Identifying the top signings of each club over a period of 25 years is difficult to say the least.
What criteria do we base it on? Rather than individual points scored, we base our choice on the impact each signing had on their respective clubs.
Here are St Helens’ top five Super League signings.
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.
A cult hero in St Helens, Sean Long moved from Widnes midway through the 1997 season, racking up 124 tries and 812 goals over a period of 12 years. A Man of Steel winner in 2000, the halfback claimed four Super League titles, six Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges in his time at Knowsley Road. Ever the opportunist, Long could change the game in a matter of seconds.
Sculthorpe signed for St Helens from Warrington Wolves ahead of the 1998 season and went on 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.
After impressing for Samoa in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Maurie Fa’asavalu made the switch from the 15-man code to the 13-a-side game with St Helens. A big hit amongst the terraces at Knowsley Road for his barnstorming runs and hard-hitting defence, Fa’asavalu became one of Saints’ greatest ever imports, winning one Grand Final and three Challenge Cups. All in all, the Samoan made 164 appearances for the Lancashire club over a period of seven years.
Making the move to St Helens ahead of the 2006 campaign, Francis Meli became a household name on Saints’ wing for eight seasons. 145 tries in 223 appearances, three Challenge Cups, one Grand Final and one World Club Challenge later and Meli had written his name into Saints’ folklore. A winger built like a forward, the former Samoan and New Zealand international was a threat to all defences and certainly made an impact whenever he took to the field.