BILLY Magoulias’ early departure from Warrington Wolves has put more focus on the club’s recruitment dealings in the NRL.

The loose forward was signed for this season from Cronulla Sharks but it was confirmed on Tuesday that he had been released early from his deal after just eight appearances.

> The full story of Billy Magoulias' early departure can be found here

It is the latest in a series of deals for players brought over from the Australian competition that – for one reason or another – have not worked out.

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Billy Magoulias' release was confirmed on Tuesday. Picture by Mike Boden

The Wire have placed a lot of faith in that trend changing from now on, with Thomas Mikaele having just arrived from Wests Tigers while deals for St George Illawarra forward Josh McGuire and Canterbury Bulldogs pair Matt Dufty and Paul Vaughan are believed to be close to completion.

Here, we look in depth at the last 10 signings Warrington have brought in from the NRL before Mikaele and Magoulias…

GEORGE WILLIAMS (2021-present)

Signed from: Canberra Raiders

Wire record (to date): 21 appearances, 7 tries, 3 drop goals

Returning to Super League after 18 months in the NRL, Williams was brought in as a marquee signing to spearhead the Daryl Powell era.

The half-back’s season has followed a similar trajectory to his team’s – some early good form followed by plenty of disappointment.

Having played a key role in The Wire’s three wins from the opening three rounds, the former Wigan man’s displays since then have come in for increased criticism.

The jury will remain out on whether or not his signing can be labelled as a successful one, but things certainly need to improve.

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Signed from: unattached

Wire record: 3 appearances, 2 tries

A signing that sent ripples throughout the rugby league world but ended up being a bit of a failed experiment.

The prospect of one of the game’s modern greats coming out of retirement to don the primrose and blue was certainly an interesting one – even if he was only half the player he was, they said, he would surely still make a big impact in Super League.

After a long wait for his try-scoring debut, ‘GI’ only managed two further appearances – and another four-pointer – before suffering a hamstring injury that cut his time in England short.

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Signed from: Gold Coast Titans

Wire record: 3 appearances, 1 try

Latu was signed to complete Warrington’s recruitment for the 2020 season, but this was another deal that did not work out.

Head coach Steve Price declared himself unimpressed with the prop’s fitness levels initially but after the competition was shut down due to the pandemic, Latu did eventually debut in an impressive win for a Covid-hit Wire side over Hull FC in September 2020.

He even managed a try in that game, but he played just twice more before being released from the final year of his deal.

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GARETH WIDDOP (2020-present)

Signed from: St George Illawarra Dragons

Wire record (to date): 46 appearances, 18 tries, 47 goals, 1 drop goal

Another signing that brought genuine excitement, Widdop’s attempts to settle into life at Warrington in 2020 were initially disrupted by injury, Covid and off-field issues.

Last year, however, he looked to have put all of that behind him as he sparkled in the first half of 2021. Eventually, he scooped the club’s player of the year award and was shortlisted for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel prize.

Now, however, it looks as though this year will be his last at The Halliwell Jones Stadium having not really kicked on from the form he showed last season.

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JASON CLARK (2019-present)

Signed from: South Sydney Rabbitohs

Wire record (to date): 75 appearances, 2 tries

For longevity at least, Clark has been reliable having twice chosen to extend his time at the club as opposed to returning to his homeland.

The forward is currently in his fourth season with The Wire after a long NRL career with boyhood club South Sydney Rabbitohs.

He often earns praise for his work among teammates and coaches although his contributions are much maligned by supporters.

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BLAKE AUSTIN (2019-2021)

Signed from: Canberra Raiders

Wire record: 67 appearances, 33 tries, 6 drop goals

In his early days as a Warrington Wolves player, it looked as though the club had pulled off a masterstroke in bringing powerful running half Austin in from Canberra Raiders.

He caused havoc among Super League defences and played a pivotal role in the team’s run to winning the 2019 Challenge Cup, although he missed the final due to an ankle injury.

After said injury, however, it is fair to say The Wire rarely saw Austin hit those heights again in the two years he remained at the club and with George Williams arriving, he was duly allowed to leave to join Leeds Rhinos.

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BRYSON GOODWIN (2018-2019)

Signed from: South Sydney Rabbitohs

Wire record: 61 appearances, 26 tries, 43 goals

Arguably a rare “hit” in this particular list, Goodwin proved a popular figure during his two seasons as a Warrington player.

The New Zealand international centre was a key member of the side that reached both the Challenge Cup Final and Super League Grand Final in Steve Price’s first season in charge in 2018.

The following year, he produced a memorable try-saving tackle to deny St Helens winger Tommy Makinson that helped Warrington lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium.

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Signed from: Gold Coast Titans

Wire record: 33 appearances, 6 tries, 43 goals, 2 drop goals

The half-back was brought in to help lead The Wire into the Steve Price era.

While he helped the club to both major finals in 2018, niggling injuries contributed to fans never quite seeing the best of Roberts in primrose and blue.

In the end, he and his family struggled to settle in England and returned to Australia 12 months into a three-year marquee deal.

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Signed from: Penrith Panthers

Wire record: 68 appearances, 6 tries

Another who managed impressive longevity in a Wire shirt and remains in Super League to this day with Salford Red Devils.

When he first arrived in 2018, his barnstorming carries and powerful hits got fans off their seats but his unorthodox technique saw him fall foul of the Match Review Panel on several occasions.

He was generally limited to short stints off the bench but left with a Challenge Cup winner’s medal under his belt after four seasons at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

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PETA HIKU (2017)

Signed from: Penrith Panthers

Wire record: 11 appearances, 10 tries

The New Zealander’s stay in Warrington could certainly be defined as short but sweet.

Arriving midway through 2017, the tries flowed – 10 in 11 appearances to be exact – as the centre helped Wire comfortably survive the Qualifiers following a dismal regular season.

Signed until the end of 2019, it came as a huge blow when Hiku revealed he would be returning to his homeland after just a few months.

To this day, he continues to shine in the NRL with high-flying North Queensland Cowboys.

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Pictures by Mike Boden, PA Wire and