After leaving Catalans Dragons at the end of the 2018 campaign, many Super League clubs have been linked with Australian half back Josh Drinkwater – but Hull KR have now signed the influential pivot and he will report for training early in the new year.
Despite being one of the catalysts of the Dragons’ impressive turnaround in form and being vital to their Challenge Cup success, Steve McNamara saw fit to release the former Leigh and London man, instead favouring to sign St Helens’ Matty Smith. While Drinkwater admitted that he didn’t want to leave the Dragons, he was never likely to be starting his second consecutive season without an elite contract.
Warrington, Leeds and Wigan are just three of the clubs the 26-year-old has been linked with in the off-season but it is now being widely reported that Hull KR have finally completed his signing. Rumours of their interest emerged in the last few weeks but the club were waiting to get some money off the salary cap so, following Drinkwater’s signing, expect to see at least one player passing through the Robins’ exit door – Josh Johnson being the most likely.
Tim Sheens has been at pains to ensure his squad is based more on quality than quantity and his patience has been rewarded by bringing one of Super League’s best from 2018 into the club. Along with Chris Atkin and Danny McGuire, Drinkwater will present Sheens with options in the halves at Craven Park. In 21 appearances for the Dragons – after signing in April – he scored nine tries and kicked seventy-five goals as the French club ensured Super League survival by finishing in the top eight. Boasting a kicking game that some would say KR have been missing since Michael Dobson left, the Australian is likely to be a key player for Sheens’ team next year.
With twenty-two assists to his name in Super League alone last season, the threat and creativity posed by Drinkwater outline just why top-tier teams were interested in the four-time St George Illwarra player. It is clear why Sheens was keen to take him to Humberside and Drinkwater could be a key part of his plans to ensure KR compete away from the bottom of Super League next season.