With the celebration of Australia Day, it’s only fair that we take a look at some of the best Australians to have played Super League on the UK shores. Here are five of the best.
He christened the top-flight for just five years, but Brett Hodgson had an immense impact at both Huddersfield and Warrington. After being made captain in his inaugural Huddersfield season, the fullback went on to win the Man of Steel, having guided the Giants to the Challenge Cup Final. Moving to Warrington, Hodgson won the Lance Todd trophy in the 2012 Challenge Cup Final as his Wolves side beat Leeds at Wembley. In just five seasons, the number one registered over 1,200 points – a staggering 240-plus points a season.
You can’t have a list of superior Australians without Pat Richards gracing the story. The rangy winger joined in 2006 and left at the end of 2013, with almost 2,500 points and nearly 250 appearances later. In that time, Richards won the 2010 and 2013 Super League Grand Finals as well as the 2011 Challenge Cup. Individually, however, his achievements were incredible; he was awarded the Man of Steel in 2010 and became the highest overseas points-scorer in the competition’s history. Richards even had a one-year spell with Catalans in 2016, playing over 20 times and amassing nearly 200 points.
He was at Saints for just two seasons, but Jamie Lyon’s impact was momentous. Signing from NRL side Parramatta Eels ahead of the 2005 season, the centre settled in seamlessly, winning the Man of Steel in that year with 22 tries and 42 goals. Lyon was critical in Saints’ treble-winning success the following season too, scoring 22 tries and kicking 163 goals in just 32 matches. He returned to the NRL at the end of 2006, but his mark had been well and truly left.
Spending the majority of his career in England, Adrian Vowles became something of a cult hero during his time at Castleford, making 148 appearances during three spells between 1997 and 2005. Of course, his best was 1999 when he was awarded the Man of Steel following a stellar year in which he helped the Tigers reach the semi-finals of the play-offs. The loose-forward made the move to Leeds in 2020, though it was another part of West Yorkshire where he finished that season: Wakefield, where he helped Trinity avoid relegation. One of the toughest imports to play Super League, Vowles will forever be remembered for his no-nonsense, heart-on-his-sleeve type play.
An Australian that spent all but three seasons of his professional career in England, Luke Dorn signed his name into the history books with the most Super League appearances by on overseas player. Moving to the UK in 2005, the fleet-footed playmaker registered 23 tries in his debut season for London, helping the capital club qualify for the play-offs. Following short spells at Salford and Castleford, Dorn returned to London – or Harlequins RL as the club was named then – in 2009 and became the club’s all-time leading try-scorer. The Jungle once more beckoned his name in 2014 with Dorn part of the side that made the Challenge Cup Final. Scoring 183 tries in his time in England, the Aussie retired at the end of 2016.