Sam Tomkins dominated the rugby league headlines last year. The Wigan man had made it clear that he wanted to experience the NRL, but speculation was rife to where he would end up. Despite a last minute pitch from one Russell Crowe, Tomkins opted for the New Zealand Warriors, in what was a world record move.
The three players that seem the most likely to move will be competing for the three Super League title favourites, St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors. Casino and sports book 32Red have Saints as 2.78 favourites, Leeds at 2.98 and Wigan at 3.55 outsiders, and are currently offering £32 free for every £10 deposited, so you could make a tidy little profit if you pick wisely. The side that wins the Super League is most likely to garner the most unwanted attention.
Josh Charnley – Wigan Warriors
The rumour mill suggests that Charnley could be the biggest Super League export this summer. During Wigan’s recent venture Down Under for the World Club Challenge, the 22-year-old impressed numerous scouts. His two try showing against the Sydney Roosters was the only Wigan highlight in what was a torrid ordeal. Despite his decent on-pitch showings, it was his training sessions that have alerted NRL sides to his potential. The Warriors trained with numerous teams and many are reported to have had their heads turned by his performances. If the 2012 and 2013 Super League top try scorer can rack up the tries again this season, then it will be feeding time at the zoo. With the Warriors having a tie-in with the New Zealand Warriors, they could be the club that Charnley will turn to – allowing him to re-join his friend Sam Tomkins, but with other clubs also interested it’s going to be an interesting fight.
Zak Hardaker – Leeds Rhinos
The centre is locked in a contract dispute with the Rhinos and with his contract winding down he could be a very attractive prospect for NRL sides. The longer he’s in contractual limbo the easier a target he becomes for NRL sides. The 22-year-old has had some well-documented disciplinary problems, no more so than being thrown out of the England World Cup squad for boozing. Supposedly on his final warning with the Rhinos, he may feel a change of scenery will do him some good and get him away from the temptations he encounters in Leeds. What’s more, due to his disciplinary problems the Rhinos may let him go. Luckily for Hardaker, his pros heavily outweigh his cons and if his contract is not sorted out by May expect NRL teams to come sniffing.
James Roby – St. Helens
Although there has been no talk of a Roby move Down Under, it could be a possibility come summer. The one-time Man of Steel is currently celebrating his tenth year with St. Helens and may be looking for a new challenge. At 28-years-old Roby is entering the peak of his career and know’s that if he doesn’t move to the NRL soon he won’t get a chance again. What’s more if he guides his club to the Super League title, which they are on course to do, it would be a fitting send off for Roby. A move is more than plausible and if Roby decides the time is right expect a whole host of clubs competing for his signature.