Six Tackles: Overseas signings to watch in Championship in 2018

Drew Darbyshire

There are several overseas signings to look forward to watching in the Betfred Championship this year.

Kurt Baptiste (Leigh Centurions)

The 26-year-old is a major coup for Neil Jukes’ Leigh side this year. Baptiste has already made over 60 appearances in the NRL for Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders respectively.

He was linked with moving to Warrington Wolves but the Centurions have secured his signature for 2018. He was a key player for Papua New Guinea at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, featuring in all four of their games. The hooker is expected to have a big year.

Dean Parata (Barrow Raiders)

The 26-year-old has never made an appearance in the NRL but he has been in the youth ranks at Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels. He is a hard-working hooker who has a bit of flair in his locker.

Parata has earned seven caps for Italy and represented them in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. He was a shadow player for the Azzurri in 2017 and could help Barrow cause upsets against a couple of teams this term.

Eddy Pettybourne (Toulouse Olympique)

The 29-year-old front-rower spent a season with Wigan Warriors in Super League in 2014 and has previously played over 130 in the NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans respectively.

He has been USA Hawks’ star player in the previous two world cups and is a no-nonsense type forward. He is capable of doing a good job for a Super League club so Toulouse have got a good player on their hands.

Josh McCrone (Toronto Wolfpack)

The 30-year-old is, arguably, the most high-profile signing for the Championship this year. He scored 34 tries in 133 games for Canberra Raiders between 2009 and 2015 and also spent two years at St George Illawarra Dragons most recently.

He is a Country Origin representative as well. McCrone is a really good organiser and he will get the Wolfpack ticking in no time – he has a brilliant short kicking game, too. 

Hayden Hansen (Swinton Lions)

The 23-year-old hooker or loose forward comes with a good reputation from Queensland Cup side Redcliffe Dolphins, who he captained for a number of years.

He has a quick burst of pace and has got a good eye for the try-line. He is a fine player and will no doubt prove his worth to Swinton this year. He is a great talker as well and will be looking to have a good year at Heywood Road.

Bodene Thompson (Leigh Centurions)

The 29-year-old has been a star in the NRL since 2009. The Kiwi played 49 games for Gold Coast Titans, 36 for West Tigers and 58 for New Zealand Warriors, scoring a total of 34 tries.

He can play at second-row, loose forward or in the centres so his versatility will help coach Jukes out in 2018. He is an explosive player who loves a big hit – Centurions fans should certainly look forward to seeing him at his best.

Are there any overseas signings that we have missed out? Let us know in the comments below.