An outrageous 13 who have starred in State of Origin and Super League including Warrington Wolves trio

Aaron Bower

The 2024 State of Origin series gets underway this week: and we’ve delved into the archives to remember some of the greats of the game who have ticked two exclusive boxes.

Only a handful of men have featured in both the Origin series and in Super League – but some of them rank among the greatest players ever to play the game. One of them is an Immortal, no less. Here’s our pick of a Dream 13 of players to have starred in both Super League and State of Origin.. and it’s a beauty.

1. Matt Bowen (Wigan Warriors)

Matty Bowen Wigan Warriors Alamy

Starting with one of the most recognisable NRL players of the last 20 years – and a man who lit up Super League for the two seasons he was in the competition with Wigan Warriors.

Bowen arrived in England with a fair amount of pressure; after all, he was the direct replacement for the outgoing Sam Tomkins. But he certainly handled that pressure, guiding Wigan to Old Trafford in both of his seasons in Super League, though he came up short on both occasions.

At Origin level, he was capped 10 times by Queensland.

2. Matt King (Warrington Wolves)

There were some very, very good candidates to feature in the outside backs – and our three-quarter line begins with a man capped ten times by his country and nine times by New South Wales: former Warrington superstar King.

King had four fantastic seasons in Super League with the Wire, scoring well over a try every other game in his 100-plus appearances. He helped them win the Challenge Cup in both 2009 and 2010 before returning to Australia to finish his career with South Sydney.

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3. Greg Inglis (Warrington Wolves)

Inglis during the match

Okay, okay. Inglis‘ Super League career wasn’t exactly, well, good. Three appearances, two tries is hardly the stuff of legend.

But given what he achieved earlier his career, particularly in his 32 appearances in Origin for Queensland, Inglis certainly qualifies for this side. He played in 11 Origin series for the Maroons and lost only one, an astonishing record. He was one of the finest players of his generation without question.

4. Jamie Lyon (St Helens)

It’s fair to say that Lyon didn’t arrive with quite the hype in Super League as some of the other names in this side – but he left a legend of the competition without question.

Lyon had already made five New South Wales appearances before signing at St Helens in 2005. In his first year in Super League, he won the Man of Steel award and almost instantly became regarded as one of the most impressive centres in the game. The following year, he was pivotal in helping the Saints sweep the board and win the treble in 2006.

He then returned to Australia in 2007 with Manly, where he made another five appearances for the Blues.

5. Brett Dallas (Wigan Warriors)

Capped five times by Australian and ten for Queensland in the early part of his career, Dallas arrived in England in 2000 with Wigan Warriors as a real high-profile acquisition.

He spend seven seasons in England with the Warriors, scoring over 100 tries in nearly 200 appearances. He helped the club win the Challenge Cup in 2002, and is still regarded as one of Wigan’s best imports in the summer era.

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6. Allan Langer (Warrington Wolves)

Allan Langer

Langer has an exclusive place in history – he remains the only player in history to be picked for Origin while actively playing for a Super League club.

He arrived in England in 2000 with Warrington regarded as one of the game’s greatest players of all-time, having played over 30 times for Queensland and 24 times for Australia. And in 2001, then-Queensland coach Wayne Bennett announced he was picking Langer for the Maroons in the decider of the 2001 series despite featuring in England, which caused significant uproar back Down Under.

But Langer proved his doubters wrong, setting up two tries and scoring one himself to lead Queensland to victory.

7. Andrew Johns (Warrington Wolves)

Johns may have only played three games for Super League – but there’s no way we could leave an Immortal of the game off this team!

Johns signed at Warrington in late-2005 on a short-term deal, with Newcastle Knights agreeing to let him head to Super League to experience English rugby league for a short stint. He played over 20 times for both New South Wales and Australia throughout a decorated career.

8. Mark O’Meley (Hull FC)

Mark O'Meley

One of the NRL’s true enforcers in the early 2000s, O’Meley played ten times at Origin level for New South Wales and was capped 15 times for Australia before making the move to Super League in 2010 with Hull FC.

And although he wasn’t able to bring any silverware to the MKM Stadium during his four seasons with Hull, he certainly established a reputation as one of their finest imports in recent times.

9. Danny Buderus (Leeds Rhinos)

Buderus is one of the modern era’s great hookers – as he underlined when he arrived in Super League in 2009 after signing with Leeds Rhinos.

Buderus, who made over 20 appearances for both New South Wales and Australia throughout an incredible playing career, was a firm favourite at Headingley during his three seasons in West Yorkshire. He helped them win the Super League title during his final season at the Rhinos in 2011 and also featured in two Challenge Cup finals.

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10. Willie Mason (Hull KR/Catalans Dragons)

One of the NRL’s most high-profile and often controversial forwards, Mason’s short stint in England with Hull KR remains unforgettable: not least to Robins fans who remember his arrival in Super League in 2011.

However, just six months into a three-year deal, Mason was released by the Robins after it emerged he was unable to secure the Tongan passport that would have allowed him to be removed from their overseas quota. Despite feverish speculation he would return to the NRL, he signed for French rugby union team Toulon.

He did return to the NRL before coming back to Super League for one season with Catalans, and ended his playing days with 24 caps for Australia, and 13 appearances in Origin for New South Wales.

11. Steve Menzies (Bradford Bulls/Catalans Dragons)

Few players made as big an impact on the game as the legendary Steve Menzies. He broke a plethora of records during an incredible playing career with Manly Sea Eagles, before moving to Super League in 2009 with Bradford Bulls.

Menzies, capped 20 times by the Blues in Origin throughout his career, made equally as big an impact in Super League with the Bulls. He even continued to play until he almost reached the age of 40 after spending three seasons in the south of France with Catalans Dragons.

12. Craig Fitzgibbon (Hull FC)

Fitzgibbon is one of the finest players to have represented Sydney Roosters in the NRL, making almost 250 appearances for the club during a near ten-year stint with the club. He was also 19 times by Australia and made 11 appearances for New South Wales before switching to Super League in 2010 with Hull FC.

Fitzgibbon made over 40 appearances with the Black and Whites in his two seasons in England.

13. Greg Bird (Catalans Dragons)

One of the most talented players to have emerged in rugby league for years, Bird had two stints in Super League with Catalans Dragons – but was initially supposed to begin his career in this part of the world with Bradford Bulls. However, he was denied a working visa to come to England, meaning he eventually signed for Catalans in 2009.

Bird spent one season in England before returning to the NRL with Gold Coast Titans, where he added to his representative honours with appearances for both New South Wales and Australia. He finished his career back in Super League with Catalans, spending three more years in Perpignan before retiring in 2019.

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