win however he did land a Grand Final at future club Wigan.
5: Brodie Croft (Salford to Leeds – 2023)
As reported by Leeds Live this could be the £200,000 deal that sends Super League into a frenzy right now, placing Croft as the fifth most expensive Super League man. Should that figure be closer to the £300,000 mark then he’s jump even higher on this list.
4: Paul Newlove (Bradford to St Helens – 1995)
Just prior to the first Super League season Saints splashed a quarter of a million pounds on Paul Newlove in a move highlighting the immense cash involved during the Super League war. He’d go on to win four titles with Saints and prove to be an incredible signing.
3: Iestyn Harris (Warrington to Leeds – 1997)
Another example of the major money thrown around during the era of the Super League war as Leeds secured Harris for a monster fee of £350,000. It was certainly money well spent though as the Welshman shone for Leeds, captaining the club, being named Man of Steel in 1998 and landing both the Challenge Cup and Grand Final. Moreover the Rhinos incredibly made a profit in his £1.5 million sale to rugby union.
2: Paul Sculthorpe (Warrington to St Helens – 1997)
The only man to win back to back Man of Steel titles comes second on the list, thus highlighting the justified fee paid for him, with Paul Sculthorpe’s move from Warrington to Saints costing a whopping £375,000. During his decade of service at Saints he won the lot, even skippering Great Britain during that time.
1: Stuart Fielden (Bradford to Wigan – 2006)
Fielden’s move to Wigan was that expensive, a fee of £450,000, that it ironically send the club over the salary cap and ended up costing them a points deduction in 2007. However it was a move that has to be heralded as a success with Wigan winning the Grand Final in 2010, their first since the maiden competition in 1998.