IT always interests the rugby league fraternity when a transfer happens to know how much a club paid for that star.
Although most transfer fees are kept in house, there have been a number over the 26 years of Super League that have certainly made eyes water in terms of their expense.
Here are the five most expensive Super League transfers in history.
5. Martin Gleeson – St Helens to Warrington (2005)
Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson had become one of Super League’s greatest centres prior to his sale to the Warrington Wolves in 2005. But, St Helens sold the centre to their rivals following the infamous 2004 betting scandal – and made £200,000 from the sale. Gleeson quickly repaid the faith shown in him by the Wolves, scoring 17 tries in his first season with the Cheshire club and earning himself a Super League Dream Team place as a result.
4. Paul Newlove – Bradford to St Helens (1995)
With the advent of the summer game in 1996, teams were determined to make an impact as Super League was created. One of those was St Helens who paid £250,000 to sign Great Britain international Paul Newlove in November 1995. Despite the quarter of a million figure being a hefty one in the late ’90s, the fee certainly paid for itself as the centre helped Saints defeat his former side Bradford in 1996. That year, the Merseyside club also won Super League in its inaugural year before Newlove helped Saints win three more Super League titles.
3. Iestyn Harris – Warrington to Leeds (1997)
If Newlove’s transfer fee was eyewatering back in 1995 then Iestyn Harris’ to Leeds in 1997 was definitely more so. The Rhinos signed the versatile Harris from Warrington for a record £350,000 in 1997. Harris’ class shone through from an early stage, however, and he was named captain at just 21 before he was named Man of Steel in 1998. Harris continued to lead from the front and he steered Leeds to Challenge Cup glory in 1999 and the inaugural Grand Final a year earlier. His high-profile exit to rugby union came in 2001 when he joined Cardiff RFC for £1.5m.
2. Paul Sculthorpe – Warrington to St Helens (1997)
In the same season they lost Iestyn Harris, Warrington also sold future back-to-back Man of Steel winner and Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe to St Helens for £375,000. The rest, as they say, is history with Sculthorpe arguably becoming one of Super League’s greatest ever players, winning every domestic trophy and honour available before retiring through injury in 2008. All in all, Sculthorpe won a total of four Grand Finals, four Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges, as well as becoming the first (and currently only) player to win the Man of Steel Award on two consecutive occasions.
1. Stuart Fielden – Bradford to Wigan (2006)
Stuart Fielden’s transfer from Bradford to Wigan in 2006 was perhaps one of the most surprising to ever take place in Super League. One of the world’s best props, Fielden left a club challenging for honours for one flirting with relegation, but he did so following a £450,000 transfer. The barnstorming prop was key in the Warriors’ survival in 2006, but the transfer had sent Wigan over the salary cap, resulting in a four-point deduction in 2007. Fielden’s impact was obvious as just four years after he signed with the Warriors, the club were Super League champions in 2010.