There has been a flurry of new recruits switching NRL teams in the off-season but who will be the pick of the bunch in 2022?
Some high-profile players have joined new teams like Broncos duo Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capewell, Bulldogs signings Josh Addo-Carr, Tevita Pangai jnr and Matt Burton, and veteran Kiwi international Shaun Johnson heading back to the Warriors.
And there has also been a range of under-the-radar moves which could make a massive difference as the season goes on.
Each week, The Roar will put a burning issue to our experts to get their opinions on the main topics for the Greatest Game of All.
And you can also have your say on who will be the best recruit of 2022 in the comments section below.
Last week we asked the readers to rank each team’s finals chances out of 10 and after thousands of votes, there was plenty of support for the Roosters to challenge Penrith and Melbourne for the title while the Rabbitohs were tipped to slide after making last year’s grand final. The Bulldogs were likely to get the wooden spoon again with voters on average rating their finals chances a lowly 2.3 out of 10.
Kurt Capewell: He’s an experienced player who brings toughness to the Broncos pack as an edge back-rower. Capewell has shown his class at Origin level and in helping Penrith win the competition last year. His leadership will be crucial for Brisbane this season.
Adam Reynolds: Whoever at Souths mismanaged their salary cap to the extent that they could only offer Reynolds a one-year deal should be sitting in the corner with a dunce’s hat on. Smart clubs do long-term planning to ensure chief playmakers who kick goals at historic levels that are also your captain with 200-plus games at their junior club are retained. He’s just what Brisbane needed and his recruitment will accelerate their rise from the cellar.
Dane Gagai : Everyone has been talking about how much Adam Reynolds will be missed at the Bunnies – Souths not having Gagai is just as detrimental. His leadership, experience and guidance of the younger players around him was a huge factor in the Knights victory over the Roosters on Saturday. It’s wonderful to have him back in the red and blue, and he will prove to be one of the most valuable buys of the season.
Nick Meaney: He had a quiet start to the year playing at five-eighth for the Storm but the fact he was given the task of filling Cam Munster’s boots is significant in itself, showing the faith his new club already has in him. Meaney came into first grade at Newcastle behind Kalyn Ponga and then moved for better opportunities at a Bulldogs side that has struggled.
But the 24-year-old showed enough during these first 65 games that Craig Bellamy came calling, looking for someone to replace Nicho Hynes, and in the right system Meaney will flourish.
Matt Burton: Not only is he extremely talented but he is the sort of player that the Bulldogs can build their roster around for the next decade. He has new opportunity at the Bulldogs and I expect him to make a big impact this year.
Nicho Hynes: Last Friday evening Hynes weaved his magic against the Raiders and he nearly got them home. Not only did he guide the Sharks around the field extremely well, he was a constant danger running with ball in hand and his goal-kicking is an added bonus. In the second half the Raiders were lifting and had the Sharks pinned down their own end. Hynes kicked them out of trouble and it almost won the game. If there is a better purchase they’d want to be very good.
Nick Meaney: Melbourne have made an art form of taking guys that nobody else wanted and making them into superstars, which is exactly what they’re going to do with Meaney. What the Storm lost in Nicho Hynes was a guy they could play off the bench and cover a lot of positions, as well as kicking goals: in Meaney, they get a fullback, half, wing and centre that will likely feature in every game this year – probably split four ways into different roles in the team. He’s not on much money but Craig Bellamy will work wonders with him.
Josh Addo-Carr: When the Foxx left the Storm I thought he’d be living a lonely life out of the wing at Canterbury, but he brings so much more than speed and tries. Anyone who saw how he reacted on the weekend when he caught his teammates dawdling around at a restart understands he has brought a winner’s mentality with him and that’s just what the Dogs needed. He won’t necessarily be responsible for Canterbury performing miracles, but he’s definitely a shot in the arm for their club culture.
Moses Suli: Now at his third NRL club, Suli will be one of the most influential Dragons in 2022 and potentially the best recruit of the season. His powerhouse running was on clear display in Round 1 and after a patchy time at the Sea Eagles where he managed 64 games, but suffered with injury and poor discipline, the 23-year-old will be looking to grab this new opportunity with both hands. There is nothing subtle about the way he plays and should Anthony Griffin unlock the keys to channelling his talent into more polished and refined performances, Suli could well become one of the most dominant centres in the game.