With the buzz of the new season comes the buzz of seeing some new faces in your club’s colours. We take a look at six of the best domestic signings ahead of Super League 2012.
Tackle 1: Leon Pryce (St Helens to Catalan)
Pryce, one of the most decorated players in Super League history, becomes the first Englishman to turn out for Catalan, now in their seventh season in the competition. The former Bradford man has suffered a couple of injury hit seasons, and will be hoping to prolong what has been a largely successful career in the south of France. Now 29, Pryce has signed a three-year deal with the Dragons, and has been handed the number three jersey, with him likely to play outside of first choice half-back pair Scott Dureau and Thomas Bosc.
Tackle 2: Stefan Ratchford (Salford to Warrington)
For the second time in three years, Warrington were able to lure Salford’s best talent to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, fighting off much competition for the capture of Stefan Ratchford. The 23-year-old stand-off hooks up once again with Richie Myler, and Tony Smith will be looking for Ratchford to be the long term successor to Lee Briers, currently in the twilight of his career. The Wolves will be hoping that more quality depth in the halves will enable them to challenge for Grand Final glory, with a pair of youngsters now at their disposal who could quite easily become the first choice international pairing for England.
Tackle 3: Michael Witt (Crusaders to London)
One of the players most affected by the Crusaders debacle was Michael Witt, who signed a three year deal just weeks before the sensational withdrawal of the Welsh club from Super League. He was in fine form in the first half of the 2010 season, before a knee injury cut short a campaign during which he could have been one of the star players. He impressed once again in 2011 after recovering from the knock, and London Broncos moved quickly to secure his signature for 2012 and beyond. The former rugby union player, who boasts NRL experience for Parramatta, Manly and NZ Warriors, is in the peak of his career at 28, and will form a mouth-watering half-back pairing with Craig Gower at Twickenham Stoop.
Tackle 4: Andy Lynch (Bradford to Hull)
Lynch ended 2011 as the captain of Bradford, and will start 2012 as captain of Hull after making the move to East Yorkshire in the winter. The 32-year-old became Hull’s first signing under new owner Adam Pearson, moving for an undisclosed fee, having still been under contract at Odsal. He has already made an impact in pre-season training under new coach Peter Gentle, and will be looking to lead from the front in Hull’s new look squad. He becomes Hull’s third captain in as many seasons, taking over from Craig Fitzgibbon, who retired at the end of the season.
Tackle 5: Luke Gale (London to Bradford)
Gale was one of the bright spots of a difficult 2011 for Harlequins, who started the season like a house on fire, but soon faded away. The 23-year-old half-back has rebuilt his career in the capital, via Doncaster, having been cut by Leeds as a youngster, and he made it in to the England Knights squad at the end of the season. Bradford themselves had a disappointing 2011, and they will be hoping that Gale’s enthusiasm and pace can add a new dimension to their play. The 2008 National League 2 Player of the Year has signed a two-year deal at Odsal.
Tackle 6: Scott Moore (St Helens to Widnes)
Although the Vikings haven’t made much of a big name signing, their capture of Moore from St Helens has gone somewhat understated. Moore, who was the youngest ever player in Super League when he made his debut aged just 16, has been a regular in the St Helens squad in recent seasons, playing in their Grand Final defeat to Leeds in October. He made his breakthrough during loan spells at Castleford and Huddersfield in 2008 and 2009, which enabled him to break in to the international set up. Having played second fiddle to Keiron Cunningham and then James Roby at Saints, Moore will be the first choice number nine at Widnes.