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Rugby League

The sport of Rugby League in Australia started when a dispute among Rugby Union players over out of pocket expenses. Irate because a test star Alex Burdon received no compensation after he broke his arm on a country tour, a group of players quit the amateur game and began to play League, which had been started in England eight years before for basically the same reason.
At first the breakaway was not popular.The press and a large section of the public were openly hostile. It did not stop a group of players getting together to play three matches against the New Zealand All Golds, en route to England for the first ever international Rugby League tour. The three matches were a great success, yielding 200 pounds profit. With this the cash the NSW Rubgy League was formed, and a constition drafted.
In 1906 teams were reduced from 15 a side to 13 a side, tackled players are required to play the ball and a scrum is formed at the point of kicking if the ball enters touch on the full.
At the end of 1908 the League threw caution to the wind and sent a team of 36 players on a tour of England. In Britain at the same time was a Rugby Union Test side, there were secret talks. When they returned home Wallabies switched codes en masse and took the field in a series of matches against the Rubgy League Kangaroos. The series attracted huge crowds and league's future was assured.

                  January         9th       1908    Glebe are the first club formed,
                  January         14th     1908     Newtown became the second established.
                  January         17th     1908     South Sydney formed.
                  January         23th     1908     Balmain club formed.
                  January         24th     1908     Eastern Suburbs formed.
                  February       4th       1908,    Western Suburbs at Ashfield Town Hall.
                  February       7th       1908,    North Sydney formed.
                  April             9th       1908     Newcastle join the seven Sydney based teams.
                  April             30th     1910     Annandale join , replacing Newcastle.
                  May              8th       1920     Sydney University play their first match in the NSWRL.
                  April             23rd     1921     St George play their first game.
                  April             25th     1935     Canterbury-Bankstown play their first game.
                  December      4th      1946     Parramatta is formed.
                  April             12th     1947     Manly plays its first game.
                  February       24th     1967     Penrith and Cronulla meet in their first games.
                  December      13th     1980     Illawarra join to play in the 1982 premiership.
                  April             5th       1987     Newcastle join for the 1988 session.
                                                   1987     Brisbane Broncos join for the 1988 session.
                  May             18th      1992     Auckland are admitted to the 1995 premiership.
                  March          11th      1995     CHR Cowboys play their first game
                                                   1997     Melbourne Storm play their first game.
                  July              6th       2001      South Sydney won court case to play in 2002 series.

On April 20th 1908 there was a Double-headers kick-off rugby league in Australia. At Wentworth Park, Easts beat Newtown 32-16 and Glebe down Newcastle 8-5 while and Birchgrove Oval, Souths beat Norths 11-7 and Balmain whitewash Wests 24-0. A ninth premiership club, Cumberland, is formed at a meeting at Homebush.
On August 11th 1908 Queensland and N.S.W play their first interstate game N.S.W beating Queensland 43-0.
August 29th 1908 was the first premiership game, South Sydney becoming club premiers, when the beat Easts 14-12 in the final.
June 22 1911 Rugby League is played on the Sydney Cricket Ground for the first time, when NSW and New Zealand meet on King George V's Coronation Day.
July 29th and the first football match is broadcast on radio in Australia, Balmain beat Souths 3-0 in the final.
December 22 1928  was when the the first night rugby league game was played when Easts and Souths meet in an exhibition match at the Sydney Showground.
November 11 1929 Foundation club Glebe is axed from the premiership after a 13-12 vote by the NSWRL.

In 1928 Australia first wear the now traditional green and gold colours.

Australian Kangaroo's play British XIII in the first rugby league game in France

February 10th 1948  The International Board is formed between British, French and New Zealand delegates in Leeds. New Zealand officials represent Australian Delegates at the meeting.

September 18th 1954 South Sydney beat Newtown in the first "automatic" grand final. A grand final is ensured every year under the new system of determining the premiership.

Australia celebrates 50 years of  Rugby League by staging and winning second World Cup.

April 15th 1961 Balmain and Norths play in rugby league's first televised game, following the League's decision to allow half a match to be shown each weekend on a trial basis.

St George won its eleventh Premiership title defeating Balmain in the 1966 Grand Final.

Following trials of a six tackle rule, on March 26th 1971 the rule is introduced for the start of the premiership, along with the the reduction in the value of a field goal from two points to one.

The year 1977 saw Parramatta and St George play the first drawn grand final in premiership history. A week later, St George scored a crushing 22-0 victory in the games first grand final replay. The following year 1978, the grand final ends with the another draw between, Manly and Cronulla. Manly won the midweek replay 16-0.

The 1981 season saw the sin-bin rule to come in force, Newtown's Barry Jensen was the first player sent to the sin-bin, also the differential scrum penalty.

February 26th 1983, the value of a try is increased to four points for the start of the 1983 premiership.

Newtown played their last match on August 27th 1983, beating Canberra 9-6 at Orana Park at Campbelltown.

Wests and Newtown are eliminated from the 1984 premiership on September 26th 1983. However the NSWRL's general commitee announce that Newtown will be revived as Newtown-Campbelltown in 1985. The move never evenuated.

The NSWRL reinstate Wests on Decmber 5th 1983 following an Equity Court ruling.

March 4th 1988 and the $62 million Sydney Football Stadium plays host to its first rugby league match when St George defeat Easts 24-14 in the 1988 premiership opener.

On September 27th 1992 Brisbane become the first side from interstate to win the premiership when they defeat St George 28-8 in the grand final.

In 1997 after 3 sessions in the premiership competition, the South Queensland Crushers play their final match, ironically thrashing Western Suburbs 39-18 at Suncorp Stadium.

December 19th 1997, meetings at Sydney Football Stadium brings about peace deal between ARL and Super League and to leads to formation of National Rugby League.

September 23th 1998, St George and Illawarra announce a decision to form game's first joint venture. NRL prepares 17 team draw for 1999 session.

July 27th 1999, Balmain and Western Suburbs football club members vote in favour of forming a joint venture for the 2000 session.

October 9th 1999, Manly members vote to form joint venture with insolvent North Sydney Bears.

October 15th 1999, South Sydney is elimanted from the 2000 premiership competition.

July 6th 2001, South Sydney won court case allowing them to play in the next seasons games.


Broncos:Joined in 1988 have won 4 First Grade Titles. Home ground is ANZ Stadium.

Bulldogs:Thirteen years after meeting above "The Ideal Milk Bar" in Campsie, and having created the Canterbury-Bankstown Junior Rubgy League Club, Canterbury-Bankstown got their own team in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership in 1935. It took the club, nicknamed the Country Bumpkins because of their rural recruiting and the CB emblem 3 years to win their first premiership in 1938, since then they have won 7 premierships. In 1978 Canterbury-Bankstown became known as "The Bulldogs", Cantabs, See Bees and Berries were considered soft names and the club wanted something to signify determination and grit.

Canberra: Canberra entered the NSW Rugby League premiership in 1982. They won their first premiership in 1989 and again in 1990, they captured a third final in 1994 to farewell record-breaking captain Mal Meninga.

Cowboys The team is nestled in the heart of regional North Queensland, their home ground being Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville/Thuringowa Twin Cities. A team was started there in North Queensland when 16,000 people packed the Townsville Sports Reserve for a Panasonic Cup Quarter Final. People where surveyed from Weipa to Sarina and 97% of residents indicated support for a North Queensland rugby league team, with 88% nominating Townsville as the preferred host town.

Melbourne Storm: Have won one Grand Final Title in 1999, the second season they had been in the NRL, the match was against St George Illawarra.

Newcastle Knights:  Joining in 1988 they won a Grand Final Title in 1997, their home ground is Marathon Stadium.

Northern Eagles In 2000 an insolvent Northern Suburbs joined with Manly to make the Northern Eagles. Their home grounds are Brookvale Oval and NorthPower Stadium.

Parramatta:  The Eels were founded in 1947 and played their first game on April 12 of the same year. The Eels first game was played at Cumberland Oval which is now the site of Parramatta Stadium. Parramatta experienced their first final in 1981, they defended their premiership successfully in 1982. The Parramatta Stadium was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on March 5, 1986.

Penrith:  Rugby League had been played in Penrith since 1912, it wasent till the 1960's that serious consideration was given to promoting a local team to the elite division. In 1967, the Penrith Panthers were accepted into the Sydney 1st Division Premiership. Penrith played in 2nd division wearing Blue and White, but when they got to 1st division other teams were using the colours, a decision was made to change the colours to Brown and White. The Panther had been chosen as the emblem in 1964, after a public competition won by a graphic artists from Emu Plains, Deidre Copeland.

Roosters:  The Roosters (formerly Eastern Suburbs and Sydney City Roosters) entered the NSW Rugby League Premiership in 1908. They won three of the first six premiership contests to win the Agricultural Shield, the first ever shield in the competition.

Sharks:Joined in 1967 they have yet to win a First Grade Title. Their home ground is Toyota Stadium.

St George/Illawarra: St George and Illawarra joined together on September 1998 and played their first game as St George Illawarra Dragons on March 6th 1999. They where the first club to join together, making a 17 draw premiership for 1999.
The birth of Illawarra began in 1910 where at a meeting at the old Termines Hotel (near Wollongong Railyway station), they made plans to organise and run the first competitions. Seventy years later the Illawarra's Application to be included into the New South Wales Rugby League First Division was granted on the 13th Decmber 1980.
St George played their initial first division match April 23rd, 1921, unfortunely defeated by Glebe 4-3. Time were tough for them the first season, there were problems finding a suitable ground for training. Eventually they used Kogarah Park, roughly on the area of the current car park of Jubilee Oval. There were no change rooms and the players had to use a corn store on the Princess Highway.
From 1956 to to 1966 St George won 11 premiership's.

South Sydney: Souths were one of the founding clubs of Rugby League, but that stood for nothing when, between late 1997 early 1998 an agreement between ARL and Super League decide there is to be a 14 teams from 2000 and Souths where made to leave . Souths went to court about this agreement, which was found to contravene s45 Trade Practices Act. With the proving this Souths were told on 6th July 2001 they would be welcome back to play in the NRL.

Tigers:  On 20th April 1908 the Western Suburbs Magpies and Balmain Tigers created rugby league history when both teams took the field for the first game in the Sydney Premiership. The West's and Tigers have been soul mates of rugby league. In 2000 the two teams merged together to become the Wests Tigers.

Warriors:From New Zealand, their home ground is Ericsson Stadium.


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