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Five new signings to look out for: Connor's Huddersfield return leads the way

The new Super League season may still be a couple of months away but the squads are starting to assemble for what promises to be another fabulous campaign.

The recent Rugby League World Cup has helped expand the appeal of the 'Greatest Game' and the business that some clubs have done suggests it is only going to continue to grow. 

Here is our take on the five best deals that have been completed over the last few months.

What: Super League 2023 
Where: England and France 
When: Thursday 16th February - Saturday 14th October 
How to watch: Sky Sports and Channel 4 
Odds: St Helens 15/8, Wigan 10/3, Leeds 13/2, Catalans Dragons 7/1, Warrington 8/1

Jake Connor - Hull FC to Huddersfield 

One of the mavericks of the current generation, Jake Connor, can play throughout the back-line and heads into the new season with a point to prove having missed out on England's squad for the World Cup. 

His ability to create something out of nothing was arguably what Shaun Wane's men missed as they went down to Samoa in the semi-finals and his numbers speak for themselves, with him providing 33 assists in 2022 for a limited Hull FC team that only finished eighth. 

At 28, Connor returns to his first professional club at his peak and while he may not see as much of the ball in broken field as he did at Hull, Huddersfield's greater structure and control might bring the best out of him. 

Ian Watson's men enjoyed a strong 2022 and with Connor one of those to have been added to their mix, their 11/1 for the League Leaders' Shield could work out.

Jake Trueman - Castleford - Hull FC 

The man who should, eventually, fill Connor's boots for the Black and Whites is Jake Trueman. The 23-year-old heads east along the M62 after making his name with Cas but is currently working his way back from an ACL injury. 

Injuries have hampered his career so far but Trueman provides an electric pace in the halves and could be key to guiding Hull, 16/1 Grand Final Winner, back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020.  

With new coach Tony Smith also having Jake Clifford, who has signed from Newcastle Knights, to work with, the Airlie Birds could be exciting to watch. 

However, much could depend on whether either of their new half-backs can adjust their style enough to run the team. 

Smith is known for his love of off-the-cuff attacking play but much could depend on whether Trueman and Clifford can combine to provide the required control needed to complement their attacking class.

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Tom Johnstone - Wakefield to Catalans 

Without injuries, Tom Johnstone could have been a world star. The winger is arguably one of the best finishers in the game, while he has added good yards up the middle and improved defence to his game in recent years. 

However, bad luck has continually cursed him but he has a chance at a fresh start in 2023 with the Catalans, who usually know how to keep their players fit. 

With Tom Davies and Fouad Yaha also around, the Dragons, priced at 7/1 in the Grand Final Winner market, have firepower already out wide but Johnstone is arguably a step above. 

The 27-year-old is well into his peak years and a run of games is only going to be a good thing for both himself and coach Steve McNamara.

Harry Rushton - Canberra Raiders to Huddersfield 

Huddersfield may have uncovered a gem in Harry Rushton, who joins from the NRL and fresh from an impressive World Cup with Ireland. 

Able to play throughout the pack, he provides power on both sides of the ball and, at 21, still has plenty of scope for development. 

Rushton came through Wigan's academy but limited opportunities saw him seek more minutes Down Under. 

While he was far from a regular in Canberra, the Blackpool-born star seems to have come back a more rounded player and will look to show the Warriors what they are missing. 

Huddersfield's patient progress under Watson saw them finish third last year and reach the Challenge Cup final. Adding players like Connor and Rushton shows they have both an eye on the future and also the present.

James Batchelor - Wakefield to Hull KR 

This deal seems to have gone unnoticed and arguably typifies the man at the middle of it all. 

James Batchelor is the type of player every team needs, always there to do the dirty work and regularly making those around him look better. 

Batchelor is another player to depart Wakefield, who have also lost half-back Jacob Miller and look set for another difficult season in 2023. 

However, in contrast, Hull KR have a real star on their hands, even if his understated style does not reflect it. 

The Robins had a strange 2022, losing coach Smith mid-season and are about to begin a new chapter under Willie Peters. 

Their pack could be fearsome, with fellow back-row Sauaso Sue joining Batchelor in the East Riding, and the 24-year-old seems the type of player who can bring added grit to a team who occasionally struggle to grind out results. 

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