Super League legend Micky Higham has selected his dream team from players who he played alongside during his career for loverugbyleague.com.
The hooker started his professional career at hometown club Leigh Centurions back in 1999, scoring 22 tries in 45 games. He left the club in 2001 to join St Helens, where he made a big impact in four seasons, scoring 35 times in 116 appearances for the Saints.
Higham crossed Billinge Hill in 2006 though as he joined rivals Wigan Warriors, for whom he played nearly 100 games for before joining neighbours Warrington Wolves.
The 37-year-old then spent six years at Warrington, playing 174 games for the club and became a fan favourite at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Midway through the 2015 season, Higham wanted to finish his career at boyhood club Leigh and moved back. He guided the Centurions to promotion to Super League and was captain of the club.
Higham also made a big name for himself on the international stage, earning eight caps for Great Britain and England.
Higham has recently retired and will join the Centurions’ Community team. He has given his all-time dream team from players who he played with to loverugbyleague.com.
1 PAUL WELLENS
MH: “He was just Mr Reliable. He was safe as houses under the high ball and was strong and quick. Some people said he wasn’t quick but he popped up at the right times, scored a lot of tries and saved a lot too. So for me, he was a class player.”
2 JOEL MONAGHAN
MH: “Joel came over to Warrington having had a little bit of trouble in Australia but he was a Test winger and straight away, he showed his class. I’ve never seen a bloke jump so high for the ball. He always finished well and was strong. He was an out and out finisher and was a great bloke as well.”
3 MARTIN GLEESON
MH: “I actually had the pleasure of playing with him at Lancashire Under-18s and you could tell then that he was going to go onto big things in the game. I played with him at St Helens and he was a great signing for us. He fitted in straight away and he had really natural footwork, he was in and out as soon as you gave him the ball. He always made the tries for the wingers as well, I think if I was his winger that I would have scored 35 tries! But he was defensively strong as well and on his day, he was one of the best centres in the world.”
4 RYAN ATKINS
MH: “He got some recognition for a couple of years in the dream team and on the international stage but he doesn’t get talked about in the way he should really because when he is fit and confident, he is one of the best in Super League. You only have to look at the size of the bloke, he is an absolute athlete. He is like Anthony Joshua, he is absolutely massive! He is fast and strong. He wanted to learn more when he came to Warrington and Tony Smith helped him and is a really skillful centre now. He hasn’t always got the recognition he deserves in my eyes.”
5 DARREN ALBERT
MH: “He had sheer pace. You could just get the ball to him and he would be away down the touchline. Some of the finishing he used to do was unbelievable and he scored a lot of long range tries. You don’t see them as much anymore but he would score a lot of full-lengthers plus he was a good support player, he would come in the middle from the wing and got us on the front foot with carries out of yardage. He was very fit as well, we would do the bleep test and just walk off like it was nothing after it!”
6 LEE BRIERS
MH: “Whenever I played against Lee, it was always ‘get at Lee Briers and block him out of the game’ but until you played with him, you didn’t realise how good he was. He had a world class Rugby League brain. I thought Tony Smith took him to another level in the back end of his career – he was class. He was always two plays in front of everybody else and had good game management as well.”
7 SEAN LONG
MH: “My halves are the two mavericks of Rugby League! They were really good players though. Sean was an absolute character and was a really good professional when he played and trained. When it came to big games, he used to really step up and was hard as nails. He would take the ball in, get banged, but then get back up and get on with it. He was world class, he tore the Aussies apart a few times as well.”
8 ADRIAN MORLEY
MH: “He wasn’t bad was he? I was first introduced to Moz at Great Britain, when he was still over playing in Australia. He was taking the NRL by storm and came to Warrington and is one of the best captains that I have ever played under. He was just inspirational. If we were ever in trouble, he would just put his hand up and cart the ball out and get us on the front foot. He was hard and super fit, I loved training with him because he pushed me to my limit.”
9 KEIRON CUNNINGHAM
MH: “I was just a kid breaking through with my first proper professional club and what better way to learn your trade than under him. He showed me the ropes and was unstoppable at times. I learned so much from him and it was a pleasure to play alongside him. We worked well together at Saints and he was a brilliant nine.”
10 CHRIS HILL
MH: “He churns out big minutes and the things he does in them minutes are quality. He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because the amount of work he gets through is great and he does it every week. I’ve never seen him have a bad game! If you ever see him off the field, he is so respectful and is a proper gentleman as well. He is a leader and does all of his talking on the field.”
11 BEN WESTWOOD
MH: “He never takes a backwards step and is just a machine. He is an absolute monster! Once he crosses that white line with the shirt on, he is a warrior and would be the first on my teamsheet every week.”
12 GAZ HOCK
MH: “I played at a few different clubs with Gaz and at international level but on his day, he was unplayable. He was easily one of the best back-rowers in the world. A few injuries kept him back sometimes which is a shame and his suspension didn’t help but he was a brilliant player nonetheless. He tormented the Aussies and Kiwis a few times and I think if that move to Parramatta came off, I think he would have proved to be a big hit over there.”
13 PAUL SCULTHORPE (C)
MH: “I saw him last week and he looks like he could still play! He is in better nick than ever but he was an unbelievable player back in the day. You could play him at six or at loose forward and you don’t win back-to-back Man of Steels for nothing do you? He was fast, strong, fit, had good skills and could kick. He had it all did Sculy and was another one who performed at international level as well.
“I would put Sculy as my captain and I’d put Moz at vice-captain. They were two fantastic leaders and great blokes as well.”
What do you think of Higham’s team? Let us know in the comments below.