The four Super League players from 2023 still off-contract as New Year approaches

Ben Olawumi
Lee Kershaw scores against Leigh

Lee Kershaw breaks away to score against Leigh Leopards in Round 26 - Alamy

With pre-season training – and in some instances friendlies – now underway, there are still four free agents knocking about from Super League in 2023 as we approach the New Year.

These players have either been released by the club they played for in the season just gone and remain unattached, or are still to have their future confirmed with that same club as an off-contract ace.

Below, we’ve taken a look at all four, in alphabetical order by surname…

Daniel Hill

21-year-old Hill joined St Helens from Widnes Vikings ahead of the 2022 campaign on a two-year deal.

In his first season at the Totally Wicked Stadium, the young gun made two senior appearances, with both coming against Castleford Tigers.

Saints chief Paul Wellens however didn’t feel the need to call upon him in the season just gone though, with the closest Hill came to a first-team run-out being named as the 18th man against Warrington Wolves back in April.

Limited to a handful of loan appearances between League 1 outfit North Wales Crusaders & Championship side Swinton Lions, he was one of 11 to depart the Red V at the end of the campaign with his contract expiring, and no move has been announced since. Notably, Hill is studying a Sports Fitness and Coaching degree with the Open University.

Lee Kershaw

Of the five on this list, winger Kershaw has been – without a doubt – the most hotly talked about on the back of Wakefield’s relegation. Though Trinity didn’t confirm his departure, the player himself has openly detailed his desire to remain in Super League for 2024.

The 24-year-old has been training with Leeds Rhinos in pre-season, but admitted in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post that a contract looks unlikely unless someone else moves on from Headingley.

Love Rugby League exclusively revealed interest in Kershaw – who grabbed seven tries for a struggling Wakefield side this year – from newly-promoted London Broncos, though nothing has come of that to this point.

Aside from Trinity, Kershaw’s only other club to this point in his career were Oldham, enjoying three separate loan stints with the Roughyeds.

Ilikaya Mafi

Youngster Mafi was among the first of Castleford‘s confirmed departures, with his exit – alongside that of four others – announced in mid-September.

Originally favouring rugby union, the loose forward was picked up by the Tigers from Hull FC back in December, with the club holding an option in their favour to extend his contract for the 2024 season.

Evidently, they didn’t wish to do so, with the 20-year-old leaving the Jungle without ever making a senior competitive appearance.

When he signed for Cas, he opted to take up a university course in sports coaching offered in partnership with the club’s foundation. No contract news has come on Mafi yet, with the possibility of a new venture into the coaching side of the game still on the cards.

Dane Windrow

Rounding the off-contract aces off is another youngster in Windrow, who debuted for Wakefield in their Challenge Cup defeat to eventual winners Leigh Leopards back in May, also named as an unused 18th man twice by Trinity this term.

Prior to this season, the 21-year-old had previously featured as a loanee in both the Championship and League 1 with Dewsbury Rams & Oldham.

He went on to feature for both Swinton & Newcastle Thunder this term, scoring a try for Thunder against Sheffield Eagles.

Like Kershaw, Wakefield have never actually confirmed his departure, but given that the Belle Vue outfit have announced the retention of other promising starlets, you’d imagine his time there is over. We now await to see where Windrow’s next destination will be.

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