Our thanks to Andrew Ferguson for his 2014 piece recounting the story of Edward Larkin, who among ot...
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Today, a summary of player movements so far for the other six Superleague clubs, as well as relegated Castleford for good measure. Remember, for all the latest signing details as they happen, see the forum thread maintained by "Evil Homer" by clikcing "here".
Huddersfield ? Jon Skandalis, Shane Elford, Jamaal Lolesi, Darrell Griffith The Challenge Cup finalists will be looking to improve their league performance next season, after being a few wins off the play-off pace. The Giants have recruited heavily from Wests Tigers, signing three players who they hope will replace the loss of imports Michael Devere and Albert Torrens. Coach Jon Sharp has also attracted Wakefield forward Darrell Griffith to Galpharm Stadium and formalised the signing of young Wigan loanee Kevin Brown. Wayne MacDonald has been released, and Bolu Fagbourn will play in the National Leagues. Huddersfield have a handy bunch of players on paper including Great Britain squad members Martin Aspinwall and Stephen Wild and England rep Eorl Crabtree, but for them consistency will be the key.
Wigan ? Trent Barrett, Phil Bailey Great Britain coach Brian Noble gets his hands on the once great club for a full season, and has wasted no time bringing former Australian representatives Trent Barrett and Phil Bailey to the JJB Stadium. There was a great deal of personnel change at Wigan this season, with the club using 37 players. Not surprisingly there have been a few players lost as the club tries to trim down, most notably half Michael Dobson and prop Scott Logan returning to Australia, retiring winger Brett Dallas and prop Jerry Seu Seu, along with Danny Orr, Danny Tickle, Wayne Godwin and Chris Mellings all heading to other clubs. With international players Stuart Fielden, Mickey Higham, and Sean O?Loughlin the Warriors will be looking to a better start next season than they had this year, with a top six finish the goal.
Wakefield ? Danny Sculthorpe, Waine Pryce, Paul March, Jason Golden After a great escape from relegation during coach John Kear?s two month reign, The Wildcats would be looking to get as far above the danger zone as they can next season. They have signed a few players from their relegation-bound neighbours, in prop Danny Sculthorpe for three years and winger Waine Pryce for one year. Paul March from Huddersfield and Jason Golden from Leeds academy will also be heading to Atlantic Solutions Stadium next year, as well as players from National League clubs Leigh Centurions and Leeds Rhinos feeder team York City Knights. They may need every bit of help they can get, as they have losing some of their forward depth as Michael Korkidas, Darrell Griffin, and possibly David Solomona to other clubs. A lot will fall on the shoulders of Wakefield?s England rep Jamie Rooney to try and keep his side be competitive in big matches.
Les Catalans - Adam Mogg, Jason Croker, Casey McGuire, David Ferriol, S?bastien Raguin, Clint Greenshields, Aaron Gorrell A lot of movement at the French club following their debut season, and the Dragons would dearly love to set the bar a little higher and improve their position on next season?s table. Coach Mick Potter gets his hands on the recruitment, which has seen French international forwards Sebastien Raguin and David Ferriol join the Perpignan-based club, while international back Julien Rinaldi leaves to play for Harlequins and Pascal Jampy and Laurent Frayssinous have both retired. Former Australian international Jason Croker and State of Origin player Adam Mogg join from Canberra, utility back Clint Greenshields and hooker Aaron Gorrell join from St George-Illawarra, and Casey Maguire joins from Brisbane. Les Catalans have lost imports Ian Hindmarsh and Chris Beattie back to the NRL, while Sean Rudder was released and Mark Hughes along with Teddy Sadaoui, Renaud Gaige, Aurelien Cologni and Bruno Verges all step down to play in the French competition. With a new home Stadium due to open spirits could be lifted in the south of France, and Catalans showed that on occasion they can rise and beat some of their more-fancied opposition.
Hull Kingston Rovers - Pat Weisner, Jim Gannon, Mark O'Neill The pride of East Hull won promotion to Sueprleague in their win over Widnes Vikings in their National League Grand Final, and coach Justin Morgan has had to get cracking to help the club beat the odds and rise to the standard where they?re a chance of avoid relegation. The Rovers have released five players from their successful squad, in the hope of welcoming between 10 or 12 new signings for next year?s campaign. First to come are forwards Mark O?Neill from Leeds and Jim Gannon from Huddersfield both looking for a new start by the Humber, along with Harlequins utility Pat Weisner. Understandably at the moment Hull KR are being rumoured to be chasing every possible player that might be available, the latest rumour being that former Australian prop Michael Vella is set to request a release and sign on at Craven Park. It will be a hard season ahead for KR, but the excitement of East v West derbies with Hull FC in the top flite will be worth the pain of battling to finish above at least two clubs next season.
St Helens ? Matt Gidley Superleague?s most successful team and reigning Champions are well positioned to enter next season with hopes of repeating their success in League, Cup and Play-Offs. With strong depth and talent academy players under development, the Saints only signing so far is Newcastle and former Australian centre Matt Gidley, in a direct replacement for Manly-bound and Australian selected Jamie Lyon. Knowsley Road regulars will no longer see the retired prop Paul Anderson, nor will they see departing Vinnie Anderson who was unable to crack the top 17 for the biggest matches this season. Coach Daniel Anderson (all no relation) need not worry too much about depth, just about his squad?s performance and fitness and keeping one step of the opposition next season, who will be out to stop the high-flyers.
Castleford (NL1) ? Awen Guttenbeil, Chris Charles, Stuart Donlan, Liam Higgins, Tommy Saxton And what of relegated Castleford? How will they fair in their attempts to bounce straight back up for the 2008 competition? After retaining coach Terry Matterson and planned Kiwi signing Awen Guttenbeil, the Tigers have been very active in the player market, knowing how important a good performance next season in all aspects may become in the League?s decision to award Superleague franchises for 2009. Despite Castleford playing National League next season, Chris Charles has joined from Salford, Stuart Donlan from Huddersfield, Ryan Clayton from some time away from the game, Tommy Saxton from Wakefield and Liam Higgins and Kirk Dixon are on their way to The Jungle from Hull FC. They will join confirmed Tigers players from this season in Craig Huby, Kirk Dixon, Andrew Henderson, Peter Lupton, and Michael Shenton to try and help Cas leap back to Superleague on the vital first attempt.