- Rugby league in New South Wales
Rugby leaguehas the highest spectator numbers of the various codes of footballin New South Wales. It began in Australia in 1907, when the New South Wales Rugby Leaguewas formed as a professional competition, following the rules of the Northern Rugby Football Union in England. Since then the state has been one of the major centres of the code; the headquarters of the Australian Rugby Leagueare in Sydney
The premier state-level league is the
New South Wales Cup, involving reserve teams from NSW and Canberra based NRL clubs as well as the first teams from other clubs.
New South Wales Rugby League(NSWRL) is the governing body for rugby league in New South Wales and is a member of the Australian Rugby League.
New South Wales Country Rugby League(NSWCRL) is the governing body for rugby league in areas of New South Walesoutside the Sydney metropolitan area and for the Australian Capital Territory.
National Rugby League
National Rugby League(NRL) is Australia's top level competition for the sport of rugby league.
The headquarters of the
National Rugby League(NRL) are in Sydney, which is home to 8 of the 16 National Rugby League( Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels, Cronulla Sharks, Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers, Bulldogs and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), as well as being the northern home of the St George Illawarra Dragons, which is half-based in Wollongong. A tenth team, the Newcastle Knightsare located in Newcastle.
For information about the New South Rugby League Premierships run from the inception of rugby league in Australia until the ARL Premierships, see
New South Wales Rugby League premiership".
The NSWRL currently administers the following major competitions throughout NSW.
New South Wales Cup
Sponsored as the VB New South Wales Cup, this competition has a history dating back to the NSWRL's origins in 1908. Starting off as a reserve grade competition it is now the premier open age competition in New South Wales.
The major open age competition, New South Wales Cup comprises teams from the member clubs as well as a team from New Zealand, the Auckland Lions.
Jim Beam Cup
The Jim Beam Cup competition is conducted jointly with the NSW Country Rugby League. This competition comprises second tier clubs from the Sydney metropolitan area as well as the Central Coast and Illawarra districts.
Jersey Flegg Cup S.G. Ball Cup Harold Matthews Cup Arrive Alive Cup
Royal Agricultural Society Shield
The Royal Agricultural Society Shield, or RAS Shield was the
New South Wales Rugby League(NSWRL)'s first premiershiptrophy. It was presented to each year's premiership winning rugby leagueteam; the first to win three successive titles would take permanent ownership of the shield. The Eastern Suburbs club achieved this feat winning premierships in 1911, 1912 and 1913.
The hand crafted silver and oak designed shield was donated to the NSWRL by the
Royal Agricultural Society of New South Walesin its first year of competition.
Claude Corbettwrote in Sydney, Sun, newspaper on, May 1, 1914, "The Royal Agricultural Society Shield, which was presented at the inception of the League's first grade competition has been won outright by Eastern Suburbs, who upset all calculations by winning the premiership three years in succession. The club has presented the shield to their captain, Dally Messenger, 'as a token of appreciation of his captaincy."
Jersey Fleggwas appointed to the position of president of the NSWRFL.
J.J. Giltinan Shield
In 1951, the NSWRFL originated the J.J. Giltinan Shield, following his death in 1950. This trophy was awarded to the premiers of the NSWRFL competition, being named after one of the founding fathers of the NSWRFL and rugby league in Australia. The trophy remains today, being awarded to the minor premiers of the
National Rugby Leaguecompetition.
Following Jersey Flegg's death in 1960, Bill Buckley was made the NSWRFL's new president.
The NSWRFL had also commenced a very popular and successful mid-week competition in 1974, originally known as the
Amco Cup, but later as the Tooth Cup and the National Panasonic Cup. The success of this competition, which included teams from both Brisbane and New Zealand, ultimately created pressure for further expansion in the NSWRFL competition.
In 1980, the NSWRFL President
Kevin Humphries, was instrumental in the establishment of the State of Origin series between teams representing the NSWRFL and Queensland Rugby League(QRL). The immediate success of this series, which remains the premier representative competition in Australia, and the overriding success of the Queensland team further pressured the NSWRFL to expand the club competition outside the boundaries of the state.
Sydney suburban teams came and went throughout the NSWRFL's history but it was not until 1982 that the competition included expansion outside of the Sydney area. This corresponded with the adoption of commercial sponsorship of the competition for the first time, the
Winfield Cup. The two new inclusions were from the Australian Capital Territory - the Canberra Raiders- as well as a team from the southern New South Wales region - the Illawarra Steelers.
The magnificent Winfield Cup trophy remains a permanent symbol of one of the game's most successful eras. Cast in bronze by Alan Ingham, it was the game's ultimate prize for the duration of the Winfield sponsorship from 1982-95.
Based on John O’Gready's world famous photograph of Norm Provan (St George) and Arthur Summons (Wests) after the 1963 Grand Final, the trophy represented the premiership pinnacle for players in the Winfield Era. Its image of the big man and the little man encompasses many of the finer things about Rugby League – the mateship after battle, the satisfaction of the shared experience on the playing field – no matter how hard and tough the struggle has been, the message that Rugby League, for all its professionalism, is still a game.
The Winfield Cup captured these and many other enduring things about League in its primary image, “The Gladiators” and the famous trophy, like the JJ Giltinan Shield, remains an important part of the game's heritage.
The League's name was changed in 1984 to the New South Wales Rugby League and
Ken Arthursonbecame the new chairman. In 1988, two Queenslandteams joined the competition, with the inclusions of the Brisbane Broncosand the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants seeing the game move beyond the outer borders of New South Wales. At the same a team from the Hunter region of New South Wales was included, with the return of a Newcastle franchise. Their return was the end of an 81 year wait in the wilderness and this time around the franchise was badged the Newcastle Knights.
The Winfield Cup competition was handed over to the control of the
Australian Rugby Leaguefor the 1995 season, with the inclusion of teams from North Queensland, Western Australia and New Zealand. This period of expansion created tremendous success for the competition and rugby league in general. Over 3 million fans attended competition matches in the 1995 season and this figure remains the record for a single season attendance until this day.
NSWRL manages the New South Wales State of Origin team as well the NSW Residents, Jim Beam Cup, under-19s, under-17s and under-16s and Indigenous rugby league teams. These teams traditionally play against teams from the
Queensland Rugby League.
City vs Country is an annual match that takes place between a City side selected by the NSWRL and a Country side selected by New South Wales Country Rugby League.It is played before the
Rugby League State of Originseries and is often referred to as a selection trial for the New South Wales Blues team.
The annual State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons is the most popular sporting event in NSW. Sydney has hosted many State of Origin matches since the series began in 1980. The three game series are held in Sydney and
Brisbanewith the first and third games in one city and the second in the other. These rotate every year, so if two games are played in Sydney one year, then those games are played in Brisbane the next.
Rugby league in Australia
Sport in New South Wales
* [http://www.nswrl.com.au Official New South Wales Rugby League Site]
* [http://www.playrugbyleague.com.au/nsw/ Rugby League clubs in New South Wales]
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