Why Paul Sculthorpe is a sporting legend

Having announced our latest competition for an extraordinary prize made available to us by the man himself Paul Sculthorpe, it makes sense to make sure you know why it is an opportunity you simply don’t want to miss.

For anyone that remotely has an interest in sport, the name Paul Sculthorpe will almost certainly ring a bell. One of the finest athletes brought through the British ranks, Sculthorpe enjoyed an illustrious career in Rugby League.

The beginning of his playing career saw Sculthorpe rise through the ranks at Warrington Wolves, featuring in the inaugural Super League season in 1996. An impressive start to his professional career attracted interest from St Helen’s. In 1997, a young Sculthorpe made the move to the Saints for what was at the time a world record fee of around £375,000, something that proved to be irrelevant as he focussed solely on his game and cemented a legacy that will be remembered for years to come.

During his time at St Helen’s he proved himself to be one of the best players to participate in the sport, earning his side over 1000 points. Sculthorpe often nicknamed ‘Scully’ was awarded for his outstanding efforts with several pieces of silverware throughout his career, such as the Super League Grand Final in 1999, 2000 and 2002. He was also won other awards like the Challenge Cup in 2004 and 2006 as captain.

On an individual level, Scully reached the pinnacle in many aspects of an aspiring athletes dream. The year 2004, will most likely live long in the memory for the former loose forward, he was handed the captaincy at club level. A year later he would succeed Andy Farrell with the Great Britain captaincy also handed to the two-time Man of Steel. Sculthorpe received the Man of Steel accolade in back to back years, 2001 and 2002, a feat that is still yet to be matched.

Unfortunately, the end of Sculthorpe’s glittering career didn’t quite portray the man for his true greatness. A substantial battle with injuries forced him to leave the playing field behind. However, since retiring he has still contributed heavily in the sport. When we spoke with Scully himself, he openly expressed his eagerness in helping the current crop of players, and his involvement in coaching. It was very much easy for us to see why we were speaking to such a top athlete, Sculthorpe’s attitude towards keeping himself primed and condition even during his retirement spoke volumes.

Away from Rugby League though, Sculthorpe is quite frankly one of the most incredible people you could wish to come across. So much so that he was awarded for his efforts in helping charity – with particular involvement in the Steve Prescott Foundation – and his dedication to Rugby with an MBE. He was awarded the accolade in 2012 and presented the MBE by his royal Highness Prince Charles.

Speaking on the news of Sculthorpe’s award, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said via Love Rugby League:

“On behalf of the whole Rugby League family, I would like to congratulate Paul on this richly-deserved accolade.

“Throughout his career with Warrington, St Helens, England and Great Britain, Paul was the consummate professional and a role model who helped inspire thousands of youngsters to play Rugby League.

“He has continued to be an outstanding ambassador for the sport through his development work in the North West and his work with UK Anti-Doping in their 100%ME campaign.

“In recent years Paul has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities including the Rugby League Benevolent Fund through his involvement with the Steve Prescott Foundation.

“I am delighted that Paul’s efforts, his achievements and the values which he represents have been recognised in this way.”

It is fair to say Sculthorpe deserves the status as one of the greatest athletes Britain has produced.

(Image via St Helen’s reporter)

James Miller

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