Throwback Thursday: St Helens score from tactically heading the ball forward

There have been some bizarre moments in our great sport over the years, but St Helens definitely hold the title for the most unconventional try.

Back in November 1990, before the days of Super League, Saints were taking on Sheffield Eagles in a top division match at Knowsley Road.

With 55 minutes on the clock, Saints attacked the Eagles line looking to add more points when they produced a moment everyone on the terraces that day will never forget.

As the ball landed in the hands of big prop John Harrison, he used every one of his neck muscles to head the ball out of his hands and into the in-goal area.

His perfectly waited looping header was chased and touched down by George Mann and the try was awarded to the bewilderment of Sheffield’s players.

There were no rules to prevent teams heading the ball forward at the time and Saints head coach Mike McLennan confirmed that they had planned it before the game.

Incredibly, prior to the move, the Saints players asked referee Gerry Kershaw if they were okay to attempt it, to which he replied: “Yes, no problem.”

Following the match, which Saints won 34-17, the incident caused much controversy and heading the ball forward was subsequently outlawed days later.

Watch the extraordinary incident below, with commentary from Clive Tyldesley.

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