With the Raiders beginning to cultivate a little England of sorts in the nation’s capital, we have decided to look back at the top five players to transition from the Super League to the superior NRL. While the last few years have seen some Englishmen not live up to the hype after arriving in the NRL, such as Lee Mossop, Sam Tomkins, and the supposed English SBW Andre Savelio, the men listed below are on the opposite end of the scale. With a few of them even set to go down as greats at their club.
I have decided to profile players who made the switch after the NRL era (1998-present) began, as well as only picking players who have transitioned from the Super League across to the NRL. Which excludes St George Illawarra’s Gareth Widdop, who came through the junior systems at the Melbourne Storm.
5. Josh Hodgson
Heading into his fifth season as a Canberra Raider, Josh Hodgson has more than repaid the transfer fee that the Raiders forked out to sign him from Hull KR.
Having acclimatised in his first season by making an impressive 24 appearances, Hodgson would go on to have a breakout 2016 campaign. Leading Canberra to a top-two finish through his creativity from dummy half, with many considering him a front-runner for the Dally M award. Before being virtually ruled out due to a grapple tackle on Melbourne’s Jesse Bromwich, resulting in missing out on a vital three points as well as a one-game suspension.
Despite arriving in Canberra with little fanfare or knowledge about his game, Hodgson has proved himself to be one of the most dangerous and influential players in the competition. Going on to register an incredible four tries and 17 try assists from the hooker position in the 2016 season.
His importance to Canberra cannot be understated, who struggled massively without their attacking talisman in the first half of 2018 after Hodgson ruptured his ACL in the World Cup semi-final win over Tonga. Having missed a telling 14 games to start the season, Hodgson displayed his importance and impact on the team in his return against the Wests Tigers in round 15. In which Canberra would go on to win in a blowout 48-12 victory, Hodgson laid on three tries for his teammates in an impressive 46-minute stint on return from a serious knee injury.
Having been appointed as a co-captain alongside Jarrod Croker for season 2019 and being on contract with Canberra until at least the end of 2022, Hodgson looks set to finish his career with the green machine. If he can maintain his current form and influence over his side, he will go down as one of the best and most influential English imports to ever play in the NRL.