IT was classic PR from Saints chief executive David Howes. When record buy Paul Newlove was dropped off at Knowsley Road in a Securicor van, with cameras clicking, it was the ultimate calling card that Saints meant business ahead of the first year of Super League.

Saints had paid Bradford a record fee of £250,000 and sent Paul Loughlin, Bernard Dwyer and Sonny Nickle in the opposite direction in the sort of move that we had only seen Leeds or Wigan pull off in the previous decade.

The son of former Featherstone and Hull stand off John, Newlove was a naturally gifted rugby player who had started his career at Post Office Road where he earned his first cap as a teenager.

Although he had plenty of strength, Newlove’s strength lay in his footwork and ability to beat a man.

A classy tradesman centre, Newlove possessed the skills to release his wingman, and Anthony Sullivan was the recipient of that as part of Saints’ illustrious left-hand gang that also featured Chris Joynt and Tommy Martyn.

But Newlove knew exactly where the line was and he immediately repaid some of Saints’ investment crossing for 36 tries in 27 appearances, including four hat-tricks, during that amazing first summer season in which Saints won their first Challenge Cup in 20 years and then topped it off by winning the inaugural Super League.

More Wembley glory followed in 1997 and his third and final Challenge Cup winners medal came in the treble concluding victory over Bradford at Twickenham in 2001.

A Grand Final winner in 1999, Newlove missed the following year’s final through injury.

But he was back on board to play his role in Saints’ landmark triumph over Australian champions Brisbane Broncos.

Newlove’s break provided the pivotal moment, skinning Wendell Sailor before sending skipper Chris Joynt storming to the line for the crucial try and with the hail and sleet descending on Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, the tide turned.

Saints were top of the world.

An Achilles injury sustained when racing for the line at Hull’s Boulevard cut short his 2001 season, but that did not finish Newlove and more silverware followed in 2002 with Newlove collecting another Grand Final winner’s ring in the 19-18 win over Bradford before moving on to Castleford at the end of 2003.