We struggled with what to call this blog. You could easily argue that the toughest guys to play rugby league are the ones like Rob Burrow - going up against blokes a full foot taller than them and not giving an inch.
But these are our choices for Super League’s All-Time Top 5 hardmen. How did we decide? Simple - we picked the blokes whose pint you wouldn’t want to spill over their new suede shoes!
N.B. We don't own the copyright or host any of the vids shown. All are available through YouTube
We could toss a coin as to who we’d chose with this surname. It was very nearly junior-boxing champ Bryan, but we went with the main man Barrie Mac. An easy choice in the end. Extracurricular activities include being the first bloke in England to be taken down by police-issued CS gas, which says a lot...
The Leeds South Stand used to taunt his opposite number with “Barrie’s gonna get ya!”. And get you he did. Just ask Simon Haughton of Wigan; Big Baz got a sending off for sparking him out just weeks after he’d invited him on his stag do! Of course, Barrie is now a friendly uncle figue on Sky’s league coverage, but I still wouldn’t want to run over his toe at the supermarket!
Moz. Revered on both sides of the pond as one of the all-time greats. He was also an all-time great big hitter. He lasted a full 12 seconds in the 2003 Test match against Australia, walking for a mighty knock on Robbie Kerns. See also him wiping out Robbie McCormack within ten seconds of kick off against Wigan in 1998. Maybe he just didn’t like Robbies?
Despite all the talk of wallops and sending offs, we cannot play down his achievements: one of the most decorated players ever, with Grand Final wins on both sides of the pond, not to mention a record number of international caps. A fellow Salford lad - Ryan Giggs - speaks of his admiration for Morley in the foreword of the prop’s autobiography.
But let’s not forget why he’s listed here - Check out this double hit on Jason King and Matai from his Sydney days. Brutal!
Without a certain Willie Mason, it’d have probably been Stuart Fielden’s name listed here. As a result of a cheap shot (and subsequent retribution by the man in question) it’s Jamie Peacock. With Fielden lying prostrate, it was Peacock who waded in and floored Mason.
A phenomenon who seemed to get better the older he got, the prop took no prisoners throughout his trophy-laden career - including being sent to the sin bin for squaring up to Josh Perry in the 2009 World Club championship final.
Now an erudite commentator on BBC (and Hull KR Head of Rugby), Jamie may have put away the boots, but maybe not the fists; only last year he offered out Rio Ferdinand when the soccer star stated his intent to get into the boxing ring
An outstanding player on this list, for many reasons. They only non-prop to feature; at 5’ 10” tall, Newton played hooker. Terry was not afraid to stand up to anyone who got in his face (even if that meant they had to stoop).
During his time with Leeds, he was frequently used to tire out the opposition with his incessant running (not to mention verbals and niggles). And he didn’t just tear it up on the pitch. There are many tales of his handiness on nights out - including squaring up to the aforementioned Barrie Mac when he pissed on his shoes during a night out!
Gone far too soon, the game continues to remember the great Terry Newton.
Just sneaking into the Super League era, Kelvin Skerrett. You what, including Kelvin? I carn’t spake!
But why wouldn’t he feature? BBC Challenge Cup games featuring Kelvin were always worth watching - sometimes a game would even break amongst the fighting! In fact, he was so intimidating he nearly persuaded Frano Botica to play for Wales. In his defence, his scrapping was often in the defence of his Wigan teammates
A double-fracture of the jaw in 1994 was compassionately received by Cas Coach Jon Joyner "He's given enough in his time. He can't have any complaints."
To really sum Kelvin up is to see him leap through the air to ‘accidently’(?) lamp referee Stuart Cummings. C’mon, haven’t we all thought about doing that at some time?
Finally, a special mention for Terry O’Connor. He took 7 taps from Gorden Tallis, laughed it off, then splotted the bloke’s nose. Tallis looked shell-shocked. And bloodied! O’Connor simply said after that his missus hit harder than Tallis.