Top 13 one club men in British rugby league

Zach Holland

We have selected the top 13 one club men in history of British rugby league.

The term loyalty is thrown around quite a substantial amount in sport. We see players who will venture from club to club, seeking a new challenge to test themselves and develop as a player or those remain, seeing out their entire career at just that one club. We are going to focus on the latter today, taking a glimpse at our top 13 one club men in British rugby league.

Now, for the purposes of this little experiment we will not include those who have swapped codes and focus on those who have played with only the one team and just within rugby league…..

Ivor Watts (Hull)

The Hull FC legend became a devasting winger throughout his time in rugby league and spent his entire 15 years in the sport as part of the Airlie Birds, scoring 217 tries in 412 appearances.

The Welshman’s try-scoring antics placing him second on Hull’s all time try-scorers list, only behind the great Clive Sullivan. The loyalty to the side would go beyond a 15-year playing career as Watts went on to become assistant coach in 1959 before taking over as head coach in 1970.

John Joyner (Castleford)

Joyner spent a remarkable 20 years at Castleford in which he made over 600 appearances for the club.

Between 1972 and 1992 the Castleford Hall of Fame inductee, played in several Yorkshire County Cups, winning on three occasions (1977-78, 1981-82 and 1986-87).

Albert Goldthorpe (Hunslet)

A true Yorkshire rugby league legend and one of the games first true superstars during the start of the 20th century.

The former Hunslet stand-off’s name being cemented further in rugby league history as 2009 saw the first recipient of the Albert Goldthorpe Medal to commend the leading players in Super League throughout the year and honour the legacy of the British rugby league great.

Syd Hynes (Leeds)

Between 1965 and 1975, Hynes became one of Leeds’ finest ever centres, winning every available domestic honour there was at the time.

The Loiners legend was a member of the Leeds squad that faced Wakefield in the now famous Watersplash Challenge Cup final in 1968. The match saw Hynes’ men come out 11-10 winners in a dramatic finale. When it was time to call it a day, Hynes had made 366 appearances and scored 158 tries.

Keiron Cunningham (St Helens)

Often seen as one best hookers of the Super League era and played his entire 16-year playing career at St. Helens.

The former Wales and Great Britain international became an integral member of a dominant Saints side in the late 90s and early to mid-00s, that won four Super League titles, seven Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges. A noteworthy try-scorer who would miss out on a fairytale ending to a great career after losing to Wigan in the Super League Grand Final in 2010. However, by the end of his career, Cunningham had made 496 appearances along with bagging 175 tries.

Thomas Bosc (Catalans Dragons)

At the forefront of one Super League’s most historic and significant team entries, Bosc became an integral part of the Catalans side during its humble beginnings in the 2006 Super League season all the way up until his retirement in 2017.

Despite only being used sporadically earlier on his career, the former French international eventually found his place in the halves after the retirement of Stacy Jones in 2008 and quickly cemented his role as the sides primary goal kicker and top playmaker. By 2017, Bosc had become the first Catalan player to reach 1,000 points and still remains the French sides’ top points-scorer today.

Parry Gordon (Warrington)

The best scrum-half ever to never receive a full Great Britain cap?

Quite possibly so. After signing on his 16th birthday for Warrington in 1961, the legendary scrum half went on to serve 20 years for the Wire. A key man in a rather average Warrington side who despite not having the greatest kicking game was more than able to make up for it with his explosive running, support game and explementary defending. By 1981, the legendary halfback made 543 appearances for the club with only Brian Bevan making more.

David Redfearn (Bradford Northern)

The former Great Britain international developed a reputation as an out and out try-scorer thanks to his incredible quickness out on the wing.

Between 1971 and 1982, Redfearn became a great servant to Bradford Northern, making over 300 appearances alongside scoring 182 tries. A rather accomplished career saw the Dewsbury man become a key part of the Bradford side that won the Yorkshire Cup during the 1978/79 and back to back rugby league Championships between 1979 and 1981.

Rob Burrow (Leeds)

There is little doubt that throughout in his 16 years with Leeds, Burrow was one of the sides greatest talents.

The former hooker who was famous for his short frame as he entered the league back in 2001, left a legacy behind after retiring in 2017 and that was even the smallest of players can make it in the league. Now, not only was Burrow one of Leeds finest players during the Super League era but also throughout the game’s history. After 482 appearances and 193 tries, the ‘little guy’ won every major domestic trophy there was possible and placed himself in Leeds rugby league folklore.

Richard Horne (Hull FC)

After making his debut at the tender age of 16, Horne became one of Hull FC’s most standout performers in his 16 years there.

The hometown boy guided his team to Challenge Cup glory in 2005 as the Airlie Birds came out victorious against Leeds but his quest for a Super League title came up short (the closest he would get being the 2006 Grand Final). However, the Hull FC stalwart still put forth a great career making lives for his opponents extremely difficult, thanks in large to his great running and fend off ability.

Kris Radlinski (Wigan Warriors)

One of the great full-backs of the modern era and played his entire professional career at Wigan between 1993 and 2006.

In 1995 and at the age of 19, Radlinski announced himself on the rugby league scene with an impressive performance in the Premiership final against Leeds. The game itself saw the young full-back become the first man to score a hat trick in a Premiership final along with winning the Harry Sunderland trophy for his efforts. Those kind of try scoring efforts would become more par for the course over a decorated 13-year career that saw him make 322 appearances alongside scoring 182 tries for the Lancashire outfit.

Paul Wellens (St Helens)

Wellens or Radlinski? It has been a debate that has raged on throughout both their careers within rugby league and beyond as they both became two of the games’ great number ones.

After making his debut in 1998, Wellens played out his entire professional career at St. Helens, winning several team and individual accolades along the way. In his 17-year career as a player, the former England fullback became one of the sports most decorated players, winning five Super League titles, five Challenge Cups, two World Club Challenges, the Man of Steel award, the Lance Todd Trophy, the Harry Sunderland Trophy as well appearing in the Super League Dream team on four occasions. To add to this, his 495 appearances and 231 career tries made him one of the team’s most influential and integral players ever.

Kirk Yeaman (Hull FC)

The former Hull FC centre looks to have a flown under the radar when it comes to his potential influence for the Airlie Birds.

A prolific career saw the tough centre finish as Hull FC’s third all time top try scorer with 175 tries and only behind the legendary Watts and Clive Sullivan. A tough character who became a key member of the Hull FC side that won the 2005 Challenge Cup and reach both the 2006 Super League Grand Final and 2008 Challenge Cup final.