Over time, there have been many overseas players wanting to come and test themselves in the English Super League. From powerhouse wingers to elegant halves, we have seen all kinds of players make the trip across the globe. Here’s a look at our eight greatest overseas exports.
Andrew “Joey” Johns
The first player that came to mind straight away is Andrew Johns. The Former Newcastle Knights man came over to England in 2005 to play with the Warrington Wolves. His time in Super League was short lived but his ambition to take Warrington to the Grand Final in 2005 was inspirational.
On Johns’ debut against Leeds, he performed incredibly well and made a very good first impression. People warmed to him instantly and he was a fan favourite of the Halliwell Jones faithful straight away. If he had stayed longer, one may wonder whether he could’ve gone on to become one of the most talented Super League players of all time.
Jamie Lyon is an Australian centre, who also played as a Five-Eighth. Lyon played for two clubs in Australia; Parramatta Eels and Manly Warringah Sea-Eagles. For the Eels, Lyon played 70 games, scoring 36 tries.
He then moved to Super League and played for St Helens, where he made 63 appearances, playing between 2005 and 2006. During his time with the Saints, he won a Challenge Cup and a Grand Final, beating both Huddersfield and Hull F.C.
Lyon was a very successful centre and was Saints’ number one goal kicker at one point as well. Again, like Johns, Lyon was pretty much immediately a fans favourite at Knowsley Road. I would say Lyon was one of the best three or four Australians we have ever seen in Super League.
His career with Saints was second to none, and he won everything there was to win in the English game. Lyon truly was one of the best ever players for Saints and was one of the most successful imports into the English game.
Stacey Jones is New Zealand born and had the opportunity to represent the Warriors on two separate occasions, firstly between 1995-2005 and then, after a break in Super League with French outfit Catalans Dragons, he went back there in 2009 and played with them until the end of that year.
His time in Perpignan between 2006-2007 was very eye-catching. He made 45 appearances, scoring 12 tries. Not only was he an impressive half-back, his presence in the South of France really boosted the profile of the club as they were really starting to try and make waves in the English game.
Jones was one of the original members of the New Zealand Warriors team and, when he announced he was to leave them for Catalans, it was tough news for some fans and the club to take. He didn’t make too much of an impression in terms of silverware though, his only real success being reaching the Challenge Cup Final in 2007.
Nonetheless, the profile of someone like Jones coming to the Dragons and proving to be a success there has laid a platform for others to come from overseas and, to some extent, has helped shape the Dragons team that we see today.
Clint Greenshields was another one who came to Super League and took up the challenge with the Catalans Dragons. Signing for them in the year Stacey Jones left, Greenshields endured a long stay in the South of France, plying his trade in the south of France for five years.
He was named in the 2008 Super League Dream Team, beating outstanding names such as Paul Wellens and Brent Webb to make it into the side as the Fullback. Greenshields was also a front runner for the Man of Steel award that year, so its fair to say he was a hit!
This man, Allan Langer is probably the most successful player of all time to come over to play in Super League.
Langer captained the Warrington Wolves in the 2000 season, where he took them to within one game of the Challenge Cup final in that year. In the same year, Langer was named in the Order of Australia, for services to Rugby League as a player at club and international level and as a supporter of various charities.
Allan Langer was also the only Australian player to play in Super League who played and coached in the State of Origin, where he played and coached the Queensland Maroons. He will forever go down in history as one of the greats of the Warrington Wolves and it is no wonder that he is such an oncon of Australian game down under.
Hear about two current Super League stars, one of the greatest wingers of all time and another Catalans superstar on page two!