TODAY’S #ThrowbackThursday takes a look back at the career of Saints’ fine ball handling loose forward Harry Pinner.

A product of the Saints Colts, Pinner enjoyed more than 10 years at Knowsley Road, going on to captain his hometown team and Great Britain.

St Helens Star: Harry Pinner. Picture by Brian Peers.

Although not the biggest of forwards, Pinner’s great strengths were his vision, reading of the game and ability to see what was on.

And when it came to finding the astute short inside ball, long cut-out pass or shrewd kick Pinner knew exactly which tool to use to unlock the opposing defences.

St Helens Star:

Pinner made his debut in December 1975, and slowly grabbed his chances to impress when given an opportunity in that experienced pack.

Those displays earned him a non-playing bench spot in the 1976 Premiership Final, where Saints completed a season’s treble.

The following season he grabbed the loose forward jersey with both hands, with David Hull moving up into the second row and then departing.

St Helens Star:

Pinner established himself in that 1976-77 season, where his kicking became a strong feature.

But for a harsh call in the Challenge Cup semi-final, he would have been at Wembley that year.

Instead it was a bittersweet Premiership Final ending for Pinner against Warrington.

Although Saints won, the young loose forward was sent off for fighting with Warrington stand-off Alan Gwilliam.

Saints adjusted better - and ran away with it.

Wembley followed in 1978 and it was a Challenge Cup Final heartbreak against Leeds.

Pinner’s early up and under had yielded the opening try for Graham Liptrot, but Leeds fought back to sicken Saints.

Alas, the rugby gods would see that Pinner would never play at Wembley again.

St Helens Star:

A rare Saints trophyless season became a feature, and it was left to Pinner and young leaders Neil Holding and Graham Liptrot to shoulder a lot of the burden of a team in transition.

Saints could not compete with the spending of the two Hulls – or match cup kings Widnes – making it a hard slog at times in the early 80s.

But who knows where Saints would have been without Pinner, who made the team play around him – especially after the departures of George Nicholls and Eric Chisnall.

He was a leader beyond his years, often playing behind a pack that was getting a mullering.

There were some bright moments – and Pinner’s display in the televised Challenge Cup win over Hull FC, which yielded a try and four drop goal, saw co-commentator to declare that “They will probably give him the Town Hall clock.”

A promising season was scuppered by a Wigan knockout in the next round, but the following year the trophy drought was lifted.

St Helens Star:

A Mal Meninga inspired saw Saints lift the Lancashire Cup in 1984 with a win at a jam-packed Central Park.

Pinner capped that fine year with a Harry Sunderland-winning performance, capped by a dummy and break through four Hull Kingston Rovers defenders in the Premiership win.

St Helens Star: Harry Pinner with the 1985 Premiership Trophy

Pinner was in his prime and that was recognised when Maurice Bamford selected him to lead Great Britain against New Zealand in the series that sparked an international rebirth.

Alas, his time at Saints was almost up and appeared to fall out of favour with the way new coach Alex Murphy wished to play.

He was shipped out to Widnes in October 1986, in exchange for GB prop John Fieldhouse.

He left with a Saints record of 335 games, 78 tries, 140 goals and a remarkable 73 drop goals.