Top Six Super League signings

Top Six Super League signings

Super League’s biggest signings for 2020 have been confirmed. This includes box office names like Sonny Bill Williams to world-class players like Gareth Widdop. These signings proved that the competition has incredible potential. So the below list of the Top Six Betfred Super League signings.

They will be arriving in Super League when the new season begins. The 2020 Super League competition is a 12 team league consisting of teams from England, France, and Canada.

Top Six biggest Super League signings of 2020

Gareth Widdop – Warrington Wolves

Gareth Widdop, a player signed by the Warrington Wolves heading into the 2020 season. He is widely considered one of England’s best penalty kickers in the game and played in the National Rugby League (NRL) from 2010-2019.

This Englishmen has won the NRL Premiership in 2012 and the World Club Challenge in 2013. He has also won the NRL Minor Premiers in 2011 and was the runner-up of England’s national rugby league team in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

He has scored 91 points for the Melbourne Storm from 2010-2013 and has scored 918 points from 2013-2019 for St. George Illawarra of the NRL. He will make an impact for the Warrington Wolves and give Warrington a boost in the upcoming Super League season.

The Warrington Wolves played well last season as they made it to the Super League playoffs. More importantly, they won the Challenge Cup last year at Wembley. They will feel confident that they can push for a Super League trophy.

Another team looking to make a statement is the Wigan Warriors, who signed George Burgess for the upcoming season.

George Burgess – Wigan Warriors

George Burgess is known to be a very fast player who plays hard defensively. He is another Englishmen who played for South Sydney from 2012-2019 and scored 52 points with them. According to Hull Live of Hull Sports, he brings a lot to his team:

“Burgess is a real handful when he carries the ball. his leg speed into contact and his leg drive after contact being his major positives.”

He has played for the English national rugby league team from 2013-2018. The Wigan Warriors finished 3rd place in the Super League playoffs. They were eliminated by the runner-up Salford Red Devils. However, Hull FC will not be outdone by Wigan and Warrington as they also signed a high-profile signing for Super League.

Mahe Fonua – Hull FC

The first non-Englishmen on this list. The newly signed Hull FC player comes back after two years in the NRL. According to Hull Sports, this is what he will bring the team:

“Big, strong, aggressive in everything he does. Hits hard. Carries hard. Makes metre after metre pre and post-contact.”

Last time he played for Hull FC he made a big impact scoring 124 points in 58 games played from 2016-2017.

They are not the only team in Hull to sign a high-quality player. According to HullLive, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, a Grand Final with the Sydney Roosters in 2013 is coming to the Hull Kingston Rovers.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall – Hull Kingston Rovers

Former New Zealand outside back Shaun Kenny-Dowall (see main image) will make his first appearance in Super League next year. He has played over 10 years in the NRL. Most of his career was spent with the Sydney Roosters where he had 498 points in 226 games from 2007-2017. He also played for the Newcastle Knights for the NRL from 2017-2019. According to Hull Live, Shaun Kenny-Dowall will bring a lot of excitement to English rugby league fans:

“A Grand Final winner with Sydney Roosters in 2013 and a key player in a successful New Zealand team, Kenny-Dowall is a household name and his arrival will create a buzz.”

Hull KR will need all their players they can get for the upcoming season. Last year, Hull KR was almost relegated. They had the same number of points as the London Broncos at the bottom of the table. Fortunately for Hull KR, their point differential was better than the London Broncos, therefore avoiding relegation to the Championship.

They will be hoping to boost their chances of staying at the top-flight, especially with the Toronto Wolfpack being promoted to Super League.

Sonny Bill Williams – Toronto Wolfpack

This is arguably the biggest signing in the Super League off-season heading to the 2020 Rugby League season. The newly promoted Toronto Wolfpack signs All-Blacks legend Sonny Bill Williams into Super League. The two-time Rugby World Cup Champions has many accolades to his name in both rugby league and rugby union.

Specifically, for the rugby league, he won the NRL title for the Canterbury Bulldogs where he had 124 points in 73 appearances from 2004-2008. He was also a loyal servant for the New Zealand Kiwis. He was a member of the Kiwis from 2004-2013.

Big value off-field in acquiring Sonny Bill Williams two-year deal
Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand passes the ball during the New Zealand Rugby League World Cup training session at Headingley Stadium on November 14, 2013 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

His last year in rugby league was with the Sydney Roosters for the 2013/14 seasons, before going back to rugby union. While with the club, they won four trophies including the NRL Premiership in 2013 and the World Club Challenge in 2014. His record, and the enthusiasm and inspiration that Sonny Bill will promote, are sure to see both sides of the Atlantic, look up in envy.

Two of the three nations in the Super League has been covered in this article. The last notable player will come from the French-based Super League Team, the Catalan Dragons.

James Maloney – the little General

James Maloney has played professionally from 2009-2019 at the NRL in both Australia and New Zealand. He has won two NRL Premierships, one with the Sydney Roosters (2013) and the other with the Cronulla Sharks.

Hull Live describes him as a ‘tough player’ that;

“Defends well, aggressively and technically very good when he makes contacts.”

A great ball distributor and kicker, Maloney had a hand in the New Zealand Warriors enjoying a degree of success. And his time with the Penrith Panthers also saw the ‘little General’ lauded for his game management.

James Maloney
James Maloney of the Panthers in action during the round 22 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Maloney will provide the 2018 Challenge Cup winners with needed toughness for the Catalan Dragons. They will be looking to break out of the middle table next year.

2020 promises to be a great year for Super League. For the first time in its history, three nations will participate to try to win silverware at Old Trafford, in the Betfred Super League grand final [scheduled for Saturday, October 10].

Super League signings point to bright future

The start of the decade will begin with 12 teams from three countries. This will also be the first time a topflight team is from the Americas – adding a wider audience, to the already popular competition.

The number of teams from Super League has been reduced down from 14 teams, that there were at the start of the decade in 2010. Many teams relegated from Super League to Championship had suffered financial difficulties. For example, teams like the Bradford Bulls and the London Broncos had financial trouble after being relegated from Super League in 2014.

They are not the only ones. Lots of teams that were relegated from Super League have experienced financial woes like the Widnes Vikings. However, there is hope that teams in International cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and possibly New York can help increase the interest of rugby league in Canada. Super League could have more trans-Atlantic teams by the end of the next decade.

So the future looks bright for Super League, and the game as a whole.

This could also be a turning point for Super League. This is because they will be looking at a new broadcasting deal for 2022. They have been with Sky Sports since 1995, although the future provider could be a surprise; with streaming services advancing in their programming and selections.

It will also be interesting if any of the above, impactful players listed can win a championship in 2020. A lot of these players come from the National Rugby League (NRL). The NRL is considered by many as the best rugby league in the world but, when they hit the field during the Super League season, most will surely admit that this is now a world-class competition.

There is plenty to look forward to, as Last Word on Rugby continues our coverage of rugby league, and follows the 2020 Betfred Super League season beginning Thursday, January 30.

 

“Main photo credit”
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