An ultimate 17 of the oldest players in Super League history, including Wigan Warriors and St Helens icons

Ben Olawumi
Sean O'Loughlin, Gareth Thomas, James Roby

From left to right: Sean O'Loughlin, Gareth Thomas & James Roby all played in Super League over the age of 36

We see absolute stalwarts of the game hang up their boots at the end of every campaign, and most have been professional rugby league players for almost two decades, which is just remarkable.

We’ve challenged ourselves to put together an ultimate 17 based on Super League’s veterans, scouring the history books to find out who the oldest players in the top flight in summer era have been/are, and making a squad out of them.

If we’ve missed anyone you can think of, let us know who you think we should’ve included!

1. Brad Davis

Brad Davis
Brad Davis in action for Castleford Tigers in 1999

We know Davis were predominantly a half-back or hooker, but we had to shoehorn him in, so he’s starting at fullback for us! Davis, now 56, accrued over 300 appearances donning the shirts of Nottingham City, Huddersfield, York, Wakefield and Castleford in this country, as well as Villeneuve Leopards over in France.

His last Super League game came in his second stint with the Tigers on September 16, 2006 away against Wakefield aged 38. The Australian went on to coach both Villeneuve and Cas before moving into rugby union with Bath, Ospreys and London Irish.

2. Ryan Hall

One of only two active players in this team and the only one currently active in Super League, Hull KR winger Hall is 36. It’s already been confirmed he’ll play on at 37 having agreed a deal to return to boyhood club Leeds Rhinos in 2025.

A six-time Grand Final winner with the Rhinos, the ex-Sydney Roosters ace became Super League’s all-time top try-scorer earlier this month, and is also England’s record appearance (47) and try-scorer (40) on the international stage.

STATS: Ryan Hall’s standing among rugby league all-time scorers after breaking Super League record

3. Keith Senior

Keith Senior
Keith Senior pictured in action for Leeds Rhinos in April 2011

Another Great Britain and England international in Senior played on until he was 35, with the last of his 365 appearances for Leeds coming on May 20, 2011 away against Harlequins. Now 48, the legendary centre was a four-time winner at Old Trafford with the Rhinos, and had already won the Challenge Cup with Sheffield Eagles in 1998 prior to moving to Headingley.

Senior would likely have played on even longer had Crusaders’ demise not occurred. He had agreed to join the Welsh outfit on a two-year deal from 2012, before they withdrew from Super League amid a whole host of financial issues.

4. Gareth Thomas

Sarn-born Thomas, who will turn 50 next month, is an absolute stalwart in terms of rugby union and we regularly see him on our TV screens when there’s any sort of 15-a-side action going. But people often forget he dipped his toe into the world of rugby league at the end of his career with Crusaders.

Having joined in 2010, he played for Wales’ rugby league side in the European Cup at the end of that season, and stuck with Crusaders for the following year as well. 34 appearances in the 13-a-side-code in total, with the last of the 28 in Super League coming at home against Hull KR on July 9, 2011 at the age of 36, just a few weeks prior to his 37th birthday.

5. Jermaine McGillvary

Jermaine McGillvary
Jermaine McGillvary in action for hometown club Huddersfield Giants in 2023

The youngest member of our team is McGillvary, who is still active today at 36, but in the Championship with high-flying Wakefield Trinity. He only moved to Belle Vue ahead of this season following his departure from hometown club Huddersfield, who the winger had featured 312 times for.

The veteran flier – a League Leaders’ Shield winner with the Giants in 2013 – has 21 international caps to his name earned between England and Great Britain. His last Super League appearance, at least to date, came on September 22, 2023 at home against Warrington Wolves aged 35.

RELATED: An ultimate 13 of rugby league players born in Huddersfield, including Jermaine McGillvary

6. Kevin Brown

11-time England international Brown, who is now 39, accrued 419 appearances across all competitions for Super League clubs, only dipping outside of the top flight for a loan stint at Leigh – then-Centurions – in 2019.

He hung up his boots in 2021 following a two-year stint with Salford, with his last Super League appearance coming that year on September 4, 2021 in Newcastle at Magic Weekend against Castleford.

MY ULTIMATE TEAM: Kevin Brown names his best 1-17 including England, Wigan Warriors, St Helens stars

7. Tommy Leuluai

Tommy Leuluai
Wigan Warriors’ Tommy Leuluai pictured during the final competitive appearance of his career in September 2022

40-time Kiwi international Leuluai will celebrate his 39th birthday this weekend coming, and will hope to do so on the back of a Wigan victory against another of his former clubs in London Broncos, now an assistant to Matt Peet at the Warriors, where he enjoyed a decade of service as a player split between a return to the NRL with the New Zealand Warriors.

The Auckland native, a two-time Super League champion as a player, only retired at the end of 2022. His last outing in Super League therefore came as a 37-year-old in the Cherry and Whites’ shock play-off semi-final defeat to Leeds on September 16, 2022.

8. Adrian Morley

An absolute legend of the game, 47-year-old Morley made his professional debut back in 1995 for Leeds. He went on to spend six years with the Roosters in the NRL, and having tasted Grand Final success with them Down Under, he was crowned a Super League champion in a short loan with Bradford Bulls in 2005.

Accordingly, he became the first British player to win a Grand Final in both the NRL and Super League. With 60 international appearances on his CV, the forward didn’t hang up his boots until 2015 at the end of a spell with hometown club Salford. Morley’s last Super League game came at the age of 38 on September 27, 2015 in a Qualifiers game away against Hull KR.

If we’re not counting Qualifiers, his last Super League outing came the month prior on August 16 at home against Widnes Vikings, already 38 by then.

9. James Roby

James Roby
James Roby is given a guard of honour by his St Helens team-mates and the club’s staff following the last home game of his career in September 2023

The G.O.A.T. St Helens legend Roby is the most recently retired star in this side having only hung his boots up at the end of last season, never donning any other club’s shirt in a career which spanned a remarkable 20 seasons. A six-time Super League champion and a four-time Challenge Cup winner, the hooker also made 43 international appearances, including 36 for England.

Roby’s last Super League game was Saints’ play-off semi-final defeat away against Catalans Dragons on October 6, 2023. He was 37 then, and a little over a month away from his 38th birthday. After retiring, as was inevitable, he took up a role behind the scenes with the Red V – named their leadership, culture and performance coach.

RELATED: Matty Smith builds perfect player from five key attributes, including James Roby

10. Jamie Peacock

2003 Man of Steel Peacock made over 400 top flight appearances, winning a whopping 22 major honours during a highly-decorated career, all of which gleaned in the colours of Bradford and Leeds. The 46-year-old received an MBE while he was still playing too, for his services to the sport.

With a glut of representative appearances for Great Britain, England and Yorkshire also on his CV, the Bramley-born stalwart eventually hung up his boots at the end of the 2016 season following a brief return to the field with Hull KR – who he only donned a shirt for four times, all of which in The Qualifiers.

KR ended up being relegated via those Qualifiers. If we’re counting those four appearances, the last of them came on October 1, 2016 for the Robins against Salford at Craven Park in their Million Pound Game defeat. Peacock was 38 then. His most recent appearance prior to those Qualifiers was for Leeds in the 2015 Grand Final on October 10, beating Wigan at the age of 37.

11. Gareth Ellis

Gareth Ellis
Gareth Ellis pictured during the warm-up ahead of the final Super League appearance of his career in August 2020

Another man to represent England, Great Britain and Yorkshire was Ellis, who actually retired twice – spending 18 months out of the game before returning to make 28 further appearances for Hull FC between 2019 and 2020. That took his total career appearances up to close to 500, when you include the 75 he made in the NRL for Wests Tigers.

A two-time Super League champion with hometown club Leeds, Ellis’ last Super League appearance came for Hull on August 30, 2020 against Huddersfield, a game played at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium behind closed doors during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The forward was 39 then!

He actually played one more game after that, a fortnight later in the Sixth Round of the Challenge Cup as Hull beat Castleford, that game again held behind closed doors due to the pandemic at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium. Ellis was still 39, with his birthday having come a couple of months prior in May. He is now back at FC in a coaching role following a short spell away.

12. Steve Menzies

Manly-born Menzies – who represented New South Wales in State of Origin and played for the Kangaroos on the international front – made over 300 first-grade appearances Down Under before rounding off his playing career in Super League, first joining Bradford and eventually moving on to Catalans.

Now 50, he pips Ellis to the oldest Super League player in our side, and we think ever, by about six months. Menzies was 39 and nine months in his last appearance for the Dragons on September 13, 2013 away against Hull FC in the play-offs. The Australian has regularly made media appearances Down Under since his retirement.

13. Sean O’Loughlin

Sean O'Loughlin
Sean O’Loughlin pictured during the 2020 Super League Grand Final, the last appearance of his career

Like a few in this team, O’Loughlin (OBE) was a one-club man, with every one of his 459 appearances at club level coming for hometown club Wigan, where he is now one of Matt Peet’s assistants alongside former team-mate Tommy Leuluai. The loose forward, a four-time Super League champion, was named in the Dream Team eight times, winning 10 major honours in total.

O’Loughlin – now 41 – also represented England, Great Britain and Lancashire, and hung up his boots following the Warriors’ Grand Final defeat to St Helens on November 27, 2020. That game was played behind closed doors at Hull FC’s MKM Stadium during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the stalwart had turned 38 just three days prior.


Below, we’ve named a four-man bench and in brackets beside each of the four names is the age at which they made their final Super League appearances..

Jamie Jones-Buchanan (38), Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (37), Micky Higham (37), Andy Lynch (37)

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