APOLLO Perelini was chosen by Star readers as the prop to go alongside James Graham and Keiron Cunningham in the front row in our all time Super League XIII.

SAMOAN born Apollo Perelini was among the first of a new breed of explosive and athletic rugby league front rowers.

And he certainly used those qualities to help shape the team’s history in the early years of Super League.

His birth roughly coincided with the Apollo 11 moon-landing – hence one of the most distinctive names in Saints history.

Perelini earned his hard man reputation as a tough tackling wing forward playing for Western Samoa, playing a part in the shock 1991 World Cup win over Wales side featuring Scott Gibbs in Cardiff.

Three years later they would both be playing at Knowsley Road, with Perelini arriving in 1994 with the nickname ‘The Terminator’.

Union converts working the northern rugby league circuit with a nickname like that were always going to be tested, but Perelini was tough enough to handle it.

Former dual code international John Bentley can vouch for that.

In his autobiography the former Leeds, Halifax and tugby union British Lions wing wrote: "I like to run directly at players  because I reckon the ball carrier can hurt the tackler just as much as the other way around.

"However I should have known better with Apollo Perelini. Unquestionably the hardest player I have ever come across, he had already wiped me out when we had met on a previous occasion.

"This time he knocked me out.

"It was actually an accidental clash of heads  which did the damage, shattering my cheekbone and sparking me out."

 Positionally, after a one-game spell in the back row, Perelini’s conversion to prop was a natural fit – and there his fitness and mobility came into their own, particularly with the onset of summer rugby league in 1996.

That Saints won the double in 1996 was a combination of many factors – but Perelini played his full part, coming up with important tries in both competitions.

In the Ultimate Comeback final at Wembley, the game had been a real rollercoaster ride with Saints just leading 34-32 when the big Samoan took Bobbie Goulding’s inside ball to storm through two tacklers to seal it.

Attention then switched to Super League where Saints were nip and tuck with Wigan when they headed to London five games from the end.

Saints needed to keep winning to secure the title – but with 13 to play London led until Perelini launched himself at the line, twisting to get the ball down. The video ref took an age to give it, but it was a pivotal moment in the inaugural Super League.

Along with the under-rated Julian O’Neill, Perelini fronted up to the big Bradford pack in the 1999 final to help secure victory, and the likeable Samoan was back at Old Trafford to sign off his league playing career with another Grand Final victory, beating Wigan 29-16.

Apollo Perelini (1994-2000).

Appearances: 193.
Tries: 44.
Points: 176.

The Saints Super League XIII Star readers chose: Wellens; Albert, Lyon, Newlove, Sullivan; Martyn, Long; Graham, Cunningham, Perelini, Joynt, Soliola, Sculthorpe.