Being a fullback is no easy ride; they provide the last line of defence, they are the ones to get the blame if something goes wrong, they are the defensive organisers and the key cog in the attacking wheel. Since Super League was founded in 1996, there have been a number of brilliant fullbacks that have made the No.1 shirt their own. Here are five of the best:

Paul Wellens

Mr St. Helens himself, Paul Wellens played all his career at the Merseyside club - a career which spanned 17 years. Wellens debuted for Saints all the way back in 1998 and didn't hang up his boots until 2015, becoming one of the most inspirational and hard-working fullbacks in the history of Super League.

Over the course of his career, Wellens scored over 1,000 points - a total of 231 tries, 40 goals and one drop-goal - in 493 games. Wellens was such a key figure for the Saints in the 2000s and early 2010s that he is only the third person to ever win the Lance Todd Trophy, the Harry Sunderland Trophy and the Man of Steel.

For St Helens, Wellens' record is seriously impressive. Whilst at the Lancashire club, the fullback won five Grand Finals, five Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges, firmly etching his name into St Helens folklore. His club form was so good that he earned international honours - 11 caps for England and 20 for Great Britain. Wellens also made national history in 2006 as he was a key part of the Great Britain team that beat Australia - 12-23 - on their own soil for the first time since 1968.

A true professional, it was a shame that Wellens' career ended midway through 2015 due to a hip injury. He will truly be remembered as one of the greatest fullbacks - not just for St Helens, but in the British game.

Kris Radlinski

Kris Radlinski was another fullback that spent his entire career at his hometown club - this time Wigan.

Over the course of 13 years, Radlinski appeared 323 times in a Warriors' shirt, scoring 183 tries and bizarrely kicking one goal. After playing at amateur level for Wigan St Patricks and Wigan St Judes, Radlinski signed professionally with Wigan at the age of 17. Though Kris played for Wigan three years before the creation of Super League in 1996, it was the move to the summer game which saw him come of age.

A potent attacking threat and an incredibly astute defender, Radlinski became one of Wigan's most important assets around the turn of the century.

Radlinski won three Premiership/Grand Finals (1994-95, 1996 and 1997), one Regal Trophy (1995-96) and one Challenge Cup (2002) with Wigan. On an individual level, Radlinski also won the Harry Sunderland and Lance Todd trophies in 1995 and 2002 respectively, and was even awarded an MBE in 2007 for his services to the sport. And, like Wellens, Radlinski's form at club level was enough to win him international honours. The fullback was capped 10 times by England and 20 times by Great Britain.

Like Wellens once more, the athletic Radlinski was forced to retire in March 2006 aged just 30 because of persistent injuries.

But, it was a testament of how much he loved the Wigan club that 'Radz" came out of retirement in June in an attempt to help the suffering Warriors side in 2006. He retired "fully" at the end of the 2006 season.

Luke Dorn

The first Australian on the list, Luke Dorn - aged 22 - moved to London Broncos ahead of the 2005 season after being only a bit-part player for both Manly and Sydney Roosters in his native country. For two years he played in the capital, making his name as a prolific try-scorer with 42 tries in 58 games, before Dorn moved to Salford in 2007.

He stayed in Lancashire for just one year, scoring 11 tries in 27 games. His next club was in West Yorkshire - more specifically, Castleford.

Here he excelled and quickly became a fans' favourite with his superb attacking skill and lightning pace. Again though, Dorn was only at the Jungle for a season - scoring 19 times in 26 games - before he relocated to the capital once more. Though he was initially a stand-off, it was at fullback where Dorn began to make his mark.

Under the newly-named Harlequins RL, the silky fullback scored 68 tries in 108 games - a feat which made him the highest-ever points scorer for the London club with 104 tries in 160 matches in his two stints in the capital. After four more years in London, Dorn made the move back to Castleford. Now aged 31, most in the Rugby League fraternity felt Dorn would be slowing down.

In fact, Dorn proved all the doubters wrong, hitting the form of his life for the next three seasons. In his second stint with the Tigers, Dorn scored 45 tries in 59 games and played a crucial role in the Tigers' progression to the 2014 Challenge Cup Final. By the time Dorn had retired in 2016, he had become Super League's highest-scoring overseas player.

Brett Hodgson

With over 200 NRL games under his belt, Brett Hodgson moved to English side Huddersfield Giants in 2009. His reputation was so strong that he was made captain in his first year at the club. A ball-playing full-back, Hodgson was Huddersfield's talisman that season, playing a crucial role in the Giants' Challenge Cup run - though they lost in the final.

The former Wests Tigers man proved so influential for Huddersfield in 2009 that he was awarded the Man of Steel. And, after over 50 appearances - in which he recorded nearly 450 points - for the West Yorkshire side, Hodgson was hunted by bigger clubs. Warrington Wolves - the Challenge Cup holders - was one of these and they snapped the fullback up ahead of the 2011 season.

Hodgson displayed his prowess to an even greater extent with the Wolves, helping them to their first League Leaders' Shield in 2011, though Warrington fell at the semi-final stage of the play-offs. Then, in 2012, Hodgson was instrumental in the Warrington side that won their third Challenge Cup in four years, scoring a try, kicking five goals and winning the Lance Todd Trophy as a result of his stellar performance.

Hodgson hung up his boots at the end of the 2013 season after an impressive five-year stint in England.

Zak Hardaker

Love him or loathe him, Zak Hardaker has to make this list. For a player with a list of indiscretions that could fill a book, Hardaker is an immensely talented No.1. Hardaker joined Leeds Rhinos from local side Featherstone in October 2010 for a £60,000 fee. Over the course of five-and-a-half seasons with the West Yorkshire club, Hardaker played 154 times, scoring 72 tries and kicking 45 goals and a drop goal. Despite starting off his career as a winger or centre, Hardaker made the move to fullback because of an injury to Brent Webb midway through the 2012 season - it was a match made in heaven as Hardaker went on to earn the Super League Young Player of the Year for 2012.

Hardaker excelled from this point onwards, becoming a key player in Leeds' superb trophy-winning era. Whilst at Leeds, the athletic fullback won three Grand Finals (2011, 2012 and 2015), two Challenge Cups (2014 and 2015) and one World Club Challenge (2012). Individually, Hardaker won the Man of Steel in 2015, becoming the first Rhinos' player to do so since Iestyn Harris in 1998. Though his off-the-field character has been plagued by indiscretions to say the least - he has missed two World Cups because of his behaviour - he has still won five England caps.

After a troubled 2016 - where the fullback played 11 games for Penrith Panthers on loan following a fallout at Leeds - Hardaker made the move to bitter rivals Castleford. The 2017 season was one to remember for Hardaker and the Tigers as the club finished first for the first time in their 91-year history and reached their maiden Super League Grand Final.

Hardaker was superb at fullback throughout the year, easily filling the void left by the departing Luke Dorn, scoring nine tries in 24 appearances. However, in true Zak-style, yet another off-the-field issue - this time the alleged taking of cocaine - ensured his stay at Castleford was only for a year. Though apparently being hunted by Wigan, Hardaker's future still remains up in the air.