A combined XIII of stars who have played for both Wigan and St Helens

Zach Holland

It stands as one of the deepest rivalries in rugby league – but there are a number of players who have been brave enough to wear the jerseys of both clubs. 

1: Gary Connolly

Although primarily a centre, Connolly also spent time at the number one position and as youngster began his career with St Helens in 1988.

The former Great Britain and Ireland international went on to make 133 appearances for the Saints while scoring 46 tries in the process. In 1993, he made a controversial move to Wigan where he cemented himself as a vital part of the side that went on to dominate throughout the 1990s and he went on to show his try scoring prowess with 136 tries in 309 games. There is no question that Connolly will go down as one of the finest British backs of his generation, with his exceptional defensive capabilities coupled together with a great eye for the line that made him a joy to watch.

2: Kevin Iro

Between 1987-91, the powerful New Zealander was a part of a Wigan side that won two RFL Championships and four Challenge Cups.

During that time span, Iro was a strong and dependable ball runner while proving to be an efficient try scorer with 60 in 100 appearances for the Lancashire side. In the latter stages of his career, he went on to sign for St Helens where his try scoring ability was just as effective and in three seasons, he scored 42 tries in 82 appearances while winning two Super League titles in the process.

3: Martin Gleeson

After beginning his career with Huddersfield, Gleeson signed for St Helens in 2002 and in three seasons he went on to win a Super League title and a Challenge Cup, while proving to be nifty scorer and a strong ball carrier with 30 tries in 68 appearances.

After spending the majority of his career with Warrington, the former Great Britain international made the move to Wigan in 2009 and whilst there he became a decisive factor in the Warriors’ 2010 Super League title win after scoring a brace of tries in the Grand Final against Saints.

4: Doug Greenall

During the late 1940s and most of the 1950s, Greenall was one of the best and toughest centres to take to the pitch.

Despite being much smaller in weight to most in his position, he became well known and feared for his hard-hitting tackling technique. In a staggering 487 appearances for the Saints, he went on to score 188 tries as well as winning two RFL Championships (1952-53 and 1958-59) and a Challenge Cup (1955-56). Even though he is massively more associated with St Helens, Greenall did have a small stint with Wigan towards the end of his career.

5: Alf Ellaby

The Saints legend will go down as one of British rugby league’s greatest and most prolific try scorers. In two separate spells with the club, he scored 280 tries in 289 appearances.

During that time, he won one RFL Championship, two RFL Lancashire Leagues and one Lancashire Cup. In between his spells with the Saints, Ellaby spent four years with Wigan where he again showed his try scoring prowess with 90 tries in 103 appearances.

6: Sean Long

Despite going on to be one of St Helens’ greatest performers over the course of the Super League era, Long actually began his career with hometown club Wigan before moving on to Widnes in what would both be short stints.

However, the Saints would acquire Long’s services in 1997 and the rest as they say is history. Between 1997-09, Long cemented himself as one of the best scrum halves and goal kickers in the competition alongside proving to be a born match winner. In his 13 years there, he won three Super League titles and four Challenge Cups, three of which he was crowned the Lance Todd Trophy winner thanks to his man of the match displays in the finals.

7: Bobbie Goulding

It seems only fitting that Long partners the man he would end up replacing at St Helens in Goulding.

Like his eventual successor, Goulding started his rugby league career with Wigan, where he played in 44 games and scored 11 tries. During his time there though he would find it hard to secure a prominent first team spot ahead of the likes of Andy Gregory and Shaun Edwards and eventually he would make his move to Leeds in 1991. After brief spells with the West Yorkshire club and Widnes, the former Great Britain international signed for St Helens in 1994 and whilst there he would become one of the elite number sevens in the league. In his five years there, he won a Super League title and two Challenge Cups as well as tallying more than 1,200 points in 117 appearances for the club.

8: Andy Platt

After rising to prominence with St Helens, where he earned his first Great Britain cap, Platt made the move Wigan in 1988 where he went on to star with his strong ball carrying in the Lancashire club’s run of dominance over the early 1990s.

Between 1988-94, he featured in five RFL Championship winning seasons as well as six Challenge Cup wins to go on top of claiming the 1993 Man of Steel award.

9: Micky Higham

After impressing with Leigh at the turn of the millennium, Higham signed for St Helens in 2000 and featured off the bench in the Saints’ 2002 Super League Grand Final win over Bradford and the 2003 World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters.

In four years with the club, he made over 100 appearances while scoring 35 tries. By 2005, he eventually made the switch over to Wigan and spent three seasons there, featuring just short of 100 times for the Warriors while scoring 17 tries.

10: Bryn Hargreaves

During the early stages of his career with Wigan, Hargreaves was seen as a promising young forward who had the potential to become a first-team regular for the Warriors, but it would never properly materialise.

After struggling to nail down a starting role, he eventually signed for St Helens where he featured off the interchange in the Saints’ 2007 World Club Challenge victory over Brisbane. By 2008, Hargreaves was a first choice front-rower alongside James Graham and went on to appear in Saints’ Challenge Cup final victory over Hull FC.

11: Joe Greenwood

The Saddleworth Rangers junior began his professional career with St Helens where he impressed massively in the back-row after scoring 26 tries in 75 appearances between 2012-17.

After a spell in the NRL, Greenwood made his return to Super League with Wigan in 2018 and was a presence in the Warriors’ 2018 Grand Final win over Warrington.

12: Lee Gilmour

During his career, Gilmour was one of the most consistent back-rowers in the league and saw plenty of success along the way.

The productive second-rower joined Wigan in 1997 and he went on to appear in two Super League Grand Finals, winning one in 1998 before making a switch to Bradford. After another successful stint with the Bulls, the former Great Britain international joined St Helens and was a prominent feature in a Saints side that saw plenty of Challenge Cup success in the mid to late 2000s as well as winning the elusive treble in 2006.

13: Mark Flanagan

The son of former Great Britain international Terry Flanagan was another player on this list who began his professional career with Wigan.

As a highly promising youngster, Flanagan impressed during his time in the Warriors reserve side before being called up to make his debut in 2009. After a brief spell in the first-team, Flanagan made a move to the NRL with the Wests Tigers before returning to Super League with St Helens in 2011. In 2014, he won his first Super title after beating former club Wigan in the Grand Final.

Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.

Listen to The Final Hooter podcast, featuring exclusive interviews, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on Apple Podcasts.

More on site

Quiz: Can you name England team that lost to New Zealand in 2013 World Cup semi-final?

My Set of Six: with Wigan forward Morgan Smithies featuring Sean O’Loughlin & Headingley