We have taken an in-depth look at the top 13 players who represented nations outside of the tier-one bracket in Super League.
Now, usually when we look at some of the fantastic talent that has graced Super League since its inception in 1996, who do we usually think of? We generally think of players from England or Great Britain, Australia and even New Zealand because of course we do. That’s who we are so used to seeing.
But, if you were to look outside those three nations and the players that have graced the league from countries outside those tier 1 affiliates, you will probably find a list of players of equal quality. You will find though as you divulge through certain players that they may have represented a tier 1 nation on top of a lower tier team. If we take the likes of Frances Meli and Ali Lauititi for instance. Both players represented New Zealand as well as Samoa and the same can be said for Lee Briers. The Warrington maestro played for both Wales and Great Britain, so now for the purposes of this little experiment and to make it a little more interesting we will solely focus on those who represented just one nation and that being one within tier 2. Right, no more beating around the bush and let us get started…….
Adrian Lam (Papa New Guinea)
One of Wigan’s truly great players of the Super League era. The former Papa New Guinea international joined the Cherry and Whites back in 2001 from NRL side Sydney Roosters. Although he would he fail in his attempt to bring a Super League title to the Lancashire side, his presence and contributions were surely felt there and in four years made 199 appearances on top of scoring 44 tries.
Apollo Perelini (Western Samoa)
Although he would join the St. Helens before the start of Super League in 1994, the big and bruising Samoan back-rower spent a large chunk of his rugby league career playing throughout the early stages of the Super League era. Between 1994 and 2000, Perelini was everything the Saints could have asked for from a prop forward. A combination of sheer explosiveness and grit were displayed throughout his career there and was one that was hard to rattle due to his impressive temperament. Within those years he would become one of the Saints most accomplished players, winning three Super League titles to go with two Challenge Cup wins.
Tevita Vaikona (Tonga)
It must surely run in the Tongan DNA as Vaikona developed a reputation for his tough and physical nature on the wing during his time at Hull FC between 1994 and 1997. The former dual coder was certainly no stranger to the try line as he scored 79 tries in 95 appearances for the Airlie Birds before moving on to the Bradford Bulls in 1998, enjoying his most profound success. In seven seasons he became one of the Bulls’ biggest household names making 147 appearances and scoring 90 tries to go with two Super League titles and two Challenge Cups.
Clint Greenshields (France)
The first of four French internationals on this list. Greenshields made the trip over to England during those tough early years for the Catalan Dragons. However, this would not stop the former French international from making his mark on the bright lights of Super League. It seems to have somewhat floated under the radar as to how substantial his impact was at the club but by the end of the 2008 season his performances at fullback had placed him in the Super League Dream Team for the season, beating out other exceptional talents such as Brett Webb and Paul Wellens in the process.
Marcus Bai (Papa New Guinea)
This is one name I will never forget watching play! Bai endured a rather stuttered start to his professional rugby league career in England making only 8 appearances for Hull FC in 1997. However, Bai made his return to Super League in 2004 with Leeds after a successful stint with NRL side Melbourne Storm. The former Papa New Guinea winger’s talent was certainly demonstrated during his time with Melbourne and that quickly translated back during his time with the West Yorkshire outfit. Over the course of two seasons, he helped Leeds to their first Super League title in 2004 with a string of impressive try-scoring performances and by the end of his stint he had made 57 appearances along with notching an impressive 42 tries.
George Carmont (Samoa)
A late bloomer to the professional rugby league scene as Carmont only made his professional debut at the age of 26 with NRL side Newcastle Knights in 2004 before signing with Wigan in 2008 at the age of 29. After his impressive performances turning out for the Knights, Carmont was able to continue this form onto his career at Wigan, helping the Cherry and Whites to a Super League title in 2010. The former Samoan international instantly became a fan favourite and made over 150 appearances for the side and scoring just shy of 80 tries.
Willie Manu (Tonga)
Tough, gritty and reliable are just three of the words you could use to describe Manu during his career in both Australia and England. The formidable second rower ventured over to England in 2006, signing for the Castleford Tigers before moving on to Hull FC and becoming one of the clubs most standout performers of the Super League era during his eight seasons there. The ability for a forward to create something out of a nothing situation, I think is something we take a little for granted and Manu was the man who could do just that as he consistently barrelled through defenders towards the try line. If you want an example of just what he brought to the table check the video below!
Clint Newton (USA)
Maybe not one of the biggest names on the list but Newton played an impressive role during his time with Hull KR between 2008 and 2011. The 2009 season proved to be his best yet with the Red and White, putting in several exceptional performances that led Hull KR to a 4th place finish that year.
Jerome Guisset (France)
The creative prop forward was as gifted as he was tenacious as soon as he stepped on the pitch. The former Warrington and Catalan star offered a throwback to the wild and unpredictable French playing style of years gone by and despite his position was a noteworthy try scorer throughout his 10 years in the league. The former Les Chanticleers man went on to make over 300 appearances, scoring 39 tries.
Thomas Bosc (France)
At the forefront of one of the most significant team entries in modern Super League history with Catalan and was a hugely consistent and creative performer, proving to be just as versatile as he was impactful. Bosc has been able to play across a wide variety of positions throughout his career at the Dragons, demonstrating his talent at fullback, wing and the halfback spots.
Remi Casty (France)
A more than beloved figure at the Catalan Dragons following another impressive season for the Perpignan side that saw Casty lead his team to Challenge Cup glory and becoming the first side outside of England to do so. A true French warrior who’s jackhammer attack equals his imposing defensive play. Like Bosc, Casty has been with Les Catalans right from the get go and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Stanley Gene (Papua New Guinea)
The Papua New Guinea legend made a name for himself in Super League, turning out for the likes of Hull KR, Huddersfield and Bradford, becoming such a popular figure at each club thanks to his impressive contributions on the field. He was the kind of player that no matter where he was placed on the field, he gave you 100% every time. If you look throughout his career, he was one who could seemingly slot into any position and make it look as if he just simply belonged there. By the end of his career Gene had pretty much played in nearly every position on the field and if that’s not versatility, I do not know what is.