When conversation ahead of the 2022 season has shifted to signings, the talk immediately goes to the likes of Adam Reynolds, Matt Burton, Kurt Capewell, Dane Gagai and Josh Addo-Carr.

While it’s true that they will be the names to set tongues wagging and have fans riding a wave of expectation at formerly struggling clubs heading into the new season, that doesn’t mean they are all their is to get excited about.

Every club has made off-season moves heading into the new season as they look to strengthen their squads, and with the exception of the Penrith Panthers, every club wants to have better performances and end results than they did in 2021.

Many of the bottom eight clubs from last year have recruited smartly, while others in the top eight have also made excellent signings.

It’s the players who aren’t mentioned in every news story who could yet make the biggest difference to their new clubs as the 2022 season commences.

There were plenty to pick from as well, with the likes of Nick Meaney, Bailey Simonsson, Nick Cotric, Matt Ikuvalu, Ethan Bullemor and Xavier Coates all missing the top five, despite their strong credentials for the season ahead.

Here are the top five underrated signings heading into 2022.


5. Peta Hiku (North Queensland Cowboys from New Zealand Warriors)

Hiku is one of the NRL's quiet achievers.

While the New Zealand Warriors might not have had a great deal of success during his tenure at the club, the blame for that can hardly be attributed to a centre.

Hiku has a reputation as an excellent player out wide, and while he only managed ten games for the Warriors during 2021, the change of scenery to Townsville could do him the world of good.

NRL Rd 16 - Warriors v Knights
TAMWORTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29: Peta Hiku of the Warriors makes a break during the round 16 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Newcastle Knights at Scully Park on August 29, 2020 in Tamworth, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

A strong defensive option at the worst of times, Hiku has made a name for himself with his ball running, averaging 115 metres per contest in those games last year.

His versatility, which can see him shift to fullback, into the halves or out to the wing, could also come in handy for the Warriors.

He knows how to find the tryline, with 53 tries in his NRL career, but he also has 41 try assists to his name and will look to improve on those numbers in a strong combination with likely winger Kyle Feldt this year.