All-time Best Super League XIII: St Helens

In this series, we put together the ultimate Super League starting 13’s for each club that has seen at least five seasons in the competition.

Today it’s the turn of St Helens, so here’s who we think would make their ultimate Super League XIII…

1. Paul Wellens

Wellens spent his entire 16-year career at St Helens, where he made almost 500 appearances. He scored 231 tries and also kicked 40 goals. He was named Man of Steel as Saints completed the treble in 2006 and was named captain of the club in 2011 following the departure of James Graham. As captain, he lifted his last Super League title in 2014, adding to his previous four as well as four Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges.

Paul Wellens. Credit: Craig Thomas/News Images

Notable mentions: Ben Barba, Lachlan Coote

2. Tommy Makinson

Makinson came through Saints’ academy and made his debut in 2011 against Salford. Since then, he has scored 133 tries and 126 goals in 230 matches for the Saints. He was Super League’s top try scorer on two occasions – in 2014 and 2019 – and has helped the club to two Super League titles.

Notable mentions: Ade Gardner, Anthony Stewart

3. Jamie Lyon

Lyon signed ahead of the 2005 season from NRL side Paramatta Eels. He went on to score 22 tries and 42 goals in his first season and would go on to earn a reputation as one of Super League’s best overseas imports. In 2006, he and Saints were able to go up another level. In all competitions, he scored 22 tries and 163 goals in 32 matches as the club not only completed the treble, but also collected the ‘Team of the Year’ accolade at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards – the last rugby league club to do so. He returned to the NRL after that, signing with Manly Sea Eagles.

Notable mentions: Paul Newlove, Matt Gidley, Sean Hoppe

4. Mark Percival

Percival is another Saints academy graduate. He debuted in 2013 in a 20-12 defeat against Leeds Rhinos. Since then, he has scored 84 tries and 237 goals in 156 matches for the Saints, helping them to two Super League titles.

Mark Percival. Credit: News Images

Notable mentions: Willie Talau, Martin Gleeson, Kevin Iro

5. Francis Meli

Meli joined St Helens ahead of the 2006 from NRL side New Zealand Warriors. He scored 13 tries  in 27 games in his first season, as Saints became only the second Super League side to complete the treble. He would win another two Challenge Cups. Meli was at Saints for eight years, and ended his stint with 145 tries in 223 games, before joining Salford.

Notable mentions: Darren Albert, Anthony Sullivan, Alan Hunte

6. Tommy Martyn

Martyn signed for Saints ahead of the 1993 season from Oldham, and was an integral part of the team when Super League was formed. He helped Saints to back-t0-back Challenge Cups in 1996 and 1997, winning the Lance Todd Trophy in the latter victory against Bradford. He ended up spending ten years at the club, winning four Super League titles, three Challenge Cups and one World Club Challenge, before leaving to join Leigh Centurions in 2003.

Notable mentions: Leon Pryce, Jonny Lomax

7. Sean Long

Long signed for St Helens from Widnes in the middle of the 1997 season and would go on to earn cult status at Knowsley Road. He went on to score 124 tries and 812 goals across 12 years at the club, and was crucial in several big wins, including two Grand Finals. His penalty goal won the game against Bradford in 1999, and his drop-goal did the same against the Bulls in 2002. In 2000, he won the Man of Steel, as Saints claimed back-to-back titles. Over the course of his Saints career, he won four Super League titles, six Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges, including the treble in 2006.

Notable mentions: Bobbie Goulding, Kyle Eastmond

8. Alex Walmsley

Walmsley signed for the Saints from Championship side Batley Bulldogs ahead of the 2013 season, and has been an ever-present in the side. Since then, he has made over 100 appearances for the Saints, and helped them to two league titles, in 2014 and 2019. In 2015, he was nominated for the Man of Steel of award, but he lost out to Zak Hardaker.

Alex Walmsley. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

Notable mentions: Nick Fozzard, Maurie Fa’asavalu, Sonny Nickle, Apollo Perelini

9. Keiron Cunningham

Another Saints academy graduate, Cunningham spent his entire 16-year career with Saints. During that time, he won five Super League titles, seven Challenge Cup titles and two World Club Challenges. He announced his retirement in 2010. Fittingly, he scored the last ever try to be scored at Knowsley Road in a play-off game against Huddersfield Giants.

Notable mentions: James Roby, Mickey Higham

10. James Graham

Graham made his Saints debut in 2003 against Castleford Tigers. He was gradually given more game time and became a crucial part of the team. He helped win the treble in 2006, as well as three straight Challenge Cups, and was named Man of Steel and RLIF Prop of the Year in 2008. Eventually, he left the club to sign for NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs.

Notable mentions: Luke Thompson, Jason Cayless, Kyle Amor, Paul Anderson, David Fairleigh

11. Chris Joynt

Ex-skipper Joynt arrived at St Helens in 1992, and was a part of the side that played in the inaugural Super League campaign. He helped Saints to four Super League titles, three Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge. He was named captain in 1997, and lifted most of his trophies at St Helens as captain. In 2000, he was the scorer of the famous ‘Wide to West’ try against Bradford Bulls, as Saints won 16-11.

Notable mentions: Lee Gilmour, Tony Puletua

12. Jon Wilkin

Jon Wilkin. Copyright: News Images

Wilkin signed for Saints ahead of the 2003 season from Hull KR, going on to make over 400 appearances during a 16-year stay at the club. He helped St Helens to two Super League titles, three Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge. Wilkin was named captain in 2015, taking over from Paul Wellens but would relinquish the captaincy in 2018 to James Roby.

Notable mentions: Willie Manu, Mike Bennett, Tim Jonkers

13. Paul Sculthorpe

Sculthorpe signed for St Helens from Warrington Wolves ahead of the 1998 season and went pon to become a club legend. He made over 250 appearances for the club, helping them to four Super League titles, five Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges. Sculthorpe also won the Man of Steel award back-to-back in 2001 and 2002, becoming the first player to ever do so.

Notable mentions: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Chris Flannery

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