Swinton Lions head coach Stuart Littler has selected his dream team from players who he played with during his playing career for loverugbyleague.com.
The former centre started his professional career at Salford City Reds back in 1998 and only left the club at the end of the 2010 season, having made 329 appearances for them.
Littler then had four successful years at Leigh Centurions in the Championship, nearly making 100 appearances for the club before moving to Rochdale Hornets in 2014.
He has 19 international caps for Ireland and even played for two years at Swinton Lions in the back end of his career.
Littler is now the head coach of Championship outfit Swinton and he has given his all-time dream team from players who he had the pleasure of playing with to loverugbyleague.com.
1 STEFAN RATCHFORD
SL: “He just always had great skill attributes and you could tell that he was going to go a long way. When I played with him at Salford, he was only a young lad but you could tell that he was going to go on and be a superstar of the game. Sometimes when you watch him, he makes it look easy and like he is jogging about but it’s obviously not. He makes the right decision near enough every single time and he is composed out the back.”
2 ALAN HUNTE
SL: “He was a Great Britain international and his records speak for themselves. He played a bit of centre and wing and still scored a lot of tries even late on in his career when he was with us at Salford. I played against him as will earlier on in my career and he was strong and had a lot of pace and had everything for a winger.”
3 AARON MOULE
SL: “He won the NRL competition with Melbourne Storm and was a great guy to have around. He had a lot of pace as well.”
4 SCOTT NAYLOR
SL: “I played with him when I was a kid but then he left for Bradford and came back later on in his career. He was tough and uncompromising and great in defence. He played for England and won competitions with Bradford so he was a good player.”
5 MARTIN OFFIAH
SL: “Well, scoring over 500 tries speaks for itself doesn’t it? He has to be on the wing in my team! He was quick, he could score tries and nobody could catch him.”
6 ANDREW DUNEMANN
SL: “This was a very tough choice between Andrew Dunemann and Steve Blakeley. Dunemann made an impact in his time with Salford and made a real difference in taking the line on but Blakeley looked after us as a young kid and captained England. I would put both of them down if I could but I’ll go with Dunemann because of the impact he made in that year he was with us.”
7 GAVIN CLINCH
SL: “He was just a very good general. He got us around the pitch and did his job well. He wasn’t the best defender but I remember his famous ‘Clinch the pinch’ because he created a new technique to nick the ball. We used to get fined if he took the ball off you because he did it that much! He made a difference to our team. He helped get us promoted and he was a step ahead of people at times.”
8 CRAIG STAPLETON
SL: “He was as tough as they come. I think he played for the Prime Minister’s team in Australia and played for the Country squad. At Salford, we were lucky enough to snap him up from Leigh and a great personal friend as well as a great player. He led the team out week after week and never took a backwards team.”
9 MALCOM ALKER
SL: “I played at Salford for 13 years with him and he was as tough as they come. He had a real winning mentality and was an uncomprising player. He got smarter as he got older as well and he understood the game more and developed different skill sets. He was a good leader as well.
“Malc would be my captain. He was my captain for most of my career and he was a natural leader and a winner.”
10 PAUL HIGHTON
SL: “He was a mainstay in the Salford side so it was me, him and Malc (Alker) who played together for all of our careers pretty much. He was underrated and just got on with his job. It was a tough pick because there were a couple of other good props but Paul just gets the nod because he got on with it and did all the tough stuff. He was always the first one to put his hand to up to take a carry in when we were backed in a career which means a lot to the rest of the players.”
11 TOMMY GOULDEN
SL: “He only came into the professional game late on but he played at a high level at amateur grade for a number of years. He was just a tough player and nothing got past him in defence. You always got 100% out of him.”
12 JASON NICHOL
SL: “I played with him a good few years back at Salford. I think he had a really good impact on the club and the fans. He was a big guy and was nicknamed ‘the skull’ and when he came over, he did some damage. He was a good player and I got on with him.”
13 DARREN BROWN
SL: “He was at Penrith and came over to Salford. I’ve gone for a ball handling 13 who also played a bit at six. It was a different game back then whereas now teams just tend to play three middles rather than two props and a 13. He was a Kevin Sinfield-type player and made holes for the rest of the team.”
What do you think of Litter’s team? Let us know in the comments below.