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!
Vainikolo is a former League and Union played who was born in New Zealand. He played for the Bradford Bulls for five years between 2002-07, making his Bulls debut in the 2002 World Club Challenge against the Newcastle Knights
The rampaging winger scored a try in Bradford’s World Club series victory. His first season was disrupted by injury, although he did go onto score 13 tries in 24 appearances. In the 2002 season, Vainikolo played on the wing in Bradford’s Grand Final loss to St Helens.
2003 was a bit of a better year for Vainikolo and the Bulls; he scored 28 tries in 32 appearances and won the Grand Final, beating the Wigan Warriors. In 2004, he broke all Super League records scoring 36 tries in just 26 games, including 5 hat-tricks.
That year they beat the Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge but lost to Leeds in the Grand Final. A third Old Trafford appearance in three straight seasons isn’t bad going though!
The Kiwi international went onto spend another three years in Bradford. He did though, decline an offer from Gloucester Rugby Union club to stay on in Super League. In 2007, Vainikolo decided enough was enough in Rugby League and took up the offer from Gloucester and switched codes.
However, it is fair to say Lesley Vainikolo was a very successful winger in Super League, appearing in numerous Grand Final encounter. He will always be a fan favourite and always a figure people will remember from his time with the Bulls under the guidance of head coach Brian Noble at the time. Not many people would ever forget the sight of big Lesley Vainikolo.
Now for a more modern pick, Leeds Rhinos’ Matt Parcell. The Leeds hooker came over to England in 2017. Leeds struggle to play well as a team without Parcell in their starting 13. He is a fantastic asset to Brian McDermott’s team at hooker and I am sure he is one of the first names on the team sheet come game day.
He is in his second season with the Rhinos now and since joining, he has already won a Grand Final, sometthing most overseas exports can only dream of.
I would say this man is branded the best hooker in Super League, alongside the likes of James Roby and Daryl Clark. Many expect that there is yet more to come from Matt Parcell as a Rhinos man; nevertheless, he has been a revelation for the Blue and Yellow so far in his Leeds career.
Barba is a man we have to mention as he has been a complete breath of fresh air in Super League so far this season. He came to Super League from French rugby union side Toulon, and before that, left the Cronulla Sutherland-Sharks on the worse possible note with a drugs ban hanging over him.
As soon as his ban was served, he hasn’t looked back and he has propelled the Saints to top of the table in the Super League table, winning 14 and losing just twice. In his St Helens career so far he has scored 17 tries, which is a very impressive record. T
he Saints number 23 is another player who has been a revelation for his club, lifting them from being a side finishing fourth or fifth to one on their way to clinching the League Leaders Shield and appearing at Old Trafford.
In an exclusive BBC interview with St Helens captain, Jon Wilkin, Wilkin said he is a brilliant professional on and off the field and a player who Saints are lucky to have. No team is made by one man, but he is just a player who oozes quality and of course someone of Barba’s ability is always going to boost a group of already good players.
It’s inevitable that Barba isn’t going to stay in Super League for too long; he’s just far too good. That makes it even more imperative that we appreciate his skill and relish what could be his last season gracing the English competition.
This concludes our top eight picks. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know down below in the comments.
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