Ranking the 7 best Super League swap deals in history

Aaron Bower
Micky Higham, Terry Newton

Micky Higham (left) & Terry Newton (right)

It’s been a busy few weeks in the transfer market in Super League – including two very notable swap deals.

First up, Corey Hall and Louis Senior went to Castleford, with Jack Broadbent heading in the opposite direction to Hull KR. Then more recently, Jack Brown and Yusuf Aydin swapped clubs, with Brown joining the Robins, and Aydin joining Hull FC, both on permanent deals.

That got us thinking about some of the best swap deals we’ve ever seen in Super League. There are some iconic ones to choose from.. here’s our top seven.

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7. Joe Greenwood for Zeb Taia – 2017

Joe Greenwood Gold Coast Titans Alamy

We start with a move that saw Greenwood swap St Helens for the NRL, as he got a move to the Gold Coast Titans. In return, the Saints got Taia, who certainly proved his worth during his time in Super League, winning two Grand Finals under Justin Holbrook before announcing his retirement.

6. Zak Hardaker for James Segeyaro – 2016

Zak Hardaker, James Segeyaro
Zak Hardaker (left) & James Segeyaro (right)

One of the more unusual, unexpected swap deals saw Hardaker request a release from Leeds Rhinos and head to NRL side Penrith Panthers. It was a short-lived stint in Australia: while hooker Segeyaro came the other way.

His spell at Headingley wasn’t too eventful either, it’s fair to say.

5. Sam Halsall & Jack Bibby for Jake Wardle – 2023

Sam Halsall, Jack Bibby, Jake Wardle
From left to right: Sam Halsall, Jack Bibby (picture credit: Huddersfield Giants) & Jake Wardle

It’s safe to say Wigan did well out of this swap deal. They picked up Wardle in a move that sent two Wigan academy graduates in Halsall and Bibby to West Yorkshire. Wardle hasn’t done too bad: winning man of the match in last year’s Grand Final, scoring in the World Club Challenge.. and becoming one of the best centres in Super League in the process.

Halsall has also just signed a new long-term deal with Huddersfield, showing they did well out of this deal, too.

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4. Elliot Wallis for Innes Senior – 2024

Innes Senior Castleford Tigers Alamy

This is a deal that’s only just happened – but goodness, it’s already looking like it’s going to be one of the very best in this particular category.

Wallis has nudged out Jake Bibby on the wing at Huddersfield this season and has seriously excelled under Ian Watson – while Senior is quietly establishing a reputation as one of Super League’s best wingers this year despite the struggles of Castleford at the bottom of the table.

3. Paul McShane for Scott Moore – 2015

Paul McShane on team-mate Rob Burrow
Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com

We’re now heading into the territory of iconic swap deals that yielded huge rewards for both clubs and the respective players.

The top three begins with a deal between Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers that saw Moore go to Trinity and McShane go the other way. Moore scored the iconic try in the Million Pound Game of 2015 that kept Wakefield in Super League – while McShane is still at Castleford to this day and is one of their finest servants of recent times.

A deal well done, we’d say.

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2. Micky Higham for Terry Newton – 2005

Micky Higham, Terry Newton
Micky Higham (left) & Terry Newton (right)

This ranks highly for a couple of reasons: one for the success the two players enjoyed, but also for the backstory behind the deal itself.

St Helens refused to sell Higham to local rivals Wigan Warriors so Bradford duly obliged and stepped in and completed the transfer for a fee reported to be around £70,000. The catch? They actually wanted Wigan hooker Newton, so the Bulls signed Higham and promptly swapped him for Newton, bringing the latter to Odsal and sending the other back over the Pennines to Wigan!

1. Sonny Nickle, Paul Loughlin & Bernard Dwyer for Paul Newlove – 1995

Has there ever been a Super League swap deal that’s both been as famous and yielded such fruitful rewards for both clubs? We would argue not.

Bradford certainly got a fair deal from their end of proceedings: £250,000 cash plus Nickle, Dwyer and Loughlin – three players who had a huge impact in their 1997 Super League title triumph. And the Saints didn’t do too bad either; getting one of the finest centres of his generation in return in the shape of Newlove. It’s our pick as the standout!

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