Rugby league

Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field.[1][2][3] One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players.[4] Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.[5]

In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team's goal line; this is called a try, and is the primary method of scoring.[3] The opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball.[3] In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals. After each try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points.[3] Kicks at goal may also be awarded for penalties, and field goals can be attempted at any time.

Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea,[6][7][8] and is a popular sport in Northern England,[9] the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia,[10] South Auckland in New Zealand, southwest France and Lebanon.[11]

The Super League and the National Rugby League (NRL) are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European, Australasian and Pacific Island countries, and is governed by the Rugby League International Federation. The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954; the current holders are Australia.[12]

Rugby league
Lance hohaia running into the defence (rugby league)
An attacking player attempts to evade two defenders
Highest governing bodyRugby League International Federation
NicknamesLeague, RL, Rugby XIII (used throughout Europe) League, footy, football (used throughout the Oceania regions)
First played7 September 1895, Yorkshire Northern England. (Post schism)
Characteristics
ContactFull contact
Team membersThirteen
Mixed genderSingle
TypeTeam sport, Outdoor
EquipmentRugby League ball
VenueRugby league playing field

Etymology

Rugby league football takes its name from the bodies that split to create a new form of rugby, distinct from that run by the Rugby Football Unions, in Britain, Australia and New Zealand between 1895 and 1908.

The first of these, the Northern Rugby Football Union, was established in 1895 as a breakaway faction of England's Rugby Football Union (RFU). Both organisations played the game under the same rules at first, although the Northern Union began to modify rules almost immediately, thus creating a new faster, stronger paced form of rugby football. Similar breakaway factions split from RFU-affiliated unions in Australia and New Zealand in 1907 and 1908, renaming themselves "rugby football leagues" and introducing Northern Union rules.[13] In 1922, the Northern Union also changed its name to the Rugby Football League[14] and thus over time the sport itself became known as "rugby league" football.

History

Challenge cup 1897
The first ever Challenge Cup Final, 1897: Batley (left) vs St Helens (right)
The George Hotel, Huddersfield - geograph.org.uk - 676033
George Hotel, Huddersfield

In 1895, a schism in Rugby football resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU).[15] Although many factors played a part in the split, including the success of working class northern teams, the main division was caused by the RFU decision to enforce the amateur principle of the sport, preventing "broken time payments" to players who had taken time off work to play rugby. Northern teams typically had more working class players (coal miners, mill workers etc.) who could not afford to play without this compensation, in contrast to affluent southern teams who had other sources of income to sustain the amateur principle.[4] In 1895, a decree by the RFU banning the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged led to twenty-two clubs (including Stockport, who negotiated by telephone) meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and forming the "Northern Rugby Football Union".[16] Within fifteen years of that first meeting in Huddersfield, more than 200 RFU clubs had left to join the rugby revolution.

In 1897, the line-out was abolished[17] and in 1898 professionalism introduced.[18] In 1906, the Northern Union changed its rules, reducing teams from 15 to 13 a side and replacing the ruck formed after every tackle with the play the ball.[19]

A similar schism to that which occurred in England took place in Sydney, Australia. There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded at Bateman's Hotel in George Street.[20] Rugby league then went on to displace rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales and Queensland.[21]

On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 (official figure 102,569) spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup Final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford, England, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code.[20] Also in 1954 the Rugby League World Cup, the first for either code of rugby, was formed at the instigation of the French. In 1966, the International Board introduced a rule that a team in possession was allowed three play-the-balls and on the fourth tackle a scrum was to be formed. This was increased to six tackles in 1972 and in 1983 the scrum was replaced by a handover.[22] 1967 saw the first professional Sunday matches of rugby league played.

The first sponsors, Joshua Tetley and John Player, entered the game for the 1971–72 Northern Rugby Football League season. Television would have an enormous impact on the sport of rugby league in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought worldwide broadcasting rights and refused to take no for an answer. The media giant's "Super League" movement saw big changes for the traditional administrators of the game. In Europe, it resulted in a move from a winter sport to a summer one as the new Super League competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League war resulted in long and costly legal battles and changing loyalties, causing significant damage to the code in an extremely competitive sporting market. In 1997 two competitions were run alongside each other in Australia, after which a peace deal in the form of the National Rugby League was formed. The NRL has since become recognised as the sport's flagship competition and since that time has set record TV ratings and crowd figures.[23]

Rules

Laws of the game

WIN Stadium trial match
A typical game of rugby league being played.

The objective in rugby league is to score more points through tries, goals (also known as conversions) and field goals (also known as drop goals) than the opposition within the 80 minutes of play. If after two halves of play, each consisting of forty minutes, the two teams are drawing, a draw may be declared, or the game may enter extra time under the golden point rule, depending on the relevant competition's format.

The try is the most common form of scoring,[24] and a team will usually attempt to score one by running and kicking the ball further upfield or passing from player-to-player in order to manoeuvre around the opposition's defence. A try involves touching the ball to the ground on or beyond the defending team's goal-line and is worth four points. A goal is worth two points and may be gained from a conversion or a penalty. A field goal, or drop goal, is only worth one point and is gained by dropping and then kicking the ball on the half volley between the uprights in open play.

Field position is crucial in rugby league,[25] achieved by running with or kicking the ball. Passing in rugby league may only be in a backward or sideways direction. Teammates, therefore, have to remain on-side by not moving ahead of the player with the ball. However the ball may be kicked ahead for teammates, but again, if they are in front of the kicker when the ball is kicked, they are deemed off-side. Tackling is a key component of rugby league play. Only the player holding the ball may be tackled. A tackle is complete, for example, when the player is held by one or more opposing players in such a manner that he can make no further progress and cannot part with the ball, or when the player is held by one or more opposing players and the ball or the hand or arm holding the ball comes into contact with the ground.[26] An attacking team gets a maximum of six tackles to progress up the field before possession is changed over. Once the tackle is completed, the ball-carrier must be allowed to get to his feet to 'play-the-ball'. Ball control is also important in rugby league, as a fumble of the ball on the ground forces a handover, unless the ball is fumbled backwards. The ball can also be turned over by going over the sideline.

Comparison with rugby union

The comparison with rugby union is possible because of the games' similarities and shared origins; however, they remain two distinctly different sports.

The inherent similarities between rugby league and rugby union have at times led to the possibility of a merger of the two variants[27] and experimental hybrid games have been played that use a mix of the two sports' rules.[28]

Positions

Leeds Rhinos1
Leeds playing at the 2008 Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield Trinity at Headingley

Players on the pitch are divided into forwards and backs, although the game's rules apply to all players the same way. Each position has a designated number to identify himself from other players. These numbers help to identify which position a person is playing. The system of numbering players is different depending on which country the match is played in. In Australia and New Zealand, each player is usually given a number corresponding to their playing position on the field. However, since 1996 European teams have been able to grant players specific squad numbers, which they keep without regard to the position they play, similarly to association football.[29]

Substitutes (generally referred to as "the bench") are allowed in the sport, and are typically used when a player gets tired or injured, although they can also be used tactically. Each team is currently allowed four substitutes, and in Australia and New Zealand, these players occupy shirt numbers 14 to 22.[30] There are no limitations on which players must occupy these interchangeable slots. Generally, twelve interchanges are allowed in any game from each team, although in the National Rugby League, this was reduced to ten prior to the 2008 season[31] and further reduced to eight prior to the 2016 season. If a team has to interchange a player due to the blood bin rule or due to injury, and this was the result of misconduct from the opposing team, the compromised team does not have to use one of its allocated interchanges to take the player in question off the field.

Backs

The backs are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. They are often the most creative and evasive players on the field, relying on running, kicking and handling skills, as well as tactics and set plays, to break the defensive line, instead of brute force. Generally forwards do the majority of the work (hit-ups/tackling).

  • The title of fullback (numbered 1) comes from the fullback's defensive position where the player drops out of the defensive line to cover the rear from kicks and runners breaking the line. They therefore usually are good ball catchers and clinical tacklers. In attack, the fullback will typically make runs into the attack or support a runner in anticipation of a pass out of the tackle. Fullbacks can play a role in attack similar to a halfback or five-eighth and the fact that the fullback does not have to defend in the first defensive line means that a coach can keep a playmaker from the tackling responsibilities of the first line whilst allowing them to retain their attacking role.
  • The wingers (numbered 2 and 5) are normally the fastest players in a team and play on the far left and right fringes of the field (the wings). Their main task is to receive passes and score tries. The wingers also drop back on the last tackle to cover the left and right sides of the field for kicks while the fullback covers the middle.
  • The centres (numbered 3 and 4) are positioned one in from the wings and together complete what is known as the three-quarter line. Usually the best mixture of power and vision, their main role is to try to create attacking opportunities for their team and defend against those of the opposition. Along with the wingers, the centres score plenty of tries throughout a season. They usually have a large build and therefore can often play in the second row forwards.

Usually, the stand-off/five-eighth and scrum-half/half-back are a team's creative unit or 'playmakers'. During the interactions between a team's 'key' players (five-eighth, half-back, fullback, lock forward, and hooker), the five-eighth and half-back will usually be involved in most passing moves. These two positions are commonly called the "halves".

  • The stand-off half, or five-eighth (numbered 6): There is not much difference between the stand-off half and the scrum half (halfback), in that both players may operate in front of the pack during 'forward play' (as prime receiver [7] and shadow receiver [6], one on each side of the ruck, or both on same side of the ruck), and both players may operate in front of the backs during 'back play' (as prime pivot [6] and shadow pivot [7], one on each side of the pack, or both on same side of the ruck / pack). The Five-Eighth position is named with regard to the distance that the player stands in relevance to the team.
  • The halfback (numbered 7): There is not much difference between the halfback and the five-eighth, in that both players may operate in front of the pack during 'forward play' (as prime receiver [7] and shadow receiver [6], one on each side of the ruck, or both on same side of the ruck). Both players may operate in front of the backs during 'back play' (as prime pivot [6] and shadow pivot [7], one on each side of the ruck/pack, or both on same side of the ruck/pack). The halfback position is named with regard to halfway between the fullback and the forwards.

Forwards

Ftwins
Rugby league is noted for its hard physical play

The forwards' two responsibilities can be broken into "normal play" and "scrum play". For information on a forward's role in the scrum see rugby league scrummage. Forward positions are traditionally named after the player's position in the scrum yet are equal with respect to "normal play" with the exception of the hooker. Forward positions are traditionally assigned as follows:

  • The props or front-row forwards (numbered 8 and 10) are normally the largest players on field. They are positioned in the centre of the line. The prop will be an "enforcer", dissuading the opposition from attacking the centre of the defensive line and, in attack, will give the team momentum by taking the ball up to the defence aggressively.
  • The hooker (numbered 9) is most likely to play the role of dummy half. In defence the hooker usually defends in the middle of the line against the opposition's props and second-rowers. The hooker will be responsible for organising the defence in the middle of the field. In attack as dummy-half this player is responsible for starting the play from every play-the-ball by either passing the ball to the right player, or, at opportune moments, running from dummy-half. It is vital that the hooker can pass very well. Traditionally, hookers "hooked" the ball in the scrum. Hookers also make probably more tackles than any other player on the field. The hooker is always involved in the play and needs to be very fit. They need to have a very good knowledge of the game and the players around them.
  • The second row forwards (numbered 11 and 12) The modern day second row is very similar to a centre and is expected to be faster, more mobile and have more skills than the prop and will play amongst the three-quarters, providing strength in attack and defence when the ball is passed out to the wings. Good second-rowers combine the skills and responsibilities of props and centres in the course of the game.
  • The Loose forward or Lock (numbered 13) is the only forward in the third (last) row of the scrum. They are usually among the fittest players on the field, covering the entire field on both attacking and defending duties. Typically they are big ball-runners who can occasionally slot in as a passing link or kick option; it is not uncommon for locks to have the skills of a five-eighth and to play a similar role in the team.

Rugby league worldwide

Rugby league is played in over 70 nations throughout the world. Seven countries — Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Wales — have teams that play at a professional level, while the rest are completely amateur. 36 national teams are ranked by the RLIF and a further 32 are officially recognized and unranked.[32] The strongest rugby league nations are Australia, England and New Zealand.

World Cup

The Rugby League World Cup is the highest form of representative rugby league and currently features 14 teams. Those which have contested World Cups are; Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Fiji, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Ireland, USA, Scotland, Italy, Tonga, Cook Islands, Lebanon, Russia and South Africa. The current World Champions are Australia, who won the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Oceania and South Pacific

The Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation's purpose is to spread the sport of rugby league throughout their region along with other governing bodies such as the ARL and NZRL.[33] Since rugby league was introduced to Australia in 1908, it has become the largest television sport and 3rd most attended sport in Australia.[34] Neighbouring Papua New Guinea is one of two countries to have rugby league as its national sport (with Cook Islands).[7][8] Australia's elite club competition also features a team from Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city. Rugby league is the dominant winter sport in the eastern Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.[35] The game is also among the predominant sports of Tonga[36] and is played in other Pacific nations such as Samoa and Fiji. In Australia, and indeed the rest of the region, the annual State of Origin series ranks among the most popular sporting events.[37][38]

Europe

The Rugby League European Federation are responsible for developing rugby league in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere,[39]

In England, rugby league has traditionally been associated with the northern counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria where the game originated, especially in towns along the M62 corridor.[9] Its popularity has also increased elsewhere.[40][41][42] As of 2019, only two of the twelve Super League teams are based outside of these traditional counties: London Broncos and Catalans Dragons (Perpignan). Two other teams from outside the United Kingdom, the Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique, also compete in the English Rugby League system. Both teams will play in the Rugby League Championship in 2018.

Super League average attendances are in the 8 to 9,500 range. The average Super League match attendance in 2014 was 8,365.[43] Ranked the eighth most popular sport in the UK overall,[44] rugby league is the 27th most popular participation sport in England according to figures released by Sport England; the total number of rugby league participants in England aged 16 and over was 44,900 in 2017.[45] This is a 39% drop from 10 years ago.[45] While the sport is largely concentrated in the north of England there have been complaints about its lack of profile in the British media. On the eve of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final where England would face Australia, English amateur rugby league coach Ben Dawson stated, “we’re in the final of a World Cup. First time in more than 30 years and there's no coverage anywhere.”[46]

France first played rugby league as late as 1934, where in the five years prior to the Second World War, the sport's popularity increased as Frenchmen became disenchanted with the state of French rugby union in the 1930s.[47] However, after the Allied Forces were defeated by Germany in June 1940, the Vichy regime in the south seized assets belonging to rugby league authorities and clubs and banned the sport for its association with the left-wing Popular Front government that had governed France before the war.[47] The sport was unbanned after the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 and the collapse of the Vichy regime, although it was still actively marginalised by the French authorities until the 1990s.[47] Despite this, the national side appeared in the finals of the 1954 and 1968 World Cups, and the country hosted the 1954 event.[48][49] In 1996, a French team, Paris Saint-Germain was one of eleven teams which formed the new Super League, although the club was dissolved in 1997.[50] In 2006, the Super League admitted the Catalans Dragons, a team from Perpignan in the southern Languedoc-Roussillon region.[51] They have subsequently reached the 2007 Challenge Cup Final and made the playoffs of the 2008 Super League XIII season. The success of the Dragons in Super League has initiated a renaissance in French rugby league, with new-found enthusiasm for the sport in the south of the country where most of the Elite One Championship teams are based. In other parts of Europe, the game is played at semi-professional and amateur level.

North America

The Toronto Wolfpack are North America's only professional Rugby League team, competing in the English Rugby League system. The Wolfpack won the 2017 Kingstone Press League 1 in their inaugural season and earned promotion to the 2018 Rugby League Championship. The Wolfpack play their home games at Lamport Stadium in Toronto.[52]

Other countries

The early 21st century has seen other countries take up the game and compete in international rugby league with the Rugby League European Federation and Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation expanding the game to new areas such as Canada, Ghana, Philippines, Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Hungary, Turkey, Thailand, Chile, Brazil and Argentina to name a few.[53][54][55]

Domestic professional competitions

The two most prominent full-time professional leagues are the Australasian National Rugby League and the Super League and to a lesser extent the semi professional French Elite One Championship and Elite Two Championship. Domestic leagues, with some full-time exceptions, exist at a semi-professional level below the NRL and Super League, in Australia the Queensland Cup (which includes a team from Papua New Guinea) and NSW Cup, which provides players to various NRL teams. In the United Kingdom below Super League is the Championship and League 1 (the professional system includes 2 Welsh teams, 2 French and 1 Canadian team). The Papua New Guinea National Rugby League operates as a semi-professional competition as does the USA Rugby League in the United States runs semi-professional clubs to some extent in providing supported accommodation for foreign players. In other countries, the game is played at an amateur level.

Attendances

International

The top five attendances for rugby league test matches (International) are:

Game Date Result Venue City Crowd
2013 World Cup Final 30 November 2013 Australia def. New Zealand 34–2 Old Trafford Manchester 74,468
1992 World Cup Final 24 October 1992 Australia def. Great Britain 10–6 Wembley Stadium London 73,631
1932 Ashes series, Game 1 6 June 1932 England def. Australia 8–6 Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 70,204
1962 Ashes series, Game 1 9 June 1962 Great Britain def. Australia 31–12 Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 70,174
1958 Ashes series, Game 1 14 June 1958 Australia def. Great Britain 25–8 Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 68,777

Domestic

The top five attendances for domestic based rugby league matches are:

Game Date Result Venue City Crowd
1999 NRL Grand Final 26 September 1999 Melbourne def. St George Illawarra 20–18 Stadium Australia Sydney 107,999
1999 NRL season Round 1 6 March 1999 Newcastle Knights def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 41–18
Parramatta Eels def. St George Illawarra Dragons 20–10
Stadium Australia Sydney 104,583*
1954 Challenge Cup Final replay 5 May 1954 Warrington def. Halifax 8–4 Odsal Stadium Bradford 102,569*
1985 Challenge Cup Final 4 May 1985 Wigan def. Hull F.C. 28–24 Wembley Stadium London 99,801
1966 Challenge Cup Final 21 May 1966 St. Helens def. Wigan 21–2 Wembley Stadium London 98,536

* NRL double header played to open Round 1 of the 1999 NRL season. Figure shown is the total attendance which is officially counted for both games.[56][57]
* The official attendance of the 1954 Challenge Cup Final replay was 102,569. Unofficial estimates put the attendance as high as 150,000, Bradford Police confirming 120,000.

See also

References

  1. ^ Collins, Tony (1998). Rugby's great split: class, culture, and the origins of Rugby League football. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-4867-5.
  2. ^ RLEF. "What is Rugby League?". Rugby League European Federation. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Dept. Recreation and Sport. "Dimensions for Rugby League". Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  4. ^ a b Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.3
  5. ^ Middleton, David (March 2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-876944-64-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 January 2011. When rugby league cast itself free of an arrogant rugby union 100 years ago, it did so with a sense of re-invention. It was not just about creating better conditions for the players but about striving to produce a better game; a less complicated brand that would appeal to the masses.
  6. ^ "Rugby League, a uniting force in PNG". Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  7. ^ a b "PNG vow to upset World Cup odds". BBC Sport. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2009. But it would still be one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history if Papua New Guinea - the only country to have rugby league as its national sport - were to qualify for the last four.
  8. ^ a b "PNG seal 2010 Four Nations place". BBC. 1 November 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Rugby League World Cup 2013 will provide the sport with a true test of its popularity". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2015
  10. ^ "Rugby league: National Rugby League and Australian Rugby League" (PDF). hreoc.gov.au. Australian Human Rights Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  11. ^ Rugby League World Cup 2017: How has the sport become so popular in Lebanon?, BBC, 2 November 2017
  12. ^ Ph.D, Victoria Williams (28 April 2015). "Weird Sports and Wacky Games around the World: From Buzkashi to Zorbing: From Buzkashi to Zorbing". ABC-CLIO – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Why Rugby League? Archived 20 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine at Crusaders Rugby League website
  14. ^ Spracklen, Karl (2001). 'Black Pearl, Black Diamonds' Exploring racial identities in rugby league. Routledge. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-415-24629-3.
  15. ^ Fagan, Sean (2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. pp. vii. ISBN 978-1-876944-64-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2008.
  16. ^ Groeneveld, Margaret (2007). Matters of the heart: The business of English rugby league. Berghahn Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-84545-054-0.
  17. ^ Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.6
  18. ^ Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain, p.5 (2006)
  19. ^ Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.6, quote:"in 1906 the number of players in a team was reduced to thirteen and an orderly play-the-ball, whereby a tackled player had to get to his feet and roll the ball behind him with his foot, was introduced. These two changes completed the break from the playing rules of rugby union and marked the birth of rugby league as a distinct sport with its own unique rules".
  20. ^ a b Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". Independent, The. London: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  21. ^ Jupp, James (2001). The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins. Cambridge University Press. pp. 342 & 343. ISBN 978-0-521-80789-0.
  22. ^ Collins, Tony (18 April 2006). Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (1 ed.). Routledge. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-0-415-39615-8.
  23. ^ "Rugby League Attendances 1957–2010". rleague.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009.
  24. ^ "Season Summary". Rugby League Tables. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  25. ^ "Stats Insider: Grand Final by the numbers". nrl.com. Australia: NRL.COM and Telstra Corporation Pty Ltd. 28 September 2010. Archived from the original on 30 September 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  26. ^ "RUGBY LEAGUE LAWS OF THE GAME INTERNATIONAL LEVEL WITH NOTES ON THE LAWS AND NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP INTERPRETATIONS" (PDF). PLAYNRL.COM. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
  27. ^ Jones, Chris (9 October 2000). "It's all a code merger mystery". London Evening Standard. UK: ES London Limited. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  28. ^ Growden, Greg (12 May 2011). "Hybrid rugby union-league experiment". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  29. ^ 'history of the sport' in 1996, theRFL, archived from the original on 22 September 2009
  30. ^ 'rugby league playing guide' squad numbers, This is rugby, archived from the original on 31 July 2009
  31. ^ "League rule changes for 2008". www.leagueunlimited.com (League Unlimited). Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
  32. ^ "Rugby League Planet - Rugby League strategic roadmap aims to double worldwide TV audience by 2025 (Full Version)". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com.
  33. ^ "Home - Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation". Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation.
  34. ^ Most Popular Sports in Australia. Topendsports.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  35. ^ Rowe, David (15 August 2016). "RUGBY LEAGUE IN AUSTRALIA: THE SUPER LEAGUE SAGA". Journal of Sport and Social Issues. doi:10.1177/019372397021002008 – via jss.sagepub.com.
  36. ^ Matt Fletcher, Nancy Keller (2001). Tonga. Australia: Lonely Planet. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-74059-061-7.
  37. ^ Ford, Greg (18 April 2012). "State of Origin bigger test for James Tamou". Fairfax NZ News. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  38. ^ "Apathy in old Dart like an arrow through our heart". Stock & Land. 1 November 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  39. ^ RLEF. Rlef.eu.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  40. ^ Woods, Dave (14 December 2008). "Interest growing in Conference". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
  41. ^ "Rugby League Activity". Active Surrey. 14 December 2008. Archived from the original on 28 February 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
  42. ^ "Engage Super League Attracts Strong Viewing in 2008". Rugby Football League. 14 December 2008. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
  43. ^ "Rugby union and rugby league compared ahead of Manchester showdown between England v Uruguay and Super League final". CityAM. 8 December 2017.
  44. ^ MORI Sports Tracker - Interest in Sports Ipsos MORI Retrieved 2 March 2018
  45. ^ a b "What is the most popular sport in England?". The Telegraph. 8 December 2017.
  46. ^ "Rugby League World Cup: The final hardly anyone seems to be talking about". BBC. 28 March 2018.
  47. ^ a b c Schofield, Hugh (8 October 2002). "French rugby league fights for rights". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC News). Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  48. ^ "Rugby League Planet – 1954 Rugby League World Cup". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  49. ^ "Rugby League Planet – 1968 Rugby League World Cup". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  50. ^ "Step Back in Time: Catalans (H)". wigan.rlfans.com (cherryandwhite.co.uk). Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  51. ^ "French join Super League". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC Sport). 26 May 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  52. ^ "Toronto Wolfpack: Meet the first transatlantic rugby league team". BBC. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  53. ^ RLEF. Rlef.eu.com (29 July 2011). Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  54. ^ "Meet the Yorkshireman determined to bring rugby league to Madrid". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk.
  55. ^ "The new nations of rugby league".
  56. ^ Ferguson, Shawn Dollin and Andrew. "NRL 1999 - Round 1 - Rugby League Project". www.rugbyleagueproject.org.
  57. ^ Ferguson, Shawn Dollin and Andrew. "NRL 1999 - Round 1 - Rugby League Project". www.rugbyleagueproject.org.

Further reading

External links

Quotations related to Rugby league at Wikiquote The dictionary definition of Rugby league at Wiktionary Media related to Rugby league at Wikimedia Commons

Australia national rugby league team

The Australian national rugby league team (or the Kangaroos) have represented Australia in senior men's rugby league football competition since the establishment of the 'Northern Union game' in Australia in 1908. Administered by the Australian Rugby League, the Kangaroos are ranked first in the RLIF World Rankings. The team is the most successful in Rugby League World Cup history, having contested all 15 and winning 11 of them, failing to reach the final only once, in the inaugural tournament in 1954. Only four nations have beaten Australia in test matches, and Australia have an overall win percentage of 67%.

Dating back to 1908, Australia are the fourth oldest national side after England, New Zealand and Wales. The team was first assembled in 1908 for a tour of Great Britain. The majority of the Kangaroos' games since then have been played against Great Britain and New Zealand. In the first half of the 20th century, Australia's international competition came from alternating tours to Great Britain and New Zealand, with Australia playing host to these teams in non-tour years. Great Britain dominated in the early years, and Australia did not win a Test against the Lions until 11 November 1911 under captain Chris McKivat. Australia did not win a series at home against Great Britain until 1920 or abroad until 1958.

Since 1908, the team has been nicknamed the Kangaroos. Initially only used when touring Great Britain, and later France, this has been the official nickname of the team since 7 July 1994. In 1997 Australia was also represented by a Super League Australia team, drawing on players from that year's Super League competition. While in the past players for the side had been selected from clubs in various leagues around the country, in recent years the side has consisted exclusively of players from clubs of the National Rugby League.

Australian Rugby League

The Australian Rugby Football League, more commonly known as the Australian Rugby League (ARL), was the governing body for the sport of rugby league football in Australia. The ARL, as a corporate entity, was handed over to the new Australian Rugby League Commission. at 9:30am on 9 February 2012. Since its inception the ARL administered the Australian national team and represented Australia in international rugby league matters. During the mid-1990s' Super League war the ARL administered the country's first-grade premiership until the National Rugby League was formed. The legal hand-over from ARL to ARL Commission ensured that the game has effectively had the same governing body across Australia, since 1924.

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith (born 18 June 1983) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who has played his entire career to date for the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League. A goal-kicking hooker, Smith has captained the Storm since 2006, winning the 2012 and 2017 NRL Premierships. He previously represented Queensland in State of Origin and the Australian Kangaroos internationally, captaining both teams from 2012 until his retirement from representative matches in 2018.

Regarded by many as one of the greatest players of all time, Smith has won the Dally M Medal as the NRL's player of the year in 2006 and 2017, the Golden Boot Award as the international player of the year in 2007 and 2017, and the NRL's Dally M Hooker of the Year on seven occasions. Smith is the only player to kick 1,000 goals in the NRL, and in round 5 of 2019, he became the highest points scorer in the competition's history, overtaking the former record holder Hazem El Masri

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in Belmore, a suburb in the Canterbury-Bankstown region of Sydney. They compete in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership, as well as the New South Wales Rugby League junior competitions.

The club was admitted to the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership, predecessor of the current NRL competition, in 1935. They won their first premiership in their fourth year of competition with another soon after, and after spending the 1950s and most of the 1960s on the lower rungs went through a very strong period in the 1980s, winning four premierships in that decade.

Known briefly in the 1990s as the Sydney Bulldogs, as a result of the Super League war the club competed in that competition in 1997 before changing their name to the geographically indistinct Bulldogs and continuing to play every season of the re-unified NRL, winning their most recent premiership in 2004. In 2012 the Bulldogs won the minor premiership, but lost to the Melbourne Storm 14–4 in the Grand Final, in October. In 2014 they came from 7th to make the Grand Final against the Rabbitohs, but lost 30-6.

Fullback (rugby league)

Fullback (or full-back) is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Typically wearing jersey number 1, the fullback is a member of the team's 'back-line' (No. 1-7). The position's name comes from their duty of standing the furthest back in defence, behind the forwards (8-13), half backs (6 and 7) and the three-quarter backs (2-5). Fullbacks are therefore the last line of defence, having to tackle any opposition players and regather the ball from any kicks that make it through their teammates. It is for this reason that the fullback is also referred to as the sweeper or custodian. Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a highly sought quality in fullbacks.Fullback is also one of the most important positions in attack, handling the ball nearly every set of six and often running into open space on the field. Therefore, together with the two half backs and hooker, fullback is one of the four key positions that make up what is referred to as a team's 'spine'. Because the fullback makes the most support runs, players in the role complete more very high-intensity running than any other position.The Rugby League International Federation's Laws of the Game state that the 'fullback' is to be numbered 1. However, traditionally players' jersey numbers have varied, and in the modern Super League, each squad's players are assigned individual numbers regardless of position.

Greg Inglis

Gregory Paul Inglis (born 15 January 1987) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who last played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL. A Queensland State of Origin and Australian international representative outside back, he previously played for the Melbourne Storm, with whom he won two grand finals, a Clive Churchill Medal and the Golden Boot Award; he is an indigenous Australian. Inglis was a versatile back, having played in several positions during his career. He originally played on the wing or in the centres for the Storm, occasionally filling in at fullback when injuries demanded. Between 2007 and early 2009 he played at five-eighth for the Melbourne Storm before he switched to centre when Brett Finch arrived at the club, where he played for the remainder of his time there until the end of 2010. Inglis' representative matches for Queensland and Australia have been as a wing, centre, and fullback. In November 2009, Inglis won the Golden Boot Award as the world's best player – presented to him by Rugby League World magazine, becoming the third consecutive Storm player to win it, after Cameron Smith (2007) and Billy Slater (2008). In 2018 he was given the captaincy of the Queensland Maroons for the series against the New South Wales Blues (2018).

Hooker (rugby league)

Hooker is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Usually wearing jersey number 9, the hooker is one of the team's forwards. During scrums the hooker plays in the front row, and the position's name comes from their role of 'hooking' or 'raking' the ball back with the foot. For this reason the hooker is sometimes referred to as the rake.

Hookers have a great deal of contact with the ball, as they usually play the role of acting halfback or dummy half, picking the ball up from the play-the-ball that follows a tackle. Hookers therefore have a lot of responsibility in that they then decide what to do with the ball, whether that be to pass it (and to whom), run with it, or occasionally to kick it. Therefore, together with the two half backs and fullback, hooker is one of the four key positions that make up what is sometimes called a team's 'spine'. A trend of halfbacks converting into hookers followed the introduction of the 10 metre rule, and many players have switched between these positions in their careers such as Geoff Toovey, Andrew Johns, Craig Gower and Peter Wallace.

The laws of rugby league state that the hooker is to be numbered 9. However, in some leagues, such as Super League, players can wear jersey numbers which do not have to conform to this system.

One book published in 1996 stated that in senior rugby league, the hooker and stand-off/five-eighth handled the ball more often than any other position. In the 2013 NRL season the top six players with the most tackles were all hookers.

Israel Folau

Israel Folau (Tongan: Isileli Folau; born 3 April 1989) is an Australian professional rugby player who played for the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super Rugby. He has previously played professional rugby league and Australian rules football.

Folau played rugby league for the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League (NRL) from 2007 to 2008, where he broke the record for most tries in a debut year. He then played with the Brisbane Broncos from 2009 to 2010. Playing as a wing or centre, Folau represented Queensland in the State of Origin and Australia, becoming the youngest player to play for both teams.

In 2011, Folau joined the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the Australian Football League (AFL) and played for two seasons. In December 2012, Folau announced he was to switch codes again, this time for rugby union, and signed a one-year contract with the Waratahs. He made his international debut for Australia in 2013 against the British & Irish Lions. "Israel Folau Street" was named in his honour on October 2010 in a suburb of Goodna, Ipswich, Queensland where Folau played junior rugby league.Following anti-gay comments made on his social media accounts in April 2019, Rugby Australia announced their intention to void Folau's contract and remove him permanently from the Australian national team. That same day the chairman of the Australian Rugby League, Peter Beattie, announced that Folau would be banned from any NRL team in the future.

League 1 (rugby league)

League 1 (for sponsorship reasons currently known as the Betfred League 1), is a semi-professional rugby league competition based in the United Kingdom. The competition also features clubs from Wales, and previously included clubs from Canada and France. It is the Rugby Football League's (RFL) third-tier competition, below the Championship, with which it has promotion and relegation.

The league was inaugurated in 2003 when the Northern Ford Premiership was divided into two separate leagues, initially named National League One and National League Two. In 2009, the league names were changed to the Championship and Championship 1 respectively, with the latter adopting its current name of League 1 in 2015.

National Rugby League

The National Rugby League (NRL) is a league of professional men's rugby league teams in Australia. Run by the Australian Rugby League Commission, the NRL's main competition is known as the Telstra Premiership due to sponsorship from Telstra Corporation and is contested by sixteen teams, fifteen of which are based in Australia with one based in New Zealand. It is the most viewed and attended rugby league club competition in the world.

The National Rugby League is Australia's top-level domestic men's rugby-league club competition. It contains clubs from the original Sydney club Rugby League competition, which had been running continuously since 1908. The NRL formed in the aftermath of the 1990s' Super League war as a joint partnership between the Australian governing body, the Australian Rugby League (ARL) and media giant News Corporation-controlled Super League, after both organisations ran premierships parallel to each other in 1997. This partnership was dissolved in February 2012, with control of the NRL going to the independently formed Australian Rugby League Commission.

NRL matches are played in Australia and New Zealand from March to October. The season culminates in the premiership-deciding game, the NRL Grand Final, traditionally one of Australia's most popular sporting events and one of the world's largest attended sporting championship games. In addition, the NRL premiers also play in the World Club Challenge, a pre-season match against the champions of the Super League competition. The reigning premiers are the Sydney Roosters winning their fourteenth official premiership.

New South Wales rugby league team

The New South Wales rugby league team has represented the Australian state of New South Wales in rugby league football since the sport's beginnings there in 1907. Also known as the Blues due to their sky blue jerseys, the team competes in the annual State of Origin series against neighbouring team, the Queensland rugby league team. This annual event is a series of three games competing for the State of Origin shield. As of 2018, the team is coached by Brad Fittler and captained by Boyd Cordner.

Prior to 1980 when the "state-of-origin" selection criteria were introduced, the New South Wales team, in addition to playing annually against Queensland, played matches against foreign touring sides and occasionally toured overseas themselves. They have played all their home matches at Stadium Australia, New South Wales' largest stadium, since it was built in 1999.

RFL Championship

The Championship is a professional rugby league competition. It is the second-tier competition organised by the Rugby Football League, the governing body for the sport in England, and consists of 14 teams, with promotion to the Super League and relegation to the third-tier competition, League 1. The current champions are Toronto Wolfpack. The league announced a two-year sponsorship deal with the bookmaking company Betfred ahead of the 2018 season.

From 2003 to 2009, the competition was known as National League One.

Rugby Football League

The Rugby Football League is the governing body for professional rugby league in England. The name Rugby Football League previously also referred to the main league competition run by the organisation. This has since been supplanted by Super League, the Championship and League 1.

Based at Red Hall in Leeds, it administers the England national rugby league team, the Challenge Cup, Super League and the Rugby League Championships. The social and junior game is administered in association with the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA). The Rugby Football League is a member of the Rugby League European Federation and as a senior Full Member has a combined veto power over the Council with France. The RFL is part of the Community Board, which also has representatives from BARLA, Combined Services, English Schools Rugby League and Student Rugby League.

Tony Adams will take over as the president in 2019, taking over from Andy Burnham.

Established as the Northern Rugby Football Union (often shortened to Northern Union) in August 1895 by representatives of twenty-one Rugby Football Union clubs at a meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, it changed its name in 1922 to the Rugby Football League, mirroring its sister organisations overseas, the Australian Rugby Football League and New Zealand Rugby Football League.

The turnover of the RFL was reported as £27m in 2011.

Rugby League International Federation

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) is the global governing body for the sport of rugby league football. The RLIF is responsible for the Laws of the Game, the development, organisation and governance of rugby leagues internationally, and for the sport's major international tournaments; most notably the Rugby League World Cup.

There are two regional associations affiliated to the RLIF; the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) and the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC).

Rugby League World Cup

The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league tournament, contested by national teams of the Rugby League International Federation, which was first held in France in 1954, the first World Cup in either rugby code. The idea of a rugby league world cup tournament was first mooted in the 1930s with the French proposal to hold a tournament in 1931, and again in 1951. The fifteen tournaments held to date have been at intervals ranging from two to eight years, and have featured a number of formats. So far three nations have won the competition (Australia eleven times, Great Britain three times and New Zealand once). Australia, France and New Zealand are the only teams to have played in all tournaments (Great Britain has been split into England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland since 1995, while England and Wales had previously competed as separate teams in the 1975 World Cup). Since 2000, the RLIF has also organised World Cups for women, students and other categories. The 2017 Rugby League World Cup was held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea which was won by Australia.

Rugby football

Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union, but generally refers to rugby union due to its popularity throughout the globe.Legend claims that rugby football was started about 1845 in Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, England, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby eventually split into two sports in 1895 when twenty-one amateur clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU)/Northern Union (later to be named rugby league in 1922) in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, Northern England over broken-time payments to players who took time off work due to the nature of the sport, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay players, rugby union turned fully professional in 1995.Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby (rugby union) and the Rugby League International Federation (rugby league). Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league initially used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football.

Rugby league positions

A rugby league team consists of thirteen players on the field, with four substitutes on the bench. Each of the thirteen players is assigned a position, normally with a standardised number, which reflects their role in attack and defence, although players can take up any position at any time.

Players are divided into two general types, forwards and backs. Forwards are generally chosen for their size and strength. They are expected to run with the ball, to attack, and to make tackles. Forwards are required to improve the team's field position thus creating space and time for the backs. Backs are usually smaller and faster, though a big, fast player can be of advantage in the backs. Their roles require speed and ball-playing skills, rather than just strength, to take advantage of the field position gained by the forwards. Typically forwards tend to operate in the centre of the field, while backs operate nearer to the touch-lines, where more space can usually be found.

State of Origin series

The State of Origin series is the annual best-of-three rugby league football match series between two Australian state representative sides, the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons.Referred to as Australian sport's greatest rivalry, the State of Origin series is one of Australia's premier sporting events, attracting huge television audiences and usually selling out the stadiums in which the games are played. It is regularly described as being the pinnacle of rugby league, even in comparison with international competitions.Players are selected to represent the Australian state in which they played their first senior rugby league game, hence the name 'state of origin'. Prior to 1980 players were only selected for interstate matches on the basis of where they were playing their club football at the time. In both 1980 and 1981 there were two interstate matches under the old selection rules and one experimental "State of Origin" match. From 1982 onwards a best-of-three match series has been played around the middle of the rugby league season for the State of Origin shield. During the early years, the results were extraordinarily even. However, since 2006, Queensland has won every series except in 2014 and 2018.

Sydney Roosters

The Sydney Roosters is an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. The club competes in the National Rugby League (NRL) competition and is one of the oldest and most successful clubs in Australian rugby league history, having won fourteen New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) and National Rugby League titles, and several other competitions. Only the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Dragons have won more premierships. The club holds the record for having the most wins and the second greatest margin of victory in a match in Australian rugby league history, and has won more minor premierships than any other club. The Roosters is one of only two clubs (the other being the St. George Illawarra Dragons in 1999) to finish runners-up in its inaugural season. The Eastern Suburbs DRLFC is the only club to have played in each and every season at the elite level, and since the 1970s has often been dubbed the "glamour club" of the league. Coached by Trent Robinson along with captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, the Roosters play their home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The club was founded in 1908 in Paddington, Sydney, as Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club; in 1995 the club's name was changed to the Sydney City Roosters, and in 2000 to the Sydney Roosters. The Bondi Junction and Moore Park-based Roosters have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with other Sydney-based clubs, especially the South Sydney Rabbitohs, a fellow foundation club based in neighbouring Redfern.

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