Top 10 new recruits after Round 1
Every NRL off-season the big game of musical chairs hits full swing, and sometimes it can be Round 2 or 3 before fans come to grips with the jersey colours several players are wearing. Here are 10 off-season buys who started with a bang in Round 1.
10. Brett Morris (Bulldogs)
He, like his team, left his run a little late on Sunday against Penrith but he showed enough that he could be able to do as promised and add a new dimension to the Bulldogs attack in 2015. Finished with a try and almost 200 metres, as well as three line breaks and a whopping 11 tackle breaks.
9. Reece Robinson (Eels)
In a drastically altered Eels backline, Robinson's deft footwork caused headaches for the Manly defence as he had a hand in creating two tries. Those skilful feet also helped him boot seven goals from eight attempts, potentially eradicating Parramatta's goal-kicking dramas of recent years.
8. Dale Finucane (Storm)
At one stage it looked like the Storm could be seriously lacking in forward depth in 2015 outside of a couple of superstars in the starting side. Finucane is, arguably, exactly what they needed and he showed his wares with a massive 39 tackles and 100 metres against the Dragons.
7. Eto Nabuli (Dragons)
A shining light in a dour defeat, Nabuli's strength, speed and skill – as well as his height and great hands under a high ball – were all on show both against the Storm as well as in a powerful pre-season at the Auckland Nines and in the World Club Series. It was no surprise he was the man to come up with St George Illawarra's only try on Monday night. Could be in for a big year.
6. Sisa Waqa (Raiders)
Scored a powerful try and ran the ball strongly, following on from a promising Nines campaign in the green jersey. Adds some much-needed experience to Canberra's potent but young outside backs.
5. Brad Takairangi (Eels)
Almost left in limbo after initially agreeing to leave the Titans for Wests Tigers before having the rug pulled out from under him by a coaching change at Concord, Takairangi landed on his feet at the club his father represented in the eighties. Set up his outside man for two of his three tries and bagged one of his own.
4. Iosia Soliola (Raiders)
Another player who's arrival didn't generate the headlines the top two players on this list did. Still, the St Helens premiership winner played 80 minutes in an impressive Canberra win, making the second-most tackles (38) for his team with more than 100 metres, while providing a cool, experienced head in the middle of the park.
3. Blake Leary (Sea Eagles)
The unheralded North Queenslander got bigger minutes than he'd have planned in the Manly back row on what was a horror night for the club due to a deeply unfortunate ACL injury to promising youngster Clint Gutherson early in the game. Played almost the whole game, making 33 tackles, missing none, in an auspicious club debut.
2. Anthony Watmough (Eels)
Watmough set about showing his old club what they missed, and did so at close range. Added starch, aggression and experience to what looks like becoming a formidable forward pack. Still has plenty of miles in the old legs.
1. Glenn Stewart (Rabbitohs)
The man they call 'Gifty' is, we suspect, a little sick of pointing out he's not trying to replace Sam Burgess. He actually played a lot like the Glenn Stewart of old – a robust hard-working back-rower with an excellent match awareness and great ball-playing skills. Will be an asset on the Rabbitohs' right side in 2015.