The role of the loose forward has changed dramatically since the creation of Super League in 1996. Prior to the summer game, the No.13 had a playmaker's role and the spot was often filled by a skilful, ball-handling utility player such as Ellery Hanley. In more recent years however, the loose forward position has often been occupied by an extra prop that has somewhat nullified the position as providing an extra pivot. Even with this adaptation though, some brilliant ball-handling loose forwards have appeared in Super League over the years.

Here are five of the best:

Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell began his career at Wigan in 1991 and ended it at the same club in 2004. Over the course of 13 years, Farrell developed into one of the greatest British loose forwards to have ever played the game. In 370 appearances, the 6 ft 4, 107kg monster accrued over 3,100 points - a tally of 77 tries, 1,026 goals and 16 drop-goals. In 1992 Farrell won the Regal Trophy with Wigan then a year later became the youngest ever winner of the Challenge Cup at 17 years and 11 months.

During the Super League era, Farrell won one Grand Final, one World Club Challenge and one Challenge Cup - though he had also won three Challenge Cups before the creation of the summer game in 1996.

Farrell became so influential for Wigan that twice he won the greatest individual accolade - the Man of Steel (in 1996 and 2004) and when he retired in 2004, the Warriors went on a downward spiral that nearly resulted in relegation in 2006.

Farrell was not just an incredible player for his club, but he was a giant of a player for his country too; Farrell was appointed Wigan captain in July 1996 and then just a few months later was given the armband for Great Britain on the 1996 Lions tour at the youngest-ever captaincy age of 21 years and four months.

For Great Britain, Farrell registered 34 appearances and scored 134 points and for England, the loose forward notched up 78 points in 11 games.

A hard-hitting, physical yet skilful and dynamic No.13, Farrell epitomised the last of the dying breed of typical loose forwards. He offered Wigan another exciting attacking dimension and excelled for both club and country at a consistently high level.

Paul Sculthorpe

Though Paul Sculthorpe made his name for St Helens, he began his career at Warrington, playing in the inaugural Super League season in 1996. Sculthorpe was at the Wolves for two seasons, scoring 17 tries in 78 appearances before a move to St Helens - for a record fee of £375,000 - really kickstarted his career at the end of 1997. At Saints, Sculthorpe became a legend, overseeing the club through some of the most successful days in its history. In 2013, Sculthorpe was also given the honour of an MBE for services to Rugby League and charity.

Over a period of 11 years, Sculthorpe played 247 times for St Helens. In that time, he scored 113 tries and kicked 392 goals and 10 drop-goals to reach over 1,200 points.

Whilst at Saints, Sculthorpe won three Super League titles, one World Club Challenge and four Challenge Cups. Individually, Sculthorpe became the first ever player to scoop up the prestigious Man of Steel Award in consecutive years - 2001 and 2002.

In 2004, the 6 ft 3, 101kg loose forward was appointed captain of the Lancashire club after seven very successful years. And, when Sculthorpe retired in 2008, he went down as one of the greatest ever servants of the club.

Sculthorpe was so important for St Helens that he just had to earn representative honours. In his career, Sculthorpe amassed four appearances for England - scoring four tries - and 26 for Great Britain - scoring five tries and kicking three goals and two drop-goals.

Both he and Andy Farrell were two of the greatest loose forwards to ever play on a rugby field and it was incredible to see the two play both with and against each other for country and club respectively.

Adrian Vowles

Though Adrian Vowles spent just four years at Castleford between 1997 and 2001 - and added six more appearances between 2003 and 2005 - he is very highly thought of at the West Yorkshire club. Born in Cunnamulla, Queensland, Australia, Vowles became an instant hit in Rugby League, winning Player of the Year in his debut season with the Gold Coast Seagulls as well as earning a Queensland representative cap in the 1994 State of Origin series.

In 1997, he swapped the sunny shores of Townsville (where his club North Queensland Cowboys played) for the mining town of Castleford.

Such a change in culture and atmosphere meant that Vowles would take time to settle. But when the loose-forward hit his straps, boy did Castleford reap the rewards. "The Assassin" - as he was aptly nicknamed - was one of the toughest and most durable forwards in Super League.

In fact, his impact on the Castleford club was so great that he was named in the 1999 Super League Dream Team and was awarded the Man of Steel in the same year. In doing so, Vowles became the first Tigers player to receive the award since its creation in 1977 as he became so close to steering Castleford to both Challenge Cup and Super League finals. At Castleford, Vowles played 148 times, scoring 33 tries and kicking one goal and one drop-goal.

A true servant to the club, Vowles became one of Castleford's most popular players in the Super League era. The loose forward - though less than 6 ft - was an incredibly physical player, but he also had a touch of magic which enabled him to create something out of nothing. For the four years he was with Castleford, Vowles was perhaps the figure that teammates and fans looked towards in order to get the team rolling.

Even when the loose forward went to Leeds ahead of the 2002 season - where he scored two tries in 17 games - and then to Wakefield - where he scored six tries in 27 games over a two-year period - Vowles' heart was evidently still with the Tigers as he returned in 2005 to help Castleford's promotion push back to Super League.

Sean O'Loughlin

Like Andy Farrell, Sean O'Loughlin has played all of his career so far at Wigan since debuting for the club in 2002. Since then, O'Loughlin has registered over 400 appearances for the Warriors, scoring 86 tries and kicking three goals and two drop-goals. Though he has suffered greatly with injury over the years, O'Loughlin is still one of Wigan's most important players, offering something unique and different to the Wigan team that very few other Super League sides have.

At Wigan, O'Loughlin has won three Super League titles, one World Club Challenge and two Challenge Cups and even captained the Warriors to a cup and league double in 2013 - the first player to do so for the Wigan club in the modern era.

A skilful ball-handler with an aggressive defensive style, O'Loughlin is still one of the toughest forwards in Super League, despite being 35 years of age.

No wonder then, that he continues to represent his country - although he missed out on the 2017 World Cup Final with injury. Over the course of his career so far, the loose forward has racked up 11 appearances for Great Britain and 23 for England - scoring five tries for the latter. Though his career is surely winding down, O'Loughlin is still a crucial figure in the national side and will be until he finally hangs up his boots.

Joe Westerman

Joe Westerman burst onto the Rugby League scene as a 17-year-old for hometown club Castleford Tigers in 2007.

Over the course of four seasons, the talented youngster scored 43 tries and kicked 175 goals in 103 games before a £100,000 move to Hull FC came about at the end of 2010. On Humberside, the rangy loose forward played 126 games, scoring 29 tries and kicking 59 goals as well as one drop-goal. And, it was at Hull where Westerman earned an England call-up in 2014 - though he registered just one appearance with the national side.

Then, in another big-money move, Westerman swapped Hull for Warrington in October 2015 for £150,000. However, his stay at the Wolves lasted just two years before he was once more changing clubs - this time to newly-promoted Championship side Toronto Wolfpack ahead of the 2018 season.

Yet, he lasted just six games before being released from his contract to pursue options elsewhere. Though Westerman has failed to live up to the heights that his form as a youngster showed, he is still a very talented ball-handler and would be an asset to any Super League side.