With Super League almost reaching the Super 8’s stage, I look at five overseas signings who have made a big impact so far…
Matt Parcell – Leeds Rhinos
After years of disruption in the hooking position, Parcell seems to have filled the void at Leeds. The Rhinos have struggled to find a settled number nine over recent years, with flop Beau Falloon and want-away James Segeyaro the most recent failed candidates. But Parcell is a breath of fresh air at Leeds and seems to have the full package – a running game, vision and good pair of hands. What’s perhaps more important, though, is that he seems settled and has gelled into the team effortlessly. His combination with fellow Aussies Adam Cuthbertson and Joel Moon has revolutionised the way their side play and seen them look to challenge for the Super League title again.
Jake Mamo – Huddersfield Giants
Giants fans were made to wait to see Mamo, but boy was he worth it! The livewire fullback only made his debut in April but has already racked up eight tries, including a hat-trick against Castleford in front of the Sky cameras. His rapid acceleration and pace allows him probe around the ball and inject himself into the line when a gap opens up, with Danny Brough the provider on numerous occasions. He also gives the Giants some much needed assurance at the back and is a very competent defender. Defenders are always on high alert when he has the ball and he’s proved to be a handy pick up for Rick Stone’s men.
Jesse Sene-Lefao – Castleford Tigers
Castleford are having their best season in years and former Manly and Cronulla back rower Sene-Lefao has been an important part of their success. Usually a middle-runner, the Samoan international has found himself at home playing wider, with his strength and handling skills perfectly complementing his outside men. The Tigers’ off-the-cuff style is season suits Sene-Lefao down to a tee and with Mike McMeeken playing a similar role on the opposite side, Daryl Powell has one of the best back rows in the league.
Brayden Wiliame – Catalan Dragons
Despite only playing a handful of games this year, Wiliame has become a crucial part of the Dragons’ back line, scoring six tries. His versatility has been vital for the French outfit, being called on to play at fullback, centre and wing throughout the year. His physical attributes allow him to be effective in all three positions, with pace and agility being his trademark. An impressive season could see him play at the World Cup in October having been selected for Fiji in the past, while he could be part of a late Catalans rally if they get enough players back in time.
Sam Williams – Wakefield Trinity
Despite playing second fiddle to Liam Finn and Jacob Miller at times, Williams has never disappointed when given his chance by Chris Chester. The former Canberra and St George half will also play an important part towards the back end if the season, with Miller sidelined with a broken leg. While Williams may not have the flamboyant style that his injured comrade offers, he’s a solid replacement. He has great vision and handling, as well as a superb kicking game that matches that of his partner Finn. His experience will also be of paramount importance as the campaign reaches its business end.