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5 NRL recruits set to light up Super League

5 NRL recruits set to light up Super League
© Reuters
Konrad Hurrell, Blake Austin and Kevin Naiqama are among those that could star in 2019.

The new Betfred Super League season will feature a host of high-profile recruits from Australia's National Rugby League.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out five newcomers to watch in 2019.

Konrad Hurrell (Leeds)

Rugby League – World Cup 2013 – Group C – Tonga v Cook Islands – Leigh Sports Village
Tonga's Konrad Hurrell, right, during the the 2013 World Cup

The braided hair will ensure the Tongan powerhouse is an unmissable figure in Super League, while his explosive running looks certain to make him a huge favourite among fans in the new South Stand at Headingley. Hurrell was given his first-grade debut at New Zealand Warriors at the age of 20 by one-time Leeds head coach Brian McClennan in 2012 and new Rhinos boss Dave Furner knows all about his explosive style of play having coached him while with Tonga. Hurrell became Leeds' first marquee signing and big things will be expected of him in 2019.

Blake Austin (Warrington)

The bookmakers are so confident the Australian half-back can make a bigger impact than his disappointing predecessor Tyrone Roberts that they have made him the clear favourite for Man of Steel. The former Penrith, West Tigers and Canberra playmaker comes with a fine reputation and, at 27, may have his best years ahead of him. Wayne Bennett will also have noted that Austin qualifies to represent England through his English grandmother.

Kevin Naiqama (St Helens)

Betfred Super League 2019 Preview Package
Flying Fijian Kevin Naiqama.

Saints fans will be hoping they can witness the flair, as well as the passion, the Fiji captain displays while representing his country. The pacy centre, who memorably caught the eye in the 2017 World Cup by crying during the national anthem, makes no apology for wearing his heart on his sleeve and is proud to display his Christian faith on his back with tattoos of the Crucifixion, Jerusalem and The Last Supper. A proven star of the NRL, Naiqama is set to add an extra attacking edge to St Helens' talented back line.

Akuila Uate (Huddersfield)

Rugby League – World Cup 2013 – Group A – Fiji v Ireland – Spotland
Fiji celebrate a try scored by Akuila Uate during the 2013 World Cup

Huddersfield's disappointment over the loss of England winger Jermaine McGillvary for the start of the new season will be offset by the presence on the other flank of a genuine superstar who has scored 129 tries in 200 matches in the NRL. The 31-year-old played for New South Wales and Australia and was in the Fiji team that reached the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup. The explosive Uate spent nine seasons with Newcastle Knights before moving to Manly two years ago and has signed a three-year contract with the Giants.

Tui Lolohea (Leeds)

Rugby League – International Test Series – First Test – England v New Zealand – KC Stadium
Tui Lolohea, a former New Zealand international who now represents Samoa

The former New Zealand Warrior will provide Leeds with the playmaking stand-off they have sorely missed since the departure of Danny McGuire, and his partnership with Richie Myler is set to propel the Rhinos up the table after a disastrous 2018. Lolohea played at Headingley with the touring Kiwis in 2015 before switching his allegiance to Tonga and played a significant role in their march to the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup in which they toppled New Zealand and pushed England all the way in Auckland.

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