Best XIII of the Super League era voted by you

With Super League celebrating its 25th season in 2020, we ran a public vote to discover the best XIII to have played in the competition since it was launched in 1996.

The summer era of rugby league has seen some greats of the sport emerge and we ran one poll a week for each position until our team was filled.

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Last week we ran our final poll as we looked to fill the loose forward position with Kevin Sinfield getting the nod with almost 50 per cent of the votes. With all the position filled, here is your best XIII of the Super League era.

Full-back: Paul Wellens 42 per cent of the vote

Wellens spent his entire career with his hometown club and called time on his career in 2015 after making just shy of 500 appearances and forming part of the backbone of the side for the best part of 17 years.

Along with scoring 231 tries, he was a capable goal-kicker and his efforts for Daniel Anderson’s all-conquering side of 2006 saw him named Man of Steel and Harry Sunderland Trophy winner that year.

In total, he played in 10 Super League Grand Finals, winning five, and was named in the Dream Team on four occasions.

Wingers: Ryan Hall 35 per cent, Lesley Vainikolo 26 per cent

Now plying his trade in the NRL for Sydney Roosters, former Leeds Rhinos star Hall thrilled the Headingley faithful and put terror into the hearts of opposing defenders in Super League between 2007 and 2018.

He ran in a total of 231 tries in 328 appearances for the Rhinos, with perhaps the most memorable being the last-gasp score against Huddersfield Giants in 2015 which clinched the League Leaders’ Shield.

The 32-year-old was a Grand Final winner on six occasions and was named in the Super League Dream Team four times as well.

Possessing a lethal combination of pace, power and strength, the man nicknamed ‘The Volcano’ played a huge part in Bradford Bulls’ successes in the early 2000s.

Arriving from Canberra Raiders for the 2002 season, Vainikolo scored an incredible 145 tries in 149 appearances for Bradford before switching to rugby union in 2007.

Along the way, the New Zealand international played a part in three Grand Final triumphs with the Bulls, earned a Dream Team place twice and was Super League’s top try-scorer with 36 in 2004.

Centres: Jamie Lyon 43 per cent, Keith Senior 30 per cent

The Australia international only spent two seasons with St Helens before returning to the NRL, but it is impossible to understate the impact Lyon made during the 2005 and 2006 campaigns.

Lyon began by setting up two tries on his debut for Saints against Widnes Vikings and went on to earn the Man of Steel award in his debut season, along with receiving the RLPA players’ player of the year accolade and a Dream Team spot.

He took over goal-kicking duties from Paul Sculthorpe the following season too, helping St Helens win the League Leaders’ Shield, Grand Final and Challenge Cup, along with earning another Dream Team spot before heading back to Australia with Manly Sea Eagles.

Senior came through the ranks at Sheffield Eagles and played for them during the first four seasons of Super League, but it was Leeds Rhinos he became most associated with following his move to Headingley in 1999.

In 12 seasons at the club, Senior was part of four Grand Final-winning teams, won the World Club Challenge twice and was named in the Super League Dream Team on five occasions.

Regarded as one of the greatest players of the summer era, former Great Britain and England international Senior also ranks ninth on the list of all-time appearances in Super League with 413.

Stand-off: Danny McGuire 54 per cent

Having spent his final two seasons with Hull Kingston Rovers, last year saw McGuire call time on an 18-year playing career which saw him win almost every honour in the game with Leeds Rhinos.

McGuire was part of eight Grand Final-winning teams, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy for man of the match in 2015 and 2017, and helped the Rhinos finish top of the Super League table on three occasions.

On a personal level, he was named in the Dream Team in 2004 and 2006, earned Great Britain and England caps, and holds the record for the most tries in Super League history with 247.

Scrum-half: Sean Long 62 per cent

One of the most recognisable players of the Super League era with his blond, flowing hair, Long became one of the key men in St Helens’ successful sides of the 2000s after short spells with Wigan and Widnes Vikings early in his career.

A skilful player with a superb kicking game, Long helped Saints to four Grand Final triumphs and was a five-time Challenge Cup winner as well, finishing his career with two seasons at Hull FC.

On an individual level, the Great Britain international was named Man of Steel in 2000 and was picked in the Dream Team twice.

Props: Jamie Peacock 51 per cent, Adrian Morley 21 per cent

Another hard-nosed prop who represented both club and country with distinction, Peacock was the cornerstone of several successful Bradford and Leeds teams.

He helped the Bulls to three Super League Grand Final triumphs and was then at the forefront for the Rhinos during their golden era, tasting glory at Old Trafford on six further occasions.

On an individual level, Peacock – who briefly came out of retirement to help Hull Kingston Rovers in 2016 – holds the record for the most Dream Team appearances with 11 and was named Man of Steel in 2003

Adrian Morley made an impact both on these shores and in Australia – not to mention on several opponents – at club and international era, and served four Super League teams with distinction during a 20-year career.

He first rose to prominence at Leeds Rhinos, earning Dream Team nominations in 1998 and 1999, followed by returning to the UK on loan from a successful spell with Sydney Roosters in 2005 to help Bradford Bulls win the Grand Final.

Morley came back to Super League permanently with Warrington Wolves in 2007, earning two more Dream Team places in 2009 and 2010, and then closing out his career with two seasons at Salford Red Devils where he captained the side.

Hooker: Keiron Cunningham 37 per cent

Such was the impact Cunningham had at St Helens that there is now a statue of him outside the club’s Totally Wicked Stadium and he is widely regarded as one of Super League’s greatest players as well.

In a career which began prior to rugby league’s switch to summer in 1994 and continued until 2010, Cunningham made the No 9 shirt his own and helped Saints to four Grand Final triumphs.

The Great Britain and Wales international racked up nearly 500 appearances for the club too and was picked in the Super League Dream Team on seven occasions.

Second rows: Paul Sculthorpe 61 per cent, Jamie Jones-Buchanan 14 per cent

Sculthorpe began his career with Warrington Wolves, but it was St Helens he became most associated with after joining them in 1997 for a world-record transfer fee for a forward of £375,000.

During 11 years at Saints, the goal-kicking second row helped them to four Super League Grand Final triumphs, four Challenge Cup successes and two World Club Challenge victories.

His efforts saw him become the first – and, so far, only – player to win Man of Steel back to back in 2001 and 2002, along with being nominated for the Dream Team four times.

A 20-year career for and over 400 appearances for hometown club Leeds Rhinos is just a small part of what Jones-Buchanan achieved during his career.

JJB was a mainstay of the pack for the Rhinos during their golden era, winning the Super League Grand Final seven times, the Challenge Cup once and the World Club Challenge twice.

Jones-Buchanan, who retired at the end of last season, earned international recognition with Great Britain and England as well.

Loose forward: Kevin Sinfield 47 per cent

A one-club man who was at the heart of Leeds Rhinos’ golden era, Sinfield enjoyed a trophy-laden career at the highest level from 1997 to 2015.

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