SAINTS have been blessed with some great overseas centres over the years – Mal Meninga, Jamie Lyon and Matt Gidley come to mind.

But some of St Helens’ homegrown three-quarters rightfully deserve to be up there in the clubs Hall of Fame – from Duggie Greenall, John Walsh and Billy Benyon.

Rightfully deserving of plaudits was the long-striding, goal-kicking perfect winger’s centre Paul Loughlin - our choice for Day 20 of Great Saints for November.

Lockers joined his hometown club from St Helens Colts in the summer of 1983, and proved he was no fool when, aged just 17, he made his debut against Oldham 1 April, 1984. He played a couple more times in that campaign as he began to learn his craft under coach Benyon.

Although understandably limited in first team appearances, 1984-85 was a key season in his development under the tutelage of Kangaoos test centre Mal Meninga. Big Mal was a big influence in aspects of his centre play, particular the timing of that hand off.

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His breakthrough season came the year after when he got a decent run at full back before nailing down the centre spot in what was a tough season, after the Meninga party was over and Wigan first started looking to become the dominant force.

With Alex Murphy replacing Billy Benyon as coach, Saints initially struggled but rose from a low point to climb the league table and only just miss out on the title to Halifax.

Loughlin was now fully established and broke club records with his haul of two tries and 16 goals, 40 points, in the 112-0 over Carlisle.

It was not simply his own points he was racking up, he was also providing first class service to wingman Barry Ledger.

Saints marched to Wembley in 1987 but Loughlin’s brilliant dummy and go, arcing run for a long range second half try, which left Graeme Eadie clutching at air, was not enough to beat Halifax.

Loughlin’s two tries, including an aquaplane one, and three goals provided 14 of the 15 points Saints needed to pip Leeds to win the John Player Trophy Final for the first and only time.

Loughlin earned a spot on the Great Britain tour to Australia and New Zealand. He would produce the pivotal play from full back, attacking instead of kicking on the last, with his long stride eating up the yards before sending Henderson Gill in for a wonder try in the win over the Roos.

In an otherwise tough year, Loughlin’s pass sent Les Quirk in at the corner for the late semi-final win over Widnes to book a Wembley spot. But a whitewashing by Wigan followed.

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Loughlin continued to be a dependable member of the team – and he was often coveted by Wigan, who had taken Saints’ other crown jewels in Andy Platt and Gary Connolly.

He remained loyal to Saints and was in the side that was beginning to challenge Wigan again under Mike McClennan. Another Wembley appearance followed in 1991, alas another defeat.

Earlier that season he played in the tumultuous test series against Australia that went so close to winning the Ashes. GB won the first test at Wembley, and Loughlin scored a 50 metre interception try in the second test to level the game. Alas, a late Meninga try stole it and the Roos retained the Ashes in the third test at a packed Elland Road.

He joined a second Lions tour in 1992 but sustained a serious injury that kept him out of the game at the start of the 1992/93 season.

Saints narrowly lost the title that year on points difference, but defeated Wigan in the Premiership Final with Loughlin sliding over for a try at Old Trafford.

Saints were again in transition in the next few years and on the eve of Super League, Loughlin – along with Bernard Dwyer and Sonny Nickle – was sent to Bradford in a deal that brough Paul Newlove to Saints.

He left a remarkable record, with his 2004 points putting him third on the club’s all-time records, but he also left a blueprint of how to play centre – taking chances when they came but providing exemplary service to his man on the flank.