They say change is as good as a holiday and with only a bit over a month until the 2013 NRL season kicks off, I take a close look at six potential signings that could help carry your club to glory in September.
1. James Segeyaro
Cowboys football manager Peter Parr said the club had done “all they could” to extend James Segeyaro’s stint in North Queensland. However, Segeyaro had a “burning desire” to live in Sydney, which was the catalyst for him to instead sign a three-year deal with the Penrith Panthers.
Second-last finish in 2012, salary cap pressure, and no guarantee of a starting spot. Those were the circumstances Panthers recruit Segeyaro knows full well as the club continues to completely restructure how it operates.
The livewire No.9 said he believed both he and the western Sydney club had a “bright future.”
An energetic young player with a great deal of potential, Segeyaro, who has had his off-field issues, will need to focus on the job at hand if he is going to make the most of this opportunity. Coach Ivan Cleary and CEO Phil Gould have stamped their authority on a club that seemingly lacked the discipline needed to take their football to the next level.
Dangerous from dummy-half and strong in defence, Segeyaro will add another dimension to the Panthers attack in 2013.
2. James Maloney
The Sydney Roosters beat off six other clubs to sign red-hot Warriors playmaker James Maloney on a three-year-deal.
Maloney replaces Braith Anasta at five eighth for the tricolours with Anasta joining the Wests Tigers and one can’t help but feel the club’s decision to recruit Maloney is a masterstroke.
An established playmaker in the prime of his career at 26 years of age, it has been a case of being out of sight and out of mind at the Warriors as the reason why he hasn’t yet had a taste of State of Origin.
Instrumental in the Warriors’ 2011 charge to the grand final, in which proved to be a breakthrough year for Maloney, I have him taking his game to the next level at the Roosters, forming a strong, long-term partnership in the halves with Mitchell Pearce.
3 and 4. Jeff Lima (Wigan) Ben Te’o (Broncos)
With just 26 players used in 2012, South Sydney enjoyed a pretty decent run when it came to injuries, although it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Rabbitohs in 2013.
Suffering up front for a large chunk of the season, both Roy Asotasi (missed 15 games) and Scott Geddes (played only 12 games – now retired) left the Rabbitohs short of troops. Add a lack of finals experience and the Rabbitohs season came to a disappointing end.
Welcome Jeff Lima and Ben Te’o.
The club has taken some big strides forward in recent years and these two signings will only enhance that.
Lima will return to the NRL following a successful stint with English Super League giants Wigan where he won the 2011 Challenge Cup under the guidance of now Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire. Te’o, previously from West Tigers and Brisbane will replace departing second-rower David Taylor.
Although Taylor left his mark, Te’o is the disciplined type of player coach Maguire is looking for.
Lima in particular has been a very consistent performer right throughout his career and will bring a wealth of experience to the club next season, while Te’o will add a running game on the fringes of the Rabbitohs pack already boasting some talented juniors.
5. Braith Anasta
Clubs buy players for various players. The decision from the Roosters to not re-sign Anasta and the Tigers decision to recruit him is a shrewd one from both parties.
Having tried nine different halves pairings and four different fullbacks on the way to missing the finals last season, the signing of Anasta will alleviate some of the pressure that is continually thrust upon Marshall and Farah whenever the Tigers aren’t performing.
Having authority, a good kicking game and as an added ball player, Anasta will bring experience to the spine.
Anasta is held in very high regard for his leadership at the Roosters – both on and off the field. After the horror 2009 season in which the Rooters were constantly in the headlines for the wrong reasons, he took it upon himself to restore the reputation of the club by setting standards for player behaviour.
His leadership, professionalism and knowledge of the game will be invaluable to the West Tigers in 2013.
6. Scott Prince
The Broncos confirmed the signing of former Gold Coast skipper Scott Prince on a two-year contract late last year, ensuring the 32-year-old halfback will end his NRL career in Queensland.
Surprised? Not at all. A good buy from a club who lacked leadership and direction throughout the 2012 season.
Peter Wallace, the current no. 7 and Corey Norman, who played most of the 2012 season at five-eighth struggled to lead an inconsistent Broncos outfit at times.
Arriving at Red Hill earlier this month knowing he’d have to earn a place in coach Anthony Griffin’s squad next season, Prince is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“Who would have thought? I’m very happy to be given this opportunity by the Broncos. I’m looking forward to getting back on the horse and proving myself again,” Prince said.
Despite Prince’s eagerness to impress, coach Anthony Griffin wasted no time in reminding him that he would have to work hard to secure a starting spot in the Broncos halves this season.
“(To get a start) Scott will have to be better than the guys we’ve got here.”
“My job is to make our club a bit stronger, and I think, by bringing Scott Prince here, that will help,” he said.
Whilst Griffin has guaranteed nothing for the former international, I expect to see Prince running out for the Broncos come round one.