The 2018 season has brought with it plenty of player movement, which has led to some big holes being left in some lineups. These five players all have to replace key figures their club has lost.
5. Tuimoala Lolohea
With Josh Reynolds joining Luke Brooks in the halves for the Wests Tigers, Tuimoala Lolohea will most likely start the season at fullback.
James Tedesco was the man that formerly held the position, and was one of the Tigers best even when the team was struggling. It will be difficult for Lolohea to outperform Tedesco, but he offers different skills that could have huge benefits for the team.
Tedesco shines in his strength whereas Lolohea has serious skill as a ballplayer. Despite some inconsistencies in his game in 2017, Lolohea could shine in 2018 if he is allowed to be creative at the back.
4. Aaron Woods
Aaron Woods will take over James Graham’s position in the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldog’s front row in 2018. Graham was a fan favourite at the Bulldogs, where he constantly inspired the team as captain.
Though Woods is an Australian and New South Wales representative, taking Graham’s position will be no easy task.
Graham always put in a huge effort for the Bulldogs and Woods must do the same if he is to make the same impact as the Englishman.
3. Matt Moylan
Matt Moylan will replace James Maloney as the Cronulla Sharks five-eighth in 2018. Maloney was a huge part of the Sharks 2016 premiership and is a proven match winner in the halves.
Like Maloney, Moylan has played representative level football and led teams to victory, but is fairly inexperienced in the halves, especially compared to Maloney.
Though he is a good player, the Sharks have taken a gamble on Moylan and will be hoping he performs strongly. The former Panthers captain could make or break his career at his new club, so it is vital for him to match Maloney’s level of play.
2. Josh Hoffman
The loss of Semi Radradra means that the Parramatta Eels will need a new left winger. At this stage, it appears most likely that Josh Hoffman will take over the role, but it could also be Jarryd Hayne, Will Smith or others.
Whoever ends up with Radradra’s former spot will be replacing one of the best modern wingers and as such will be under pressure to perform.
The Eels will be hoping that their new winger is not only an excellent finisher but has the strength to break the line and is acrobatic. Hoffman could certainly be this player for the Eels but will need to play at 100% each and every week.
1. Brodie Croft
Brodie Croft has been assigned the incredibly difficult task of replacing Cooper Cronk in 2018. With only six NRL games to his name, Croft will need to adapt to the top level quickly.
Croft is undeniably talented and has performed well in his few chances; however, this will not make his job any less daunting. Cronk played over 300 games with the Melbourne Storm and was twice named the Dally M player of the year.
Croft will no doubt be feeling the pressure as he tries to take over the role of one of the Storm’s greatest ever players. However, Croft can succeed if he plays to his own strengths, rather than attempting to replicate Cronk.