Ten of Super League’s greatest overseas imports

With Ben Barba’s arrival to the Super League scene upon us, the staff at TotalRL towers have been left pondering some of the greatest overseas arrivals Super League has ever seen.

Over the last two decades, Super League has attracted some fantastic stars from across the globe that have left lasting legacies at a number of clubs.

Barba will be the latest player hoping to set Super League alight, and here are just some of the players he’ll be looking to emulate.

Luke Dorn

In terms of longevity, Dorn is arguably the greatest overseas player Super League has seen.

The former London, Salford and Castleford star spent the vast majority of his career in Super League and is ultimately the highest try-scoring and appearance-making overseas player Super League has produced.

After 13 seasons in England, he finally called time on his days in Super League, but not before making a huge impression.

Brett Hodgson

Some overseas players have been criticised for making the move to Super League in the twilight of their careers for one final paycheck.

When Hodgson arrived at Huddersfield in his thirties, it would have been easy for him to fall into that category.

Instead, he proved to be a fine player for both the Giants and Warrington. In his maiden season in Super League he won the Man of Steel award, one of just five overseas players to do so, while he won the League Leaders’ Shield and the Challenge Cup at the Wolves.

Ali Lauitiiti

One of the most memorable players of his generation, the immensely popular back-row was part of the all conquering Leeds Rhinos side of the mid-noughties.

In total, he won four Grand Finals and the World Club Challenge twice, making him one of the most successful overseas imports of the Super League era.

He subsequently played for Wakefield, where his popularity quickly moved across West Yorkshire.

Kylie Leuluai

In terms of trophies, Leuluai is Super League’s most successful overseas player of all time.

During nine years at Leeds, he won six Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenge titles.

A career that almost every other player in the world would envy, Leuluai also got the dream send-off as Leeds won the treble before he decided to hang up the boots. Some career.

Jamie Lyon

In the eyes of many, the former Saints centre will go down as the most talented overseas player Super League has ever seen.

There can be no doubting that when he joined St Helens in 2005, he set the league alight as he constantly cut teams to shreds.

In his two years at St Helens he won the Man of Steel, was named in the Super League Dream Team twice and won the treble.

A short stint, but there can be no doubting his influence in that time.

Steve Menzies

Menzies joined Bradford at the age of 35, which, inevitably, had people questioning his motives.

But he quickly captured the hearts of the Bulls faithful, and in his five seasons in Super League he would garner the respect of the British game.

He won no major trophies at the Bulls or at Catalans, but there’s little doubting how much of an impression he made.

Robbie Hunter-Paul

The Kiwi halfback was so great, he is often the first name associated with the great “Bullmania” era that saw Bradford rule the world.

He arrived as a fresh-faced teenager, but by 1996, at the age of 20, he was a Lance Todd Trophy winner and only the fourth player to score a hat-trick in a Challenge Cup final.

His legend doesn’t end there, he would subsequently win four Grand Finals and was part of two successful World Club Challenge teams, while also winning the Challenge Cup twice.

Apollo Perelini

The Kiwi forward was one of the first overseas players of the Super League era to leave a lasting impression

He arrived in 1995, but was a founding player of the Super League era before leaving in 2002.

He scored the decisive try for Saints in their 1996 Challenge Cup win over Bradford before winning two Grand Finals.


Pat Richards

Ask any Wigan fan about Pat Richards and they’ll likely tell you he is one of their finest players of the Super League era.

The gangly winger was a points machine, with his incredible try and goal-scoring ability resulting in him scoring over 2,400 points in cherry and white in just eight seasons.

In his time at Wigan he broke countless club records, won the Man of Steel, captured Challenge Cup glory and won two Grand Finals.

Lesley Vainikolo

He is quite possibly the definition of a great overseas star.

He was nicknamed ‘The Volcano’ and it didn’t take long to figure out why. Lesley Vainikolo will not only go down as one of the greatest overseas players in the Super League era, but perhaps one of the greatest ever with no criteria involved.

In just over 152 appearances, ‘Les’ scored 149 tries, giving him one of the most incredible try-scoring ratios the game has seen. He is also one of the very few players to win the World Club Challenge three times, whilst he also won at Old Trafford twice.

But trophies aside, the legend of Vainikolo will likely never deteriorate in West Yorkshire.