Anthony Sullivan maintained tradition of thrilling wingers at St Helens

Saints' fans have been spoiled rotten over the years by the quality of wing wizards who have graced Knowsley Road and Langtree Park (now the Totally Wicked Stadium).

Friday, 19th March 2021, 8:46 am
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 8:48 am
Anthony Sullivan dives for the line and scores a try during a Super League match against Wigan in 1999 at Central Park. The match finished in a 14-12 victory for the Saints

Names like Alf Ellaby, Steve Llewellyn, Tom van Vollenhoven, Alan Hunte, Tommy Makinson, Darren Albert, Barrie Ledger and Anthony Sullivan just roll off the tongue - a glowing tribute to the massive impact they have made in keeping St Helens as one of the all-time Rugby League greats.

Speed and deadly finishing were two of their main assets as they thrilled fans in most parts of the country but no one had more to prove than left winger Sullivan - son of the legendary Clive Sullivan who led Great Britain to their last Rugby League World Cup triumph in 1972.

It could have been a millstone around his neck as, inevitably, he was told by some supporters: ''You'll never be as good as your dad.''

Sadly, Welsh-born Clive, who played for both Hull clubs and was a dual code international like his son, died at the age of 42 due to cancer when Anthony was still a teenager and never saw him reach the pinnacle of his sport between 1991 and 2001. That in itself was a crying shame.

Although a fine servant to Saints during his early days at Knowsley Road - often in a side which blew hot or cold - Sully junior started to fulfill his true potential when Rugby League became a summer sport and in 1996 he helped steer the club to a cup and league double, a second Wembley success the following year and in 1999, under the short tenure of Ellery Hanley, picked up a Grand Final winners' ring.

The winger completed his medal collection in 2001 with a World Club Challenge victory at the expense of Brisbane Broncos and then a third Challenge Cup triumph over Bradford Bulls at Twickenham before joining the RU ranks at Cardiff.

But not before he had signed-off at Knowsley Road with impressive stats of scoring 213 tries - many of a spectacular nature - in 305 appearances.