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Who'll be best buy of 2020? experts have their say

Who will be the best buy of the 2020 NRL season?

Will the high-profile moves of Latrell Mitchell and Valentine Holmes pay the highest dividend or will it be one of a handful of other big-name players who makes the biggest difference at their new club?

The experts at have their say on which players will make the loudest statement while wearing new colours over the next seven months. experts view

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

I really can't go past Latrell Mitchell. After a season he'd rather forget I think he is primed to start the year on a high. Wayne Bennett will also make sure he will be consistent with his play throughout the year ahead.

Jamie Soward (Premiership winner)

Api Koroisau will be the key to helping Nathan Cleary unlocking the attack for the Panthers in 2020. His control around the ruck and threatening running game will be dangerous all year long.

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Alicia Newton ( reporter)

Joey Leilua. He impressed in the club's final trial against the Warriors and will add an element out wide the Wests Tigers haven't had for a while – aggression, skill and size. His brother Luciano could also prove a great addition.

Margie McDonald ( senior reporter)

Ryan Matterson. He's a different style of player to Manu Ma'u but he'll feed off the halves just as well as the Tongan International. And he adds more ball skills, since he played around a dozen games at five-eighth (and some at centre) in his three years at the Roosters. Don't forget he was 18th man in Brad Fittler's Origin team last year.

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Zac Bailey ( reporter)

Valentine Holmes. He left the game as one of the most dynamic players in the game and I expect him to return to that level. The North Queensland recruit has excelled in any jersey he has worn – Sharks, Maroons, Kangaroos – and I expect him to do so again in Cowboys colours.

Chris Kennedy ( reporter)

Api Koroisau plugs a huge hole in what has been a problem position for the Panthers since Peter Wallace retired. Whether his experience is enough to bridge the gap lost with James Maloney's departure is another question but his tireless defence and reliable service make him a perfect pick-up.

Brad Walter ( senior reporter)

Valentine Holmes was one of the top players in the NRL when he left for the NFL so it's hard to imagine he won't have a huge impact for the Cowboys in his return season.

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Paul Suttor ( editor)

Jesse Ramien could have been the buy of the year last season but things went pear-shaped in Newcastle where they didn't seem to be able to get the best out of him. Now that he's back at Cronulla, John Morris will make him a focal point in attack - why wouldn't you get the ball to the centres as quickly as possible with Ramien and Bronson Xerri capable of causing carnage out wide? 

Katie Brown ( reporter)

Kyle Flanagan. We saw glimpses of his brilliance at Cronulla, but training with the back-to-back premiers and alongside Luke Keary in the halves, I'm excited to see what this 21-year-old can produce for the Roosters in 2020.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

I think Latrell Mitchell will be buy of the season for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. In the past, he has been criticised for his work rate and effort, but despite that, he is still recognised as one of the most talented players in the competition.  Wayne Bennett should be able to get his game to the next level.

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Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

Valentine Holmes has the ability to really make a huge impact for the Cowboys. Not only does he have the speed and tryscoring ability, he will also take some of the pressure off Michael Morgan. Playing behind that forward pack will be a bonus.

Martin Lenehan ( senior journalist) 

Joey Leilua will hit the ground running at Wests Tigers and carve up the Dragons, Knights, Bulldogs and Warriors in the opening month. Those opponents don't boast the most watertight defensive lines and big Joey will show why he's the best buy of 2020.

Brett Keeble ( reporter)

Valentine Holmes was one of the NRL's most exciting attacking players at the Sharks before chancing his arm in the NFL. Having touched down in Townsville after his brief stint at the New York Jets, Holmes is unlikely to have lost any of his speed or skills. He looms as the man the Cowboys need to return to the finals.  

Lone Scout ( Fantasy expert)

Can I cheat and say the Leilua brothers? If the Wests Tigers are going to finally break into the top eight again they'll need some attacking X-factor and they've got exactly that with Joey and Luciano Leilua – two big bodies who can break tackles and pop offloads on the right edge. Expect them to create some havoc for each other and winger David Nofoaluma.

Tanisha Stanton ( reporter)

The fullback dilemma for the Rabbitohs has been solved with the arrival of Latrell Mitchell. Once he finds his feet at the back Mitchell will be lethal. His combination with Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds and Damien Cook could be something special.

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Troy Whittaker ( reporter)

Don't underestimate the impact Jayden Brailey will have at Newcastle. The tough ex-Sharks hooker provides crisp service – something that halfback Mitchell Pearce will benefit from – and has been building his running game. With Brailey completing a strong spine, the Knights can go close to the finals.

Corey Rosser ( reporter)

If the Wests Tigers' final NRL trial against the Warriors is anything to go by, Joey Leilua is set for a massive year. As part of a right edge which includes younger brother Luciano, Leilua shapes as the dynamic strike weapon who can take the Tigers to the next level. 

Todd Balym ( reporter)

If Brodie Croft can consistently unleash all of Brisbane's forward firepower and allow Anthony Milford the freedom to play his natural game, then the Broncos halfback could be the most astute buy even if he isn't the standout performer. 

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Holly Hazlewood ( reporter)

George Williams has the potential to be the best buy. Despite his still relatively young age, he has the big-game experience and the skills needed to succeed in the NRL. Having Josh Hodgson as his new No.9 will be a huge help in smoothing his transition to a new club.​

Jonathan Healy ( reporter)

It looks like Valentine Holmes has lost none of his pace, so expect the dynamic fullback to make a big impact at the Cowboys this season, especially late in games when defences are tiring.

Joel Gould ( reporter)

Latrell Mitchell looms as the best off-season signing with his big-game experience, aura and all-round skillset to give South Sydney’s backline an extra edge. The potential carnage Mitchell can cause in combination with James Roberts is another bonus.

Matt Nicholls ( reporter)

Valentine Holmes will prove to be the buy of the season as the star fullback lifts the Cowboys back into the finals mix. North Queensland's backline hasn't been the same since Johnathan Thurston retired. Holmes could change that. 

Kenny Scott ( podcaster)

The best buy looms large in the shape of a big, aggressive and occasionally wild centre named Joseph Leilua. Everyone knows the damage he can do when he's got that look in his eyes. He and David Nofoaluma could form a great combination. 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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