Championship players looking to take their Super League chances in 2023

Championship stars

Several Championship stars will be looking to make their marks during the 2023 Super League season.

More notably than others, Leeds head coach Rohan Smith has promoted from within the English game ahead of the 2023 campaign, adding players to his squad from both the Championship and League 1.

Wales international Luis Roberts and Papua New Guinea star Nene Macdonald both also make the move to Headingley from Leigh, who won promotion to Super League following an impressive 2022 campaign under Adrian Lam.

The likes of St Helens and Wakefield have also added to their squad from the Championship ahead of 2023.

Here’s a look at some of the players who will be hoping to impress next season.

Luke Hooley – Leeds

Luke Hooley Batley Bulldogs Super League. News Images

Luke Hooley makes the step up from Batley with Leeds on a two-year deal ahead of 2023. The full-back made 56 appearances for the Bulldogs across three seasons, scoring 30 tries and kicking a further 34 goals.

He was also a part of the side that defied the odds to reach the Championship Grand Final in 2022, but fell short 44-12 against Leigh for a spot in the top division.

Hooley, 24, has been an impressive figure in the Championship for several seasons now, having come through the ranks at Wakefield. The talented full-back worked under Leeds boss Smith at Bradford as a junior, before the club entered administration.

The Rhinos have also added teenager Toby Warren to their squad from York on a massive four-year deal. Leon Ruan also makes the move from Doncaster on a three-year contract.

Tee Ritson – St Helens

Tee Ritson Barrow Raiders SWpix Championship
Photo: John Clifton/SWpix

St Helens have made just two signings ahead of the 2023 campaign – including Barrow’s Tee Ritson.

The 26-year-old joins initially on a season-long loan, with an option to sign on a a permanent deal. He follows in the footsteps of the likes of Alex Walmsley and Joe Batchelor to join St Helens from the Championship, with both of those having gone on to represent England on the international stage.

2022 was Ritson’s best season to date, scoring 33 tries in 31 games, helping Barrow secure a spot in the Championship play-offs in just their first season back in the second division following their promotion in 2021.

He has scored a total of 70 tries in 73 appearances for his hometown club across the last four seasons.

READ: Shrewd Tee Ritson move is best Championship club can hope for

Morgan Smith – Wakefield

Morgan Smith Featherstone Rovers SWpix
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

24-year-old Morgan Smith joins Wakefield on a two-year deal from Featherstone Rovers, and has featured in the top division before.

The half-back has played for both London Broncos and Warrington, where he made his Super League debut against Wakefield in 2016.

His career has since taken him to York in 2021 before an impressive individual season with Featherstone, scoring 22 tries in 30 appearances in 2022.

Wakefield have given him the chance to once again prove himself in Super League, but he will have competition with Mason Lino and Lee Gaskell for a starting spot in the halves in 2023.

Edwin Ipape – Leigh

Edwin Ipape Leigh Centurions SWpix
Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

Leigh themselves will have several players looking to make their marks following their promotion, including Championship’s Player of the Year Edwin Ipape.

The hooker impressed during his debut season in England, and went on represent Papua New Guinea at the delayed 2021 World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals. He was later named in the Men’s Team of the Tournament.

Ipape, a former PNG Hunters player, scored 23 tries in 27 appearances in 2022 and was quickly snapped up to a new three-year deal by the Leigh Sports Village side.

The likes of dual-international John Asiata and former Canberra Raiders forward Kai O’Donnell will also be hoping to impress in the top division with the newly-rebranded Leopards.

Meanwhile, Nathan Wilde joins the club for the 2023 campaign from Newcastle Thunder and will be hoping to earn a spot in the match day 17.

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About Josh McAllister 2273 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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