Say the name ‘Paul Sculthorpe’ and instantly any rugby league fan knows who you are talking about.
Having won everything possible as a rugby league star for St Helens, with a total of four Grand Finals, four Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges, as well as becoming the first (and currently only) player to win the Man of Steel Award on two consecutive occasions, Sculthorpe also conquered the international scene with England and Great Britain.
The talented loose-forward and playmaker made 27 appearances for Great Britain between 1996 and 2006 and earned four England caps in that time too.
There’s perhaps no wonder, therefore, that Sculthorpe was in high demand for a stint in the NRL – only for him to have two major reasons not to go.
“I had two approaches from Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers,” Sculthorpe told Serious About Rugby League.
“It was very different back then, financially back then Super League was actually stronger.
“We weren’t strictly salary capped back then, and I had signed five years deals at Saints so I was always under contract.”
The 44-year-old also revealed that he didn’t have to prove himself Down Under anyway.
“Financially it wasn’t better to go over there and that’s why Super League could attract big name Aussies at the time like Trent Barrett and Jamie Lyon.
“But, the main reason I didn’t go is me and my wife had just had my son, we would be taking him away from family and grandparents and we are very close to our family, so that was a big decision.
“It also wasn’t a case of trying to prove myself in the NRL, because I think I proved myself at international level.”