It’s been a big year for the NRL off-season.

Aaron Woods moved to Belmore to play alongside his best mate David Klemmer, the bash brothers probably form the best starting prop duo in the league. They’re joined also by NZ five-eighth Kieran Foran.

The Broncos lost star half Ben Hunt to the Dragons, who in turn lost fullback/centre Josh Dugan to the sharks, who lost their star centre Jack Bird to the Broncos.

Bird is under an injury cloud whereby the Sharks may or may not have withheld important information about the extent of Bird’s shoulder injury.

Its not the only controversy the Broncos found themselves in. They signed controversial prop Matt Lodge on a 1-year $85,000 deal, even though it was reported Lodge had a 3-year $1.5million contract on the table from the rebuilding Newcastle Knights.

Speaking of the Knights, they were the beneficiaries of Cooper Cronk’s huge move to the Sydney Roosters, which forced out favourite son Mitchell Pearce. Pearce now joins with heralded fullback Kalyn Ponga.

Cronk wasn’t the only big signing for the boys from Bondi. They also managed to pick up NSW fullback James Tedesco for the 2018 season.

We had a player swap involving Penrith’s captain Matt Moylan and James Maloney from the Sharks who is now onto his fifth NRL club. And finally, the Tigers and Eels both experienced homecomings of fan favourites, Benji Marshall and Jarryd Hayne respectively.

Check out all the off season move here: https://www.zerotackle.com/rugby-league/player-movements/

We’ve selected the best starting team of all those who moved club this off season to create a team we think could challenge for a premiership. Leave yours in the comments below.

Best 17 Off-Season Signings

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Kalyn Ponga
  3. Jack Bird
  4. Dane Gagai
  5. Semi Radradra
  6. Kieran Foran
  7. Cooper Cronk
  8. James Graham
  9. Mitch Rein
  10. Aaron Woods
  11. Tohu Harris
  12. Joel Thompson
  13. Herman Ese’ese
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  14. Ben Hunt
  15. Adam Blair
  16. Sam Kasiano
  17. Jordan McLean
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29 COMMENTS

  1. Was Foran signed in off season ?
    Maloney’s the pick for mine ! Everyone saying Easts to win , Penrith will take it out in 2018 , to much strike power now , and jimmy will give them balance like he has at every clubs he’s played for , the most underrated, underpaid player of the last 10 years

    • I’m thinking Maloney for one of the best buys too, people underestimate what he brings to a team, on and off the field. They focus on his missed tackle count and that’s it really. Agree with your thoughts on Maloney.

      • Agreed. Most smaller players miss tackles, and the difference with Maloney is he plays above his weight. He isn’t missing tackles due to poor technique or lack of heart, he puts his body on the line time after time and while he may get pushed off a bit, he does his job in slowing the player for the player inside or outside him to finish it off. As long as they don’t put him next to Cartwright he will be OK.

        The immediate impact Maloney has on his team is their for all to see in his history of success. He just seems to wear them out and they get sick of him. Penrith shouldn’t have that problem though, as he is getting to the end of his career anyway, and this is potentially his last contract.

        • Have you seen Adam Reynolds defend eels47? Talk about putting his body on the line time after time and playing above his weight. Pound for pound he is one of the best. If Reynolds is fully fit he would be an automatic selection to partner Maloney in the halves for NSW but it is Cleary’s time.

        • Yeah, he is another SSTID. I will probably get shot down for this, but Moses was starting to show that sort of effort at the Eels too. Not in the league of Reynolds or Maloney just yet, but the confidence he gained with Jennings outside him showed as he did put his body on the line.

    • Maloney is one of a number of players who are small but as Eels said its because they put that effort in and throw their body around its great to see. Penrith will be very close to winning the comp this year, Ive got them sitting in the four.

  2. Come back at season’s end and make a list (I hate lists) of all the players who made this list who where flops. These players are good players but how will they fit into the current team?

    Good luck to all teams in 2018.

  3. Sorry but don’t rate Woods at all. Same goes for Mitch Rein. Jury is still out on Foran for me.

    The rest are great signings

    And sorry but did I miss something with Semi Radrada – isn’t he off in France now?

    • Ah, the Phoenix has risen! Your first 3 sentences echo my thoughts exactly. Woods is the same size as same Burgess but has half the ticker and drive and is made of “Balsa Woods” not steel. Rein is an exceptional reserve grade hooker and Foran has been a shadow of his former self since leaving the Sea Eagles (as were Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough). Radradra has gone to French Rugby (which was sammy’s point) but he has not been gone Toulon.

      Like that one Rabbits? It’s a pun rabbits. He plays for Toulon which sounds like “too long”… Oh, your poetry grates rabbits but it puts a smile on your little face so anything to see your bucked tooth grin. Settle down rabbits, have a carrot.

  4. MW47 Maloney is a great player and I agree Penrith got the better of the trade imo but win the comp I have my doubts. They’ll struggle come the rep period and their depth (experienced players) could trouble them if they get some injuries.

    Who wins the comp???? I’d love to say my Dragons but take my bias hat off and I’m thinking the Roosters or Cowboys (JT is the worry for me)
    Dark horse is definitely the Eels who think are a huge chance.
    From the list my buys of the season will be Ponga & Hunt
    Cheers

    • CMTD, i said the same… Panthers are a real chance to go deep into semi’s and i agree with the other predictions

    • Moses (yes I can’t stand him ) plays a nice style of football, he attacks both sides of the field and is unpredictable in attack , add to that Guthro , Norman , Jennings , French , Hayne and you have some nice movement,
      Penrith have that already but add Maloney and you get balance and structure, an all West GF in 2018 , and two clubs who have never played each other at that , I have Titans kiss of death last year and in 2018 its mwah to Parra n panthers

    • @ cmonthedragons

      I think the Panthers will have a red hot crack in 2018 despite their coach “Barney Rubble” and his prehistoric coaching techniques. They will struggle in rep round especially without BOTH of their halves as Maloney and Cleary are odds on to be the halves pairing for NSW. Maloney may not take the Panthers to a title or the GF in 2018 but by 2019 they should be primed and the Cleary/Maloney combination should be at it’s peak, something the Dragons reached in 2017 and should come back to the field in 2018 IMO. The Charity shield is getting close now, do you like the Dragons chances in 2018? Can’t wait to see the old rivalry again! 😉

  5. Buy of the year is a tough one for me. Ponga will probably be the best long term, for this year though Im gonna go with Maloney or Moylan if he fires because the pressure of being captain was hitting him hard.

    • I think people are getting a bit overexcited about Ponga. IMO Tedesco is, by a considerable margin, the best signing for 2018.

      • Yeah could be an yes agree on Ponga he hasnt earnt the the hype he is getting but he sure does have talent.

      • “IMO Tedesco is, by a considerable margin, the best signing for 2018.”

        Not Cronk then tommy? I think you may be right though I don’t think Teddy’s knees will make it through 26 rounds. Tedesco and Inglis have one pair of good knees between them.

        Ponga is a gun young player but there is too much hype and expectation on a kid who is yet to reach double figures in first grade games played and spending 2017 out of first grade will have set him back a bit IMO. Ponga will cut a broken defensive line to shreds and exploit a sliding defence that overpursues it’s target but if he is corralled and cut off, isolated and given little time and space he will be an easy target and will become frustrated. I would also be targeting him early with an aerial assault of spiral torpedo bombs and have an aggressive kick chase early on to put him off his game. In time though I think the kid will show he is a talent but for the present he is way too overhyped and does not have the runs on the board to justify all the attention.

        • My pet hate in sport tommy and SSTID, overhyping young guys. All it does is sets them up to fail. The list is a mile long. Brooks, Mullen, Tim Smith, Faliga, DCE (just joking Manly fans 😉 )

          Seriously though, Ponga has so much expectation on him already to bring the Knights back, and the kid has played 9 games. If he doesn’t deliver this year watch all the over rated tags come out. We need to give these guys a chance to prove themselves before raising them so high. Like I said, all we are doing is providing a higher platform to fall from.

        • You seem to be obsessed with high platforms these days eels47. Have you been watching replays of the Diving from the Rio Olympics? I like the reverse 4½ somersault in pike position from the 10m platform myself. I hear that this season Jarryd Hayne is attempting the equivalent of diving from the 10 metre platform into a glass of water. He said now that his wallet is about $600K lighter he thinks he can make it, but training at Macca’s and KFC over the off-season means it should be a tight fit, just like his Eels jersey! Bahahahahahahahahahahahaha

        • Or WAS he holmsey? Was he just saying that he was joking to avoid the backlash from an angry flock of seagulls? Difficult choice…

  6. At least Scott Tenant has the Jatzz to put his name to the story unlike the person who wrote the Brisbane Broncos best 17 article from earlier today. I am only new around here but wow the standard of reporting…..

  7. The buy off the season IMO isnt even on the list.Pearce will do brilliant for the Knights.Not saying they will do any better than making the 8 but the only way is up.

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