Dave Craven: When it comes to Super League’s finest, Danny McGuire is right up there

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Rhinos' Danny McGuire. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Leeds Rhinos' Danny McGuire. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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LOOKING back at some of Danny McGuire’s finest moments in the blue and amber of Leeds Rhinos it is hard not to start reminiscing about days of old.

Yes, days of old. It really is 13 years ago since he scored that try in Leeds’s first-ever Super League Grand Final win.

Leeds Rhinos' Danny McGuire.

Leeds Rhinos' Danny McGuire.

How annoying that the 34 year-old still only looks 21 as he was the night he scrambled over in one of the defining moments at Old Trafford.

But scanning the line-ups in that game against Bradford Bulls, which in essence is just a snapshot of the summer era, only served to remind me about some of the supreme talent that has graced Super League since its inception. Kevin Sinfield, Keith Senior, Rob Burrow and Barrie McDermott not to mention stellar overseas players like David Furner and Ali Lauitiiti in the Leeds ranks.

For Bradford, yet more of the all-time Super League greats – Jamie Peacock, Robbie Paul, Stuart Fielden, Michael Withers, Paul Deacon and that left edge to die for: Shontayne Hape and Lesley Vainikolo.

Remember Leon Pryce did not play that night either and Jimmy Lowes retired 12 months earlier.

How annoying that the 34 year-old still only looks 21 as he was the night he scrambled over in one of the defining moments at Old Trafford.

The YP’s Dave Craven

Beginning to formulate a finest-ever Super League XIII – as this column was originally intended to do – soon becomes impossible when you start contemplating some of the great St Helens sides, too.

Paul Sculthorpe, Sean Long, Keiron Cunningham, James Graham, Paul Wellens, Chris Joynt and not one but two truly brilliant Australian centres in quick succession in Jamie Lyon and Matt Gidley. Then there’s Wigan Warriors whose captain Sean O’Loughlin also played a role in the genesis of this column given his 400th game for the club on Thursday stirred memories of many of his iconic moments.

He followed a half-decent player in the Wigan No 13 jersey did Lockers – a certain Andy Farrell.

If ever someone could nail down a definitive Super League XIII – and I challenge anyone to try do that and not develop a headache – he must surely be in there.

GREAT DAYS: Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire with the Carnegie World Club Challenge Trophy after beating Canterbury Bulldogs.

GREAT DAYS: Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire with the Carnegie World Club Challenge Trophy after beating Canterbury Bulldogs.

And remember back to the match-winner in that first Grand Final in ‘98: Jason Robinson.

Wigan, too, have had so many world-class overseas players in their ranks at various times: Trent Barrett, who brought so much style to Super League in his two campaigns here plus Steve Renouf and Adrian Lam to name just three.

The late Terry Newton was a wonderful hooker, too, at a time when there was so many other splendid nines including Cunningham, Lowes, Hull FC’s Richard Swain and, latterly, James Roby.

On the subject of Hull, their current captain Gareth Ellis has had a colossal career notwithstanding much of it being played out in the NRL while there has been countless other greats dotted around all the rest of the clubs.

Jason Demetriou, for instance, with Wakefield Trinity will be regarded as a Super League force while who can forget Adrian Vowles’s Man of Steel form for Castleford Tigers in 1999?

Danny Brough, at his various clubs, has proved one of the competition’s most entertaining players much like Lee Briers and, in his brief stay, Andrew Johns with Warrington Wolves.

There’s so many more to mention so apologies to all I have inadvertently overlooked here.

But the upshot of it all? Danny McGuire will stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the very best.