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.