Top 10 flair players in Super League history

What is a flair player? Unsurprisingly, in my definition these stars are the players who bring flair to their team. They’re the men with every trick in the book, every skill down to a tee and are often worth the admission money alone as they carve open defences with sharp sidesteps or create space for others with flick passes or kicks adorned by spin. So, with that in mind, we’re looking at the top five flair players in Super League.

10. Graham Appo

Very few players wearing number five would find themselves selected in the Super League Dream Team at stand-off, but Graham Appo did in 2003. With such a wide skillset and so much pace, Appo could play virtually anywhere for Warrington but his best year came in 2003 when his maverick skills were utilised at stand-off as he scored 23 tries and even amassed 34 points in one game. Meanwhile, in defeat at Headingley that season he produced a sublime kick and chase before exchanging a delightful one-two on his way to the try line for a score which summarised his skills.

9. Jarrod Sammut

Sammut announced himself to Super League with a mesmeric try at the Magic Weekend against Bradford – in a moment which is still remembered by those in attendance that day. After seemingly knocking on, the scrum-half regathered the ball as it fell over the top of defenders before chipping over the fullback and regathering to score. A few years later when playing in a Bradford shirt against Catalans, he sealed a first half hat-trick with a similar try before showing even more flair in his celebration with a cartwheel in front of the French fans. Those too moments epitomise the immense skill he brought to every club he played for.

8. David Solomona

Regarded as one of the best offloaders in Super League history, the big second-rower had even more skills in his arsenal than popping the ball out of a tackle. Capable of sly dummies, the occasional piece of deft footwork and even a grubber kick he was a nightmare to deal with especially when you blended that with his size and power. Making matters worse he could even act as a first receiver and produce a smart short ball to carve open the defence.

7. Albert Kelly

Albert Kelly won’t be forgotten in Hull anytime soon. He enjoyed successful spells at both Hull KR and Hull FC in Super League before returning down under to star for Brisbane. Whilst in England, he brought undoubted skill to both Hull KR and Hull FC. For the Robins he was the main man and their go to attacking weapon. His running game would often carve open defences culminating in tries for himself or his teammates but equally he showed his expert kicking game on one occasion against Wakefield electing to go for a seismic bomb inside his own half which Craig Hall couldn’t deal with. As if by magic the ball landed in his hands and he streaked away for a try. Meanwhile, at Hull FC he continued to show great skill week on week as they pushed for a place in the upper echelons of the table. His flair and bag of tricks perfectly blended with the organisation of Marc Sneyd and Danny Houghton.

6. Brent Webb

It is often forgotten how skilful Brent Webb truly was. The fullback could’ve quite easily shone in the halves but given the extra space afforded by the fullback role, his skillset shone all the more. Capable of mesmeric cut out passes to send wingers in for tries, flick passes and a delicate one-handed grip which enabled him to jink and weave away from defenders, he was a brilliant attacking weapon for the Rhinos and was also proficient when it came to the rare banana kick, a skill we rarely see where the kicker uses the outside of his boot to produce a kick which curves in the air into space.

5. Joel Moon

We’ve never seen a centre quite like Joel Moon. His side step was devastating as was the low body position he would often utilise to pull away from tackles. This made him one of the most elusive runners we’ve ever seen in Super League and caused defences endless problems as did his signature flick pass which often created tries for Ryan Hall. His skills culminated in a move to the halves in 2017 where he scored a career best tally of tries and pulled off one of the most devastating dummies ever seen in Super League in victory over Hull FC and also demonstrated his superb kicking game which included one or two seismic bombs.

4. Jake Connor

Whether it’s a flick pass, a cut out ball, a grubber kick, an offload, a bomb, a 40/20, a sidestep or a delicate short ball Hull need to unlock a defence, they can rely on Jake Connor to produce it. The fullback has so many skills and so many physical attributes it’s been almost impossible to find his best position due to the different skills he can bring in every role he plays whether at centre, in the halves or now at fullback.

3. Ali Lauitiiti

Ali Lauitiiti could do things with the rugby ball no one else can. The way he held it at times made it appear more like a grape rather than full sized ball. Super League’s greatest ever offloader, he could also conjure flick passes, basketball like throws and sly dummies as he became yet another weapon in Leeds’ attacking arsenal. Paired with his size and strength, he was at times unstoppable scoring five tries in victory over Wakefield in 2005 as well as producing one of the finest, most skilful and most difficult put downs in the corner against Wigan in 2006.

2. Chris Sandow

When Chris Sandow arrived in Super League, most fans knew what to expect from the diminutive scrum-half but he certainly lived up to expectations with some silky performances for Warrington. He demonstrated some amazing footwork throughout his time at the Halliwell Jones as well as scoring multiple tries from chip over the tops including scores against Wakefield and Castleford. In that game against the Tigers he also used the banana kick I mentioned earlier to create a try for Tom Lineham in the corner. Throughout 2016 he continued to show great skill when kicking the ball with some delicate crossfield kicks and chip kicks to the corner to create tries for the likes of Lineham and Kevin Penny.

1. Rangi Chase

I suppose it was pretty obvious that Rangi Chase was going to receive the number one spot. The 2011 Man of Steel epitomises the term flair player due to the way he handled the ball and carved open defences. He was simply a joy to watch week on week. His famous dummy whilst playing for Salford in 2015 has been watched countless times but he did something similar in 2013 for Castleford away to Catalans. With so many dummies, flicks and tricks he was impossible to predict and was considered Super League’s best player in 2011.

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