Top 13 players to have missed out on a Super League title

We’re approaching the 23rd season of Super League and during that time there have been some tremendous title-winning teams but from just four clubs – Leeds (eight), St Helens (six), Wigan (four) and Bradford (four).

We had a look at some stellar players to have graced Super League over the years but the top prize, a Super League Grand Final winners ring, eluded them.

LEE BRIERS (WARRINGTON WOLVES)

‘A phenomenal talent. A world class player who will be impossible to replace’, were the words spoken by Briers’ former teammate and Rugby League legend, Andrew Johns. Genius recognises genius.

After only playing six games before being dropped by St. Helens in 1997, Briers would go on to join the Warrington Wolves becoming one of the Wires most durable characters in his 15 years there.

He would instantly announce himself at the club, being nominated for the Young Player of the Year award before going to be the clubs’ primary playmaker for more than a decade.

Between 1998 and 2013 the former Welsh International would go on to play over 400 games for the Lancashire club while scoring over 150 tries, breaking several club records all the way.

By the end of his career he would hold the club record for not only the most points in a game with 44 (16 goals and three tries) but his 16 goals would also see him hold the record for most goals converted for the Wire also.

Just a perfect example of Briers famed kicking ability that would make one of Warrington’s biggest offensive forces throughout his time there.

The Super League would remain out of his reach, but he would go on to put a man of the match performance in Warrington’s Challenge Cup final victory over Leeds in 2010 as well winning the Challenge Cup a total of three times.

PAUL COOKE (HULL FC, HULL KR, WAKEFIELD TRINITY)

Cooke made his FC debut in 1999 and went on to be one of the best goal-kickers in the Super League era. He kicked 332 goals and scored 32 tries in 204 games.

In his time at FC, he won the Challenge Cup in 2005 and was named in the 2005 Super League Dream Team. The 36-year-old came close to winning the Super League title in the 2006 Grand Final but Hull lost to St Helens.

He then made a cross city switch to arch rivals Hull Kingston Rovers, where he spent four seasons, racking up 222 points. He then had a spell at Wakefield Trinity before moving to lower leagues with Doncaster and Featherstone Rovers.

DANNY BROUGH (HULL FC, CASTLEFORD TIGERS, WAKEFIELD TRINITY, HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS)

Brough started his career at hometown club Dewsbury before moving to York City Knights. He made his Super League bow in 2005 with Hull FC and won the Challenge Cup but moved to Castleford in 2007.

He made the switch to rivals Wakefield in 2008 where he enjoyed three fine seasons. He has played his best rugby at Huddersfield though, playing over 200 games for the club, scoring 47 tries and kicking 685 goals. A magnificent record.

The Scotland captain was named in the 2013 and 2015 Super League Dream Teams and even picked up the Man of Steel award in 2013 but unfortunately, he has yet to pick up the Super League trophy.

ADRIAN LAM (WIGAN WARRIORS)

A Papua New Guinea international, Lam arrived at the JJB Stadium in 2001 after spending six years playing at the highest level in the NRL with the Sydney Roosters.

The Warriors fans quickly took to Lam and he was a joy to watch in the halves. In total, he played 119 games for the club, scoring 44 tries and 10 drop goals. He had a stellar playing career.

Lam came close to receiving a Super League Grand Final winners ring in 2001 when Wigan reached Old Trafford. They were beaten by a solid Bradford Bulls side though.

SHAUN BRISCOE (WIGAN WARRIORS, HULL FC, HULL KR, WIDNES VIKINGS)

Shaun Briscoe enjoyed a rather successful Super League career, playing for the likes of Wigan, Hull KR, Widnes and Hull, the latter of which where he would enjoy the most success.

Coming into a Wigan side in 2002, without an injured Kris Radlinski, Briscoe would take the opportunity by the scruff of the neck, notching 11 tries in 28 outings for the Warriors.

However, with Radlinksi returning to the squad, Briscoe would find first team opportunities hard to come by and would eventually leave the club to join Hull FC in 2003.

Between 2003 and 2007, the fullback would enjoy a fine amount of success with the club, being part of the sides 2005 Challenge Cup winning run, only to miss out on the final due to appendicitis but would still earn a winner’s medal for his contributions.

Briscoe would also be part of the squad that would lose out to Leeds Rhinos in the 2006 Super League final. In the space of four years, he would make a significant impact for the club, scoring 58 tries in 103 appearances for the Airlie Birds before moving on to club rivals Hull KR.

Although he wouldn’t enjoy the same amount of success as he did at Hull FC, Briscoe would still highlight why he was one of the countries top fullbacks, scoring 30 tries in his three-season spell at the club.

In his 11-year career, Briscoe’s performances and impact for both Hull sides set him apart as one of the countries’ best at the time, earning him calls up to the England squad in between 2004 and 2009.

KIRK YEAMAN (HULL FC)

Player his entire career at Hull FC, Yeaman would become only the second person in the clubs’ history to reach 700 points without kicking a single conversion, the other being Clive Sullivan. His try-scoring prowess would be something that would become all too familiar with during his career.

By the end of his career, Yeaman would reach third on the clubs’ all-time try scoring list with 177 tries, behind only Hull Fc legends, Sullivan and Ivor Watts.

The closest the centre would come to the Super League’s top prize would be in 2006 when the Black and Whites reached the grand final only to fall to a 26-4 defeat to St. Helens.

Despite falling short in his quest for that grand final win, Yeaman would go on to claim a 2005 Challenge Cup winners medal in the 25-24 win against Leeds Rhinos.

BEN WESTWOOD (WAKEFIELD TRINITY, WARRINGTON WOLVES)

Westwood started with Wakefield but moved to Warrington early on in his journey. He has been at the Wolves since 2002 and has been a fan favourite at the Halliwell Jones Stadium for a good ten years or so now.

He has quite a decorated career, being named in the 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Super League Dream Teams as well as winning three Challenge Cups with the Warrington club.

The 36-year-old has also played for England 26 times but has never won the Super League title. He was on the losing side in the 2013 Grand Final as they lost to rivals Wigan at Old Trafford.

LUKE DORN (LONDON BRONCOS, CASTLEFORD TIGERS, SALFORD RED DEVILS)

Probably the Super League’s most prolific ever overseas signing. Dorn joined London Broncos back in 2004 where he would establish himself as one of the clubs’ top try scorers, scoring over 100 tries in two separate spells, making himself the all-time record try scorer for the club.

After first stint with the Broncos, Dorn would move on to the likes of Salford and Castleford before returning to the Broncos who were renamed as Harlequins at the time. The fullback would enjoy a resurgence in his career however after re-joining the Tigers in 2014, where he would reach his major final by appearing in the 2014 Challenge Cup final.

In two separate stints with the Tigers the Australian was able to showcase his prolific try scoring ability once again, scoring a combination of 64 tries in 84 appearances.

Even though he would never go to win a major honour in his 12 years in the Super League, Dorn’s consistency and eye for the try-line made him a high-valued member of any club he was at.

JOEL MONAGHAN (WARRINGTON WOLVES, CASTLEFORD TIGERS)

The 35-year-old made the move to Warrington in 2011 after a couple of controversial off-field issues while in the NRL.

He had a phenomenal try-scoring record while with the Wolves, scoring 145 tries in 145 games for the club. A try every game on average – not bad!

Monaghan played and scored in the 2013 Super League Grand Final loss against Wigan Warriors.

He moved to Castleford Tigers ahead of the 2016 campaign. The Australian came close to having a last go at winning it in 2017 when League Leaders Shield winners Castleford reached Old Trafford but he wasn’t selected in their 17-man squad. The Tigers fell short to Leeds Rhinos.

RICHARD HORNE (HULL FC)

The Hull FC stalwart’s career spanned 16 years, making his debut in 1998 for the Yorkshire side at the tender age of just 16.

The half-back would be part of the Black and Whites squad alongside the likes of Yeaman and Briscoe that would go on to achieve success in the Challenge Cup in 2005 before just missing out on that elusive Super League win in 2006.

A terrific servant and true professional to he game, in the mid-2000s Horne certainly caught the eye for his terrific running game and lethal ability to fend off would be tacklers making him a difficulty target to stop.

Throughout his career, Horne would go on to score 134 tries for the club while going on to make over 380 appearances.

KIRK DIXON (HULL FC, CASTLEFORD TIGERS)

Although he would be hampered by injuries towards the end of his career, Dixon would still go on to make a significant impact on the Super League, with his best success coming at the Castleford Tigers.

By the time he had retired in 2015, the winger had surpassed the 1,000-point mark in all competitions for the Tigers, scoring 72 tries in 160 appearances for the West Yorkshire side.

DANNY TICKLE (WIGAN WARRIORS, HULL FC, WIDNES VIKINGS, CASTLEFORD TIGERS, LEIGH CENTURIONS)

The former Golborne Parkside junior started his career at Halifax but moved to Wigan in 2002 and spent five seasons with the club. He scored 34 tries and kicked 217 goals while with the Cherry and Whites.

He then played at Hull between 2007 and 2013, kicking 572 goals and scoring 47 tries in 177 games. Tickle also picked up international honours with England in 2009.

He was on the losing teams in both the 2004 and 2013 Challenge Cup Finals and has played in a Super League Grand Final when Wigan fell short to Bradford in 2003, but he has never won it.

Tickle has also played for Widnes Vikings, Castleford Tigers and Leigh Centurions.

MICHAEL MONAGHAN (WARRINGTON WOLVES)

Monaghan would join Warrington in 2008, joining from NRL outfit Manly Sea Eagles. In his six years there, he would win the Challenge Cup three times in four years and would be part of the squad which would win the League Leaders Shield in 2011.

The Australian would have two chances to add the Super League to his trophy cabinet but would be on losing side both times in the 2012 and 2013 finals, losing to Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors retrospectively.

Despite missing out on the Super League, the Hooker’s impact for the club would still be nothing but inspiring. He would go on to win the Lance Todd Trophy in 2009 for his performance in the Challenge Cup final, while enjoying even more success in 2011.

Monaghan would win the clubs’ player of the year award and would even be nominated for the Man of Steel award for his great performances in the Wolves’ League Leaders Shield winning season.

What other players deserve a shout out for their contributions at the top end of Super League without ever having won a title? Let us know in the comments below.

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