New Zealand national rugby league team
The New Zealand national rugby league team has represented New Zealand in rugby league since 1907. Administered by the New Zealand Rugby League, they are known as the Kiwis, after the native bird of that name; the team's colour's are majority black with white and the players perform a haka before every match they play as a challenge to their opponents. The New Zealand Kiwis are second in the RLIF World Rankings. Since the 1980s, most New Zealand representatives have been based overseas, in the professional National Rugby League and Super League competitions. Before that players were selected from clubs in domestic New Zealand leagues. A New Zealand side first played in a 1907 professional rugby tour which pre-dated the birth of rugby league football in the Southern Hemisphere, making it the second oldest national side after England. Since the Kiwis have competed in international competition, touring Europe and Australia throughout the 20th century. New Zealand have competed in every Rugby League World Cup since the first in 1954, reaching three consecutive tournament finals between 2000–2013.
In 2008, New Zealand won the World Cup for the first time. They contest the Baskerville Shield against England. Rugby football was introduced into New Zealand by Charles John Monro, son of the speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Sir David Monro, he had been sent to Christ's College, East Finchley in north London, where he became an enthusiastic convert to the new code. He brought the game back to his native Nelson, arranged the first rugby match between Nelson College and Nelson Football Club, played on 14 May 1870; when New Zealand's national rugby team toured Britain in 1905 they witnessed the growing popularity of the breakaway non-amateur Northern Union's games. On his return in 1906, All Black George William Smith met the Australian entrepreneur J J Giltinan to discuss the potential of professional rugby in Australasia; the first New Zealand team to play professional rugby was known as the All Blacks. To avoid confusion, the terms professional. In the meantime, a lesser known New Zealand rugby player, Albert Henry Baskerville was ready to recruit a group of players for a Great Britain pro tour.
It is believed that Baskerville became aware of the profits to be made from such a venture while he was working at the Wellington Post Office in 1906. A colleague dropped a British newspaper. Baskerville picked it up and noticed a report about a Northern Union match that over 40,000 people had attended. Baskerville wrote to the NRFU asking; the 1905 All Blacks tour was still fresh in English minds, thus the NU saw the upcoming competitive New Zealand tour as exceptional opportunity to raise the profile and finances of the NU game. The NU agreed to the tour provided that some of those original All Blacks were included in the New Zealand team. George Smith arrived back in New Zealand and after learning of Baskerville's plans, the two teamed up and began signing players; the New Zealand Rugby Union became aware of the tour and promptly applied pressure to any All Black or New Zealand representative player it suspected of involvement. They had the New Zealand Government's Agent General in London deliver a statement to the British press in an effort to undermine the tour's credibility.
This had little effect and by that time the professional All Blacks were sailing across the Tasman to give Australia its first taste of professional rugby. It was during this time that references to the professional All Blacks as the All Golds first appeared. "All Golds" was a play on the amateur "All Blacks" name but it was an insult to the players, criticising the arrangement where they would each share in the wealth of the tour. The name "All Golds" is now thought to have originated in a New Zealand newspaper in May/June 1907, amidst editorial arguments over whether it was honourable for the proposed "professional All Blacks" team to be paid; the first documented use in Australia was in a headline in the Sydney Morning Herald, just before Baskerville's team arrived. Those same Herald articles had a tag for those who supported the amateur rugby union calling them the "Lily Whites"; the All Golds name is now carried by the Gloucestershire All Golds a Semi-professional team who are based in Gloucestershire and compete in the RFL League 1 Championship 1 and known as Kingstone Press League 1 for sponsorship reasons, is a professional rugby league competition based in England.
They take part in the annual Challenge Cup and League 1 Cup. The Club bears the name in honor of the 3rd test match played at the clubs home ground in Cheltenham. Professional rugby in the southern hemisphere kicked off with the professional All Blacks playing a professional rebel New South Wales team organised by Smith's contact, James Giltinan; the games drew little interest to start with, but were a major success for the rugby rebels of Australia, as they had the money to start the first professional Rugby Football League and hence change the face of rugby in Australia. New Zealand made it to Great Britain in 1907, they included Australian Dally Messenger in their party. He played in the two Tests which the All Golds won. At this time professional rugby, under the banner of the Northern Union, was not played by the RFU rules, all the All Golds knew; the All Golds took on a week of intensive training. From a New Zealander's point of view, the tour may not have been successful, but to
Newcastle International Sports Centre
Newcastle International Sports Centre, is a multi-purpose sports stadium located in Newcastle, Australia. The ground is home to the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets FC, it is owned by the New South Wales government and administered by the Hunter Region Sporting Venues Authority. Due to past sponsorship deals, the ground has been known as Marathon Stadium, EnergyAustralia Stadium, Ausgrid Stadium and Hunter Stadium. Newcastle International Sports Centre is known as Newcastle Stadium when in use during AFC competitions due to conflicting sponsorship reasons. Work began on the stadium on 1 December 1967, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 10 April 1970, it was known as the International Sports Centre, is still part of the ISC complex to this day. The playing surface back was oval shaped to allow both codes of rugby and cricket to be able to make use of it; the Knights secured a lease on the stadium in 1986, converted it from an oval to a rectangle layout. During the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour, the Newcastle Knights, in their first season, hosted a match at the ground.
On that occasion the Lions, captained by Ellery Hanley, defeated the Knights 28–12. In 1992, local tyre outlet Marathon Tyres became the naming rights sponsor for the stadium, it was renamed Marathon Stadium; that year the Knights played Great Britain for a second time as part of the Lions Tour of Australasia. The Ellery Hanley captained Lions took the Knights apart winning 22–0. In the 1992 NSWRL season, the Knights qualified for their first Finals series. Towards the end of 2001, energy supplier EnergyAustralia took over naming rights, thus the stadium became EnergyAustralia Stadium. In February 2011 it was announced that the stadium would be renamed to "Ausgrid Stadium" after EnergyAustralia was renamed "Ausgrid". Before redevelopment, the stadium had a capacity of 28,000, including 5,000 in the main grandstand; the ground attendance record for a sporting event is 32,642, set when the Knights took on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in July 1995. Despite a lack of incidents, police subsequently asked for the allowed capacity to be lowered for reasons of safety.
Following the retirement of former Knights captain Andrew Johns, the new eastern grandstand was renamed The Andrew Johns Stand in honour of Johns in front of a packed crowd before the Knights vs Brisbane Broncos NRL match on Sunday 22 April 2007. The name is used by those who wish to mention stadiums by original names, such as non-commercial organisations like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, those with other corporate interests such as FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation. In October 2016, McDonald Jones Homes, a local Newcastle company, was named as the new naming rights sponsor of the stadium; this new deal left behind a 5 year gap between naming rights sponsors at the ground. The stadium underwent redevelopment during the years 2003–05, funded by local and state government grants. Factors that brought on the redevelopment included: non-compliance of National Rugby League stadium criteria the dressing rooms; the first stage of the redevelopment was completed in early 2004. This consisted of.
This level holds 7,700 people. The relocation of corporate boxes and seating to the North and South stands; the second stage of construction began in 2004 and was completed in 2005. This consisted of: The construction of the Eastern Stand's second level of seating and corporate boxes. During the 2007 NSW Election campaign, the Premier Morris Iemma promised $30 million towards an upgrade of the stadium, conditional on the Federal Government matching the funds. On 1 April 2008 the federal government confirmed $10m towards the development of the Western Grandstand; this is in addition to the $30m commitment from the state government. This is a critical step for the stadium's development for the upgrade to be in by 2011; the A$40 million will contribute to an expansion of the stadium's capacity to hold over 40,000 as well as general improvements in the stadiums facilities. From 2008–10 the stadium is being upgraded again to around 33 000 seats, with a hope for the stadium to be involved in the 2015 Asian Cup and 2018 World Cup should Australia be the host of those tournaments.
As part of the announcement, Morris Iemma stated that the capacity of 33,000 can be increased to the 40,000 necessary for World Cup Hosting, through temporary seating. The total cost of the upgrade is $60 million, with $50 million from the state government and $10 million from the Federal Government. Although construction will take place during both the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets seasons, developers have stated that there will be minimal effect on attendances due to the staged approach; the stadium development is being carried out over four stages. Stage 1 include
Danny Buderus is an Australian rugby league commentator and former professional footballer who played in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative hooker, he played in the National Rugby League for Australian club, the Newcastle Knights, with whom he won a Dally M Medal, the 2001 NRL Premiership before setting a new record for most games with the club. Buderus played in the Super League for English club, the Leeds Rhinos, with whom he won 2011's Super League XVI, he set the record for most appearances as captain of the New South Wales State of Origin team at 15 and for most consecutive appearances for the side at 21. Buderus played representative football for the Exiles and New South Wales Country. In 2015, he took up an interim coaching role with the Knights and continued as an assistant coach in 2016. Buderus was born in Australia, he played 1 season for Taree United. In 1995, while attending St Francis Xavier's College, Buderus played for the Australian Schoolboys team.
Other players to come through this well-known rugby league nursery under the tutelage of Mark Wright include Owen Craigie, Jarrod Mullen, Paul Dan and Anthony Tupou. In Round 3 of the 1997 ARL season Buderus made his ARL début for the Newcastle Knights against the South Queensland Crushers. Buderus scored his first try in first-grade in 1998 against the Auckland Warriors in Round 7 of the 1998 NRL season. In 2001, Buderus was selected for Country Origin in the annual City vs Country Origin match. In 2001, Buderus made his international début for Australia against New Zealand. Buderus played hooker in the Knights' 2001 NRL Grand Final win over the Parramatta Eels, the Knights winning 30–24. Having won the 2001 NRL Premiership, the Knights travelled to England to play the 2002 World Club Challenge against Super League champions, the Bradford Bulls. Buderus played at hooker, scored a try in Newcastle's loss, he made his State of Origin début for New South Wales in 2002. Buderus played his 200th NRL game in Round 14 of the 2002 NRL season against the Parramatta Eels.
In 2002, Buderus was named the Dally M Hooker of the Year and Dally M Representative Player of the Year at the Dally M Awards at the end of the regular season. Buderus played a pivotal role in Newcastle making the semi-finals again in 2003 and ended the season again named Hooker of the Year. In 2004, Buderus was awarded the 2004 Dally M Medal for the Player of the Year, only the second hooker to be awarded the medal after Mal Cochrane as well as the 2004 Hooker of the Year. Buderus was selected in the Australian team to go and compete in the end of season 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Great Britain he played at hooker in the Kangaroos' 44–4 victory. In 2005 Buderus again won the Hooker of the Year award. On 13 March 2008, Buderus signed a 2-year contract with the Leeds Rhinos starting in 2009. In August 2008, Buderus was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup despite comments by Kangaroos' coach, Ricky Stuart, that he would not select players leaving Australia to play in England in 2009.
However Buderus wasn't selected to play in a game. Buderus commenced playing in the Super League for English club the Leeds Rhinos in 2009, he re-signed with the Rhinos on a 2-year contract during 2010. In 2011, Buderus played hooker for Leeds in their 2011 Challenge Cup Final defeat by the Wigan Warriors. On 10 June 2011, Buderus was selected in the Exiles squad for the Rugby League International Origin Match against England at Headingley while playing for the Leeds Rhinos of the Super League, he captained the side to a victory. In 2011, Buderus played hooker for Leeds in their 2011 Super League Grand Final win over St. Helens, with Leeds winning 30–16, in, his final game for the club. After new Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett requested Buderus' services, Buderus signed a 1-year contract on 1 October 2011 with the Newcastle Knights starting in 2012, returning to the club he had played 220 games for, he had been released from the final year of his Leeds Rhinos contract to sign with Newcastle.
In 2012, 7 weeks into his return to the National Rugby League, Buderus was again selected for Country Origin at starting hooker, however he withdrew due to injury. In the year there was speculation he would be named at hooker for New South Wales in Game 1 of the 2012 State of Origin series but was injured and didn't get picked, Robbie Farah was instead picked and retained his spot for the rest of the series. On 12 June 2012, Buderus re-signed with the Knights on a 1-year contract, 14 rounds into the 2012 season. In September 2013, Buderus announced his retirement at the end of the 2013 NRL season. During the Knights vs Roosters Preliminary Final, Buderus entered a tackle and made contact with the elbow of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, knocking him out; this saw. However scans in hospital cleared the retiring hooker of any serious head or neck injuries. Buderus stayed with the Knights as an assistant coach for 2014. In July 2015, Buderus was made interim head coach, following the firing of Rick Stone.
After the 2016 season, he chose to leave his role as an assistant coach. He served as pathways coach in 2017. NRL profile 2013 Newcastle Knights profile 2001 Ashes profile
Thomas James Leuluai is a New Zealand professional rugby league footballer who plays as a scrum-half, stand-off or hooker for the Wigan Warriors in the Super League. A New Zealand international, he has played in Super League for the London Broncos, in the NRL for the New Zealand Warriors. Leuluai was a member of the 2008 World Cup-winning New Zealand team. Leuluai is of Māori descent. Leuluai's father is former Maori representative/New Zealand international James Leuluai, who scored two tries for Hull F. C. in the 1985 Challenge Cup Final 6 weeks before Thomas was born. Thomas was educated at Mount Albert Grammar School where he attended school with fellow rugby league players Sonny Bill Williams, Steve Matai and Tevita Latu. Leuluai's brother Macgraff Leuluai plays for Widnes Vikings, his uncle Phillip Leuluai played for Salford City Reds and his cousin Kylie Leuluai played for the Leeds Rhinos. Leuluai started his professional career at National Rugby League side New Zealand Warriors in 2003.
He played for the Junior Kiwis. At the time of his début he was the youngest player to play for the club, coincidentally in the same game Mark Robinson became the oldest player to make his début for the club. With competition from New Zealand internationals Stacey Jones and Lance Hohaia he had limited first team experience at New Zealand Warriors and he spent most of the 2003 season in the Bartercard Cup playing for his youth club Otahuhu-Ellerslie, playing 10 games and scoring 5 tries. Leuluai became the second youngest player to represent the Kiwis when he made his début that year. At the end of 2004, he left the Warriors after scoring two tries. In 2004, Leuluai signed a contract with Super League side London Broncos as a replacement for Dennis Moran who had left the Broncos to join the Wigan Warriors, he spent two years at the club scoring 19 tries. Both seasons were affected by injury. In 2005, his season was cut short by a broken ankle while his 2006 campaign was disrupted by a hamstring injury sustained while playing for New Zealand.
His contract was not extended and he agreed to join the Wigan Warriors for the 2007 season. Leuluai agreed a three-year deal with Wigan Warriors in December 2006 after months of speculation and rumours, he would replace Australians Michael Dobson and partner Trent Barrett in the halves during the 2007 season. Leuluai made his Wigan Super League début in a 16–10 defeat against Warrington at the JJB Stadium on 9 February 2007, he scored the game-winning try against St. Helens at the JJB stadium and scored Wigan's first against Bradford in the history breaking 31–30 comeback win in the Play-offs. On 9 May 2008 Leuluai played for New Zealand against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the Centenary Test, which took place 100 years to the day after the New Zealand'All Golds' first met Australia. At the end of 2008 Leuluai played for the New Zealand team. In April 2009, having made over seventy appearances for the club, Leuluai extended his contract with the Wigan Warriors by three years to last him until the 2012 season.
He helped Wigan to their first Championship since 1998 with a man-of-the-match performance in the 2010 Super League Grand Final earning him the Harry Sunderland Trophy. The 2011 Wigan Warriors season started against St Helens R. F. C. in the opening fixture of the season, with his first try coming a week at Bradford Bulls in Round 2. As well as playing in the 2011 World Club Challenge, Leuluai scored a brace in Round 4 against Salford City Reds. A try against Hull Kingston Rovers was followed with another against Crusaders RL in Rounds 10 and 13 respectively, he claimed two more braces in consecutive matches, firstly against Barrow Raiders in the Challenge Cup fourth round against Harlequins in Round 14 of 2011's Super League XVI. Leuluai was selected for the Exiles squad for the Rugby League International Origin Match against England at Headingley on 10 June 2011. Leuluai played for Wigan at hooker in the 2011 Challenge Cup Final against Leeds Rhinos, scoring a try in his side's victory. In November 2011 Leuluai announced that he had signed a three-year contract with the New Zealand Warriors starting in 2013.
In 2016 he was linked with a move back to Super League with St Helens, However, in July 2016, Leuluai announced he would be re-joining the Wigan Warriors in 2017. Having been awarded the number 7 jersey on his return to Wigan he made his second début against Salford Red Devils in Round 1 of the 2017 Super League season. A week he helped Wigan to lift the World Club Challenge against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks scoring his first try of the season a week against Widnes Vikings. Leuluai suffered a broken jaw in Round 11 of the Super League just six months after suffering the same injury playing for New Zealand, he made his comeback just four weeks against St Helens, scoring his second try of the season against Wakefield Trinity. He scored his third and final try of the season against Castleford Tigers in the sixth round of the Super 8's, his good form saw. After telling coach Shaun Wane he felt more comfortable in the hooker role he was handed the number 9 shirt after the departure of Micheal McIlorum.
Wigan Super League: 2010, 2018 League Leaders' Shield: 2010, 2012 Challenge Cup: 2011 World Club Challenge: 2017New Zealand Rugby League World Cup: 2008 Rugby League Four Nations: 2010Individual Harry Sunderland Trophy: 2010 Wigan Warriors profile Thomas Leuluai Wigan Career Page on the Wigan RL Fansite. NRL stats New Zealand Warriors profile SL profile 2017 RLWC profile
Michael De Vere
Michael De Vere is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. He represented Australia in New South Wales in five State of Origin matches. A goal-kicking outside back who could play centre, wing or fullback and a skilful goal-kicker who ended his career having kicked at 76.62%, De Vere played club football for the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL, with whom he won the 1997, 1998 and 2000 premierships. He played with English club the Huddersfield Giants in the Super League, reaching the 2006 Challenge Cup final. In 2009, he instigated a comeback with the Brisbane Broncos, which only lasted one game before he retired. A product of Campbelltown, De Vere spent a year playing with the Appin Dogs in the Group 6 Junior League, before being graded with the St. George Dragons in 1995, although he never played first grade for the Dragons. De Vere won the 1997 Brisbane Broncos season's rookie of the year award and played in their Super League Grand Final win over the Cronulla Sharks.
In 1998 De Vere, a last-minute inclusion to the side due to a finger injury to former Kangaroo Tour winger Michael Hancock, scored the opening try in Brisbane's 38–12 1998 NRL grand final win against the Canterbury Bulldogs. The 2000 Brisbane Broncos season's top point-scorer, De Vere made it two premierships in four seasons with the club when he landed three goals in their 2000 NRL grand final win over the Sydney Roosters. Having won the 2000 NRL Premiership, the Broncos traveled to England to play against 2000's Super League V Champions, St Helens R. F. C. for the 2001 World Club Challenge, with De Vere playing at centre and kicking three goals in Brisbane's loss. That season he joined the ranks of Brisbane players to have represented New South Wales against his Broncos teammates in a State of Origin match, he set the Broncos record for most goals in a match when he kicked 9/9 in a 50–6 win over the North Queensland Cowboys in 2001. He was again top point-scorer for the Broncos in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
After the 2003 NRL season, De Vere made his test début in the centres for Australia in an end of season test against New Zealand in Auckland, following which he went on the 2003 Kangaroo tour, playing in the final two tests of The Ashes series against Great Britain. In 2004 he was dropped from the New South Wales team after the Blues' narrow 9–8 win in the first match of the series. During the 2004 season, Michael De Vere played his last test for Australia when he was selected on the wing for the Kangaroos 37–10 Anzac Test win over New Zealand in Newcastle, he contributed 12 points with a try and four goals, the only goals he kicked in test football. De Vere left the Broncos at the end of the season after again being the club's top-point scorer, to take up a contract with English club Huddersfield Giants, becoming the club's first Australian international player since Pat Devery in the 1950s. At the time he was the Broncos highest point scorer with 1,062 points. In the 2003 State of Origin series, an incident occurred in game one when De Vere suffered a head wound after a clash with Queensland’s Tonie Carroll.
The NSW team physician John Orchard used a staple gun to close the wound. De Vere joined the Huddersfield Giants in 2005, he played for Huddersfield in the 2006 Challenge Cup Final at centre and kicked two goals but the Giants lost 12–42 against St. Helens. On 20 November 2006, he announced that he would retire from professional football and return to Brisbane; the following season at the Broncos' 20-year anniversary celebration, the club announced a list of the 20 best players to play for them to date which included De Vere. He was set to join the Carina Leagues club as a development/coaching officer in 2007. On 23 January 2009 it was announced that Michael De Vere would return to the Brisbane Broncos for the 2009 season, more than two years after retiring; the National Rugby League had to approved De Vere's comeback due to concerns over salary cap concessions, given he worked as a development officer. It was to be De Vere's final playing year in first grade rugby league, his 10th season with the Broncos.
De Vere's NRL comeback was short-lived as he only played one game in 2009. Rleague.com player profile
Jason Paul Cayless is a former New Zealand international rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. A prop forward, he is the younger brother of Nathan Cayless, he played his club football for the Sydney Roosters, with whom he won the 2002 Telstra Premiership, the Parramatta Eels and St. Helens, with whom he won the 2006 Challenge Cup and 2006 Super League Grand Final, before finishing his career with the Wests Tigers. Cayless was born in Australia, he is of Maori descent. Cayless started his career in the National Rugby League with the Parramatta Eels alongside his older brother, Nathan Cayless, with the club for three years. In 2001 he made his representative début for New South Wales Country Origin; the following year Cayless moved to the Sydney Roosters and played for them at prop forward in their 2002 NRL Grand Final win over the New Zealand Warriors. Having won the 2002 NRL Premiership, the Roosters traveled to England to play the 2003 World Club Challenge against Super League champions, St. Helens.
Cayless played at prop forward in Sydney's victory. He made his international début for New Zealand in 2002 and went on to play in ten Test matches for New Zealand, he played at prop for the Sydney Roosters in the 2003 NRL grand final, lost to the Penrith Panthers. Cayless played for the Roosters at prop forward in their 2004 NRL grand final loss to cross-Sydney rivals, the Bulldogs. Cayless played for St Helens as a prop forward in their 2006 Challenge Cup Final victory against the Huddersfield Giants. St Helens reached the 2006 Super League Grand final to be contested against Hull F. C. and Cayless played as a prop forward in Saints' 26–4 victory. As 2006 Super League champions, St Helens faced 2006 NRL Premiers the Brisbane Broncos in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Cayless played at prop forward in the Saints' 18–14 victory. After spending four seasons in the Super League, in October 2009 Cayless signed with the Wests Tigers on a two-year contract starting in 2010, he started the first three games of the season from the bench, but injuries saw him make no further appearances for the Tigers in 2010.
He announced his retirement before the start of the 2011 season. First Grade Debut: Round 21, Parramatta v Wests Tigers at Parramatta Stadium, 25 June 2000 National Representation: 11 Tests for New Zealand NRL Premiership Winner: 2002 for Sydney Roosters Super League Championship Winner: 2006 for St Helens Carnegie Challenge Cup Winner: 2006 for St Helens World Club Challenge Winner: 2007 for St Helens Wests Tigers profile Jason Cayless St Helens profile Saints Heritage Society profile
Super League (Australia)
Super League was an Australian rugby league football administrative body that conducted professional competition in Australia and New Zealand for one season in 1997. Along with Super League of Europe, it was created by News Corporation during the Super League war which arose following an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the pay television rights to rugby league in Australia. After two years of legal battles the competition was played for a single season in 1997 alongside the rival Australian Rugby League competition before the two merged in 1998 to form the National Rugby League; the Super League war was the corporate dispute, fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s between the Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation-backed Super League and the Kerry Packer and Optus Vision-backed Australian Rugby League organisations over broadcasting rights for, control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia. After much court action from the already-existing ARL to prevent it from happening, Super League ran one premiership season parallel to the ARL's in 1997 after signing enough clubs disenchanted with the traditional administration to do so.
At the conclusion of that season a peace deal was reached and both Leagues united to form the National Rugby League of today. Ten clubs competed in domestic competition; the teams were: The Telstra Cup was a ten team competition held over 18 rounds. The season was dominated by the minor premiers, the Brisbane Broncos, who won 14 of their 18 matches, losing only to the Penrith Panthers, the Hunter Mariners and eventual runners-up, the Cronulla Sharks; the Grand Final was played at Brisbane's ANZ Stadium in front of 58,912 people, the ground record for that venue. The Broncos defeated the Sharks 26–8 to win their third premiership; the Auckland Warriors had teams in both the Reserve grade and two age-group Grand Finals but lost all three. The winners in all grades were: 1st Grade/Seniors Grade: Brisbane Broncos 2nd Grade/Reserve Grade: Canterbury Bulldogs 3rd Grade/Under-19s: Penrith Panthers 4th Grade/Under-17s: Brisbane Broncos The Super League Tri-series was contested by New South Wales, New Zealand and Queensland.
Each team played the others once, with the best two teams playing a final. New South Wales defeated Queensland 23–22 in the final at ANZ Stadium In 1997 the Super League Australia team played two games against New Zealand, winning the inaugural ANZAC Test and losing the return match. At the end of the season Australia played a three-Test series against Great Britain in the British Gas Test series. Australia won the series by two games to one. Although these matches are considered to be Tests by the New Zealand Rugby League and the English Rugby Football League, they are not recognised by the Australian Rugby League; as News had signed up most rugby league organisations outside of Australia, the ARL was starved of international competition. They had intended playing a team of New Zealand players signed with ARL clubs but the New Zealand Rugby League took out an injunction in the Federal Court preventing the ARL from using the terms "Test", "Representative Team", "New Zealand" or "All Golds"; the ARL instead played Tests against rebel teams from Papua New Guinea and Fiji, as well as playing a Test against a Rest of the World team in July 1997.
The Oceania Cup was run by Super League in place of the Pacific Cup. It was contested by the Cook Islands, Tonga, New Zealand Māori, New Zealand XIII and Papua New Guinea. New Zealand XIII defeated New Zealand Maori 20–15 in the final; the World Club Challenge, contested since 1975, was expanded in 1997 to include all ten Australian Super League clubs competing against all twelve European clubs. The European teams were outclassed, winning only 8 of 83 matches, suffering many heavy defeats; the competition was unpopular in Australia, it lost $6,000,000 due to small crowds and heavy travel expenses. The Brisbane Broncos won the final defeating the Hunter Mariners 36–12 at Ericsson Stadium, Auckland; the Super League Challenge Cup competition was played between the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The Australian Capital Territory won the competition, defeating the Northern Territory 40–14 at ANZ Stadium Brisbane on 19 May 1997. In 1996 and 1997 the Super League World Nines competition was held.
In 1997 the tournament was known as the Gatorade Super League World Nines due to sponsorship. Nines rugby league is a faster form of the game with only nine players per side and playing in shorter halves; the World Nines competition were held as an alternative to the ARL's World Sevens. The 1996 World Nines were held in Fiji from 22 to 24 February; the winner of this competition was New Zealand. The 1996 World Nines marked the first time; the 1997 World Nines were held in Queensland from 31 January to 2 February. New Zealand won this competition for the second year in a row; as the Rugby Football League had signed with News Corporation, a twelve team club competition was held from 1996 in Europe. Although Super League damaged the public perceptions and financial standing of rugby league in Australia, a number of concepts that it introduced lived on into the new millennium. An addition to the regular tests played between Australia and New Zealand, the ANZAC Test was introduced by Super League. There was some controversy at the time for the use of the word ANZAC, as many considered it inappropriate to compare sportspeople to soldiers.
Although it was dropped from the annual schedule in the early years of the new millennium, it was revived in 2004 and was played annually until 2017. The