My Ultimate Team: Paul Sculthorpe selects his best 1-17 including St Helens, Great Britain stars

George Riley

Legendary double Man of Steel Paul Sculthorpe is our latest guest on My Ultimate Team, this season’s new feature on Love Rugby League.

The Great Britain star, the only man to ever win back-to-back Man of Steel honours in 2001 and 2002, enjoyed a glittering career at St Helens with whom he won four Grand Finals, four Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges.

Sculthorpe came through the ranks with his local club side Waterhead, moving to Ince Rose Bridge before his first professional deal with Warrington. He was named in the inaugural Super League Dream Team in 1996 before joining Saints the following year, the start of a journey to legend status at Knowsley Road.

He represented Great Britain over a ten-year period in some iconic series’ against Australia and New Zealand, and speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League, Sculthorpe picked his ultimate 17 of players he lined up alongside during his career.

1. Paul Wellens

Mr Consistently Brilliant. Never dropped a ball, rarely missed a tackle. Saw plays in advance. World class every time he played.

2. Jason Robinson

A phenomenal athlete. Footwork, pace and power.

3. Keith Senior

I played with Keith at the highest level and he always performed on the big stage at international level. Big, athletic. quick and scored some big tries. Big shout here too for Jamie Lyon, Matt Gidley and Jamie Lyon who didn’t quite make it.

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4. Paul Newlove

The best centre that I have played with. A big, big unit. Power, pace and the best left-foot step in the game. He was undefendable at times.

5. Martin Offiah

One of a generation, his pace alone made him one of the best wingers ever to play the game.

6. Danny McGuire

Danny McGuire, Leeds Rhinos, 2015

It was 50/50 between Mags and Leon Pryce. Both outstanding attacking skills, pacey try-scoring machines. I went with Mags just for his try-scoring efforts and the games we played together for Great Britain

7. Sean Long

Mercurial. The best thing with Longy was that he did it on the big stage in the big games. He came up with some match-winning plays when it mattered.

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8. Stuart Fielden

Stuart Fielden Wigan Warriors Alamy

Probably the best prop in the world in the early 2000s. Big, physical, fit, fast and loved running over people. He played in that early 2000s Great Britain team and he was great to play alongside.

9. Keiron Cunningham

Just consistently brilliant and probably the best player I have ever played with. To play 500 games for Saints at the level he did each week was phenomenal. He could beat you with a pass, run around you or run through you. He had everything.

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10. David Fairleigh

Only one year in Super League at Saints. An amazing player – fit, fast and great skill for a prop. A pity we couldn’t get him to stay longer but he had a massive impact on me.

11. Jamie Peacock

Big, tough, fit, no nonsense. You get what you see with JP and he just keeps coming. He was great to play with at GB.

12. Lee Gilmour

Probably the best strike back-rower I have played with. He hit holes at pace, was super quick – as quick as any winger or centre in Super League at the time. He never shut up and got on my nerves at times but a good lad and a great player to play with. As a ball-playing player Gilly is the kind of back-rower you want on your shoulder. He scored some spectacular tries too.

13. Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell, PA Images.
Picture by John Walton/EMPICS Sport.

What a player, I don’t need to say too much about Faz.

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14. Chris Joynt

Chris Joynt St Helens PA
Chris Joynt in action for St Helens in 2001

Tough not to put him in my 13, he did it on the big stage like Longy, and had some iconic moments like Wide to West. A great leader, I learned a lot from Joynty and he was great to be a vice-captain under which taught me a lot about man-management. He didn’t say a lot but led with his actions.

15. Adrian Morley

Loved his physicality, he defended to hurt people and pretty much ran the ball for the same reason. He did it on both sides of the world, a great lad and a great team-mate within that Great Britain camp.

16. Gary Connolly

Probably the most laid-back team-mate I have ever had. He was world-class on attack or defense. Deceptively quick and deceptively tough, when he was my centre you knew that nobody was getting past him

17. Kris Radlinski

It was 50/50 with him and Wello. He never served up less than a 9/10. Consistently brilliant for Wigan or for GB.

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