NRL: Four big moves ahead of the 2017 season

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The 2017 NRL season gets under way on Thursday, with last year's premiers Cronulla Sharks facing Brisbane Broncos in the first game of the campaign.

Ahead of that encounter, we take a look at four players to have made notable moves during the off-season.

 

Kevin Proctor - Melbourne Storm to Gold Coast Titans

Proctor shapes as the Titans' key acquisition for 2017 and beyond, his importance illustrated by the fact he has been named as a co-captain of Gold Coast, along with Ryan James, before he has even represented the club.

A star performer for Melbourne Storm over nine seasons and a premiership winner in 2012, the New Zealand second row will be looked upon to ensure the Titans overcome some high-profile close-season departures.

Proctor admitted on Wednesday that he had not expected to be named captain of the Titans so soon after returning to the area where he grew up.

However, the vastly experienced 28-year-old added: "I don't think it will change my game too much. I wanted to earn it and get a bit more respect from the boys before I got that role but I'm really grateful for the opportunity and I'll be doing my best to try and impress all the boys, the club and the fans."

 

Kieran Foran - Parramatta Eels to New Zealand Warriors

Another New Zealander to have made an off-season switch is talented half-back Foran, who will look to relaunch his NRL career on home soil with the Warriors.

After dropping out of the game in 2016 amid much-publicised personal issues, the former Parramatta playmaker has welcomed the chance to start afresh in Auckland, stating at the Warriors' recent season launch: "It's been a breath of fresh air really, I needed it."

Foran, who has been linked with a 2018 switch to Brisbane Broncos prior to his Warriors debut, will be free to play from round three after the NRL registered his contract last month, albeit with his return subject to a psychological assessment.

 

James Tamou - North Queensland Cowboys to Penrith Panthers

Tamou confirmed his intention to move from Queensland to Sydney for family reasons last June, describing the decision as "the toughest thing I've ever done".

One of the most reliable props in the NRL, Tamou was part of a premiership-winning team in 2015 and has also impressed at Origin and Test level for New South Wales and Australia respectively.

And he appears comfortable with the expectation that will be placed on his shoulders this year as a marquee acquisition for the Panthers.

Tamou was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying: "The title coming in as the high-profile signing, that's pressure by itself. Then coming into a side that's already done well, if we don't get into the top four, the first person you look at is the new recruit. The onus is on me to perform.

"There's pressure on me, but the change might have been the best thing for me. Form-wise, I wasn't going too well at the back-end of last season. The change has been perfect."

 

Luke Keary - South Sydney Rabbitohs to Sydney Roosters

There is no more controversial switch in NRL then trading the Rabbitohs for the cross-town rival Roosters.

But for stand-off Keary, the move is a chance for a fresh start after the dream start to his Rabbitohs career quickly turned into a nightmare.

Having made his debut in 2013, Keary played 12 matches the following year and helped inspire South Sydney to a Grand Final victory over Canterbury Bulldogs.

However, a well-publicised spat with film-star owner Russell Crowe preceded a difficult 2016 season in which he struggled to keep his place, leading Keary to end his tumultuous association with the Bunnies.

"It's a bit of a rollercoaster," Keary said. "I've got a lot more stability and a clear head since I've come here. I've got to just knuckle down, concentrate on footy."