Matty Russell and the 19 other players to have played for the most Super League clubs after Leeds debut

Ben Olawumi
Matty Russell, Gareth O'Brien, Tommy Lee, Danny Tickle Super League Alamy

Matty Russell (Warrington), Gareth O'Brien (Leigh), Tommy Lee (Hull KR) and Danny Tickle (Hull FC) in Super League action

Matty Russell’s debut for Leeds Rhinos on Friday night at St Helens means he is now on three Super League clubs alone this season – but he has now played for seven top-flight teams throughout his career!

The Scotland international featured twice on loan for Hull FC in March, scoring a try on debut, and went on to make his first Warrington appearance of the year the following month.

Linking up with Leeds on an initial two-month loan deal earlier this month, it’s now a hat-trick of clubs for Russell in 2024. And that got us thinking.. which players have played for the most Super League clubs in their career?

We knew Russell would be up there, so we’ve taken a deep dive into the stats and discovered 20 players with six or more Super League clubs on their CV!

* Player still active at the time of writing in May 2024

The 16 players to have played for six Super League clubs

Deon Bird, Gil Dudson*, Jamie Ellis*, Luke Gale*, Martin Gleeson, Joe Mellor*, Richard Moore, Scott Moore, Anthony Mullally, Wayne McDonald, Nick Fozzard, Lee Gilmour, Weller Hauraki, Matty Smith, Jordan Tansey, Oliver Wilkes

The three players to have played for seven Super League clubs

Gareth O’Brien* (Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Castleford Tigers, St Helens, Salford Red Devils, Toronto Wolfpack, Leigh Leopards)

Gareth O'Brien
Gareth O'Brien is back for Leigh

Warrington-born O’Brien, who will turn 33 in October, debuted for his hometown team in May 2011. Now with Leigh, who he has just signed a new deal with for 2025, the full-back has played for nine clubs in total now, including seven in Super League.

Of those seven, Widnes are the club he made the fewest appearances for, featuring four times for the Vikings as a loanee from Warrington back in 2012. He is yet to appear more than 65 times for any club however, hitting that number in a Salford shirt.

O’Brien has so far appeared on 37 occasions since joining Leigh ahead of 2023, so could potentially surpass that high of 65 by the time his new contract expires at the end of 2025. Closer is the milestone of 300 career appearances, just 10 off that now.

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Matty Russell* (Wigan Warriors, Hull FC, Warrington Wolves, Toronto Wolfpack, Leigh Centurions, Toulouse Olympique, Leeds Rhinos)

Matty Russell Warrington Wolves Alamy

Russell isn’t officially on seven just yet, but will be whenever he makes his first appearance for Leeds. The 13-time Scotland international – who also spent time in the NRL with the Gold Coast Titans – first debuted in Super League for Wigan back in 2012.

Despite featuring just twice for the Warriors, the Irvine-born winger – also able to play full-back – scored three tries. Turning 31 next month, he’s now just two run outs off 200 club career appearances.

During that 2012 campaign, Russell also appeared on loan at Hull and – as we’ve already referenced – returned there on loan earlier this year. Warrington are the club he’s made the most appearances for by some distance, featuring 112 times for the Wolves to date.

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Danny Tickle (Halifax Blue Sox, Wigan Warriors, Hull FC, Widnes Vikings, Castleford Tigers, Leigh Centurions, Hull KR)

Danny Tickle Hull FC Alamy

Golborne native Tickle hung up his boots following a short stint with Workington Town in 2019, playing for eight clubs across a 20-season career, with the Cumbrian outfit the only one of those not in Super League. Now 41, England and Lancashire representative Tickle amassed over 500 career appearances.

The first of those came in June 2000 for Halifax, then going under the ‘Blue Sox’ tagline. Remarkably, all seven of the clubs listed above were permanent homes, with no loans involved. His lowest tally came for Castleford, featuring 11 times for the Tigers across a three-month stay in 2016 between being released by Widnes and picked up by Leigh, who he helped guide back into Super League.

The forward had triple-figure appearances for both Wigan (141) and Hull FC (177), still second in the latter’s charts during the Super League era for both goals scored and overall points scored, trailing only Marc Sneyd in both departments.

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The only player to have played for eight Super League clubs..

Tommy Lee (Hull FC, Crusaders, Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield Giants, London Broncos, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Hull KR)

Tommy Lee Hull KR Alamy

At least to date, Hull-born Lee is the only player to ever feature for eight different clubs in Super League, never playing a single game outside of the top flight in a 15-season career having retired before getting the chance to pull on a Halifax shirt due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Now 36, Lee progressed through Hull FC‘s youth ranks and debuted for them in August 2005 having turned 17 just a few months prior. Departing the MKM Stadium at the end of 2009, he featured 78 times in total for the Airlie Birds, with that the highest tally he accrued at any of the eight clubs he donned a shirt for.

Crusaders – who he left Hull for – were the club he had the lowest tally with, appearing just 12 times in 2010 before the Welsh outfit’s financial issues saw him exit. Lee hung up his boots with 265 career appearances to his name, scoring 24 tries in total.

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