Leon Pryce is the Head Coach of Workington Town in League 1 and an English former professional rugby league footballer who most played for the Bradford Bulls. A Great Britain and England international representative backline player, he played for St. Helens, with whom he had Challenge Cup, Super League Championship success, the Catalans Dragons and Hull FC, he is a product of the Bradford Bulls Academy system. Pryce was born in Bradford, England. Of Jamaican descent, Pryce comes from a family of rugby league players, his cousin Steve Pryce has coached in Jamaica, he is the cousin of Featherstone Rovers player Waine Pryce. At age 16, Pryce captained the England schools side. Pryce came through the academy ranks at Bradford Bulls, after the club signed him from amateur side Queensbury in Bradford. Pryce played for Bradford on the wing in the 1999 Super League Grand Final, lost to St. Helens, he made his full début for England against France in 1999, has represented his home county of Yorkshire. Pryce played for Bradford on the wing in their 2001 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan.
As Super League VI champions, Bradford played against 2001 NRL Premiers, the Newcastle Knights in the 2002 World Club Challenge. Pryce was selected for the substitutes bench in Bradford's victory; that year Pryce played for Bradford from the substitutes bench in their 2002 Super League Grand Final loss against St. Helens. In 2003, Pryce received 120 hours community service for unlawful wounding, after attacking former Bulls' fitness conditioner Eddie McGuinness with a glass, he played for Bradford from the substitutes bench in their 2003 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan. Having won Super League VIII, Bradford played against 2003 NRL Premiers, Penrith Panthers in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Pryce scored a try in Bradford's 22 -- 4 victory, he played for Bradford on the wing and scored a try in their 2005 Super League Grand Final victory against Leeds, winning the Harry Sunderland Award for a Man of the Match performance. After Bradford did not renew his contract in 2005, in 2006 Pryce joined St. Helens.
One of the key issues in the decision was that he would start at stand off, a position Pryce has long coveted. Pryce won his first trophy with St Helens in August 2006, defeating Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup Final at Twickenham. St Helens reached the 2006 Super League Grand final to be contested against Hull FC, Pryce played at stand-off half back, scoring a try in Saints' 26–4 victory; as 2006 Super League champions, St Helens faced 2006 NRL Premiers Brisbane Broncos in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Pryce played at stand-off half back in the Saints' 18–14 victory, he went on to win the Challenge Cup again in 2007 when Saints beat Catalans Dragons 30–8 at Wembley Stadium. He was a joint winner of the Lance Todd Trophy along with Paul Wellens. In July 2007, Pryce was accused of squeezing Sam Burgess' testicles, he was found guilty of the incident and banned for three matches. That year he was voted rugby league's dirtiest player by RL Weekly readers, he was again found guilty of a similar misconduct, against Bradford forward Andy Lynch on 22 February 2008.
However, he escaped a possible eight-match ban as the disciplinary panel ruled the contact "minimal". His success at the club continued as he helped Saints to a 26–18 win over Hull in the 2008 Challenge Cup Final, he was named in the England squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. He was named in the Super League Dream Team for the 2008's Super League XIII season, he played in 2008's Super League XIII Grand Final defeat by Leeds. Pryce went with the England squad to compete in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup tournament in Australia. In Group A's first match against Papua New Guinea he played at stand-off half back in England's victory. In 2008 Pryce was charged and appeared in court alongside Stuart Reardon on charges of assault and violence following an alleged incident at Reardon's estranged wife's house in Queensbury, Bradford, they were charged with using violence to common assault. The charge of using violence to gain entry against both defendants was dropped after the prosecution offered no evidence.
In March 2009, having been found guilty of common assault, the pair were given a 12-week suspended sentence. He played in the 2009 Super League Grand Final defeat by Leeds. After being released by St Helens in 2011, Pryce signed for the Perpignan based Catalans Dragons for the 2012 season; the Stand-off made his début against Castleford Tigers in a 28-20 victory and was named Man of the Match. He went on to play 80 times for the French side and scored a total of 20 tries in the three seasons he spent at the club. Pryce signed for Hull in 2015. In 2016 he was part of the team. At the end of the 2016 season, Pryce announced his departure from Hull after two seasons and 38 appearances. Pryce re-signed for his hometown club Bradford ahead of the 2017 season however the Bulls were liquidated in January 2017 casting doubt over Pryces playing future. A new club was formed soon; the new club was started on -12 points. After just 11 games Pryce announced his immediate retirement after a poor start to the season and fans booing his and the team's performance.
After Pryce retired he set up his own player agency. After retiring during the 2017 season, Leon accepted an offer to coach League 1 side Workington Town for the 2018 season. Super League: 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 World Club Challenge: 2002, 2004, 2007 League L
National Rugby League
The National Rugby League 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 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, 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 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 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 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. The New South Wales Rugby League ran the major rugby league competition of New South Wales from its inception in 1908 until 1994. Following the introduction of a new format for interstate rugby league, the State of Origin series in 1980, the decade of the 1980s brought about expansion of the NSWRL premiership, with the introduction of commercial sponsorship, the Winfield Cup, the addition of non-Sydney-based teams and Illawarra in 1982. Although this move brought more interest in the competition statewide in New South Wales, it would spell the beginning of the demise of some of the traditional Sydney-based clubs as well as having a negative effect on the Brisbane Rugby League premiership.
Following the 1983 season, Sydney foundation club Newtown Jets were forced to withdraw from the competition because of financial difficulties. Further expansion of the league followed in 1988, with another three teams based outside Sydney introduced to the competition; the Brisbane and Newcastle sides proved to be successful and popular and paved the way towards a push for a national competition. This was attempted in 1995 with control of the premiership passing from the NSWRFL to the Australian Rugby League, who invited four more teams from outside NSW to participate in 1995; this competition failed, but in its demise the National Rugby League was born, incorporating the traditional Sydney clubs coercing the Sydney market to follow the newly created national competition. The prospect of a national rugby league competition in addition to the introduction of pay television in Australia attracted the attention of global media organisation, News Corporation, it followed that professional rugby league was shaken to its foundations in the mid-1990s with the advent of the Super League war.
A conflict over broadcasting rights, it became a dispute as to who controlled the sport and which traditional clubs would survive into the new national era, as News Limited formed their own Super League and admitted some former ARL clubs, poaching players from the original ARL league with high salaries. With twenty-two teams of varying quality playing in two competitions that year, crowd attendances and corporate sponsorships were spread thinly, many teams found themselves in financial difficulty; the ARL undertook moves to invite the traditional clubs that had moved to the Super League competition back into a re-unified competition. Following a period of negotiation with News Corporation, on 23 September 1997 the ARL announced that it was forming a new company to conduct the competition in 1998. On 7 October News' Manaaki Ranginui announced that he was confident that there would be a single competition in 1998. On 19 December, representatives of clubs affiliated with the Australian Rugby League gathered at the Sydney Football Stadium to decide whether to accept News Limited's offer of a settlement – voting in favour by 36 votes to 4.
As a result, in the following months the National Rugby League, jointly owned by the ARL and News Limited, was formed. It was announced that the inaugural National Rugby League season of 1998 would have 20 teams competing, 19 remaining Super League and ARL teams plus the Melbourne Storm, who were created by Super League for their 1998 season. Clubs on both sides of the war were shut down. Super League decided to close the Hunter Mariners and the financially ruined Perth Reds, who were $10 million in debt at the end of 1997, while the ARL decided to close down the South Queensland Crushers, who were in severe financial trouble. Additionally, at the end of 1998 the NRL decided to close down former Super League club, the Adelaide Rams and former ARL club, the Gold Coast Chargers, despite the Gold Coast franchise being one of the few clubs to make a profit during the Super League war. One condition of the peace agreement between the ARL and News Limited was that there would be a 14 team competition in 2000.
The 20 clubs that played in 1998 would be assessed on various items such as sponsorship, crowds, on-field success and the like. It was announced that clubs that merged would
Viliami William'Willie' Marshall Mason is a former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 2000s and 2010s. An Australia and Tonga international, New South Wales State of Origin representative forward, he played in the National Rugby League for Australian clubs: the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, the Sydney Roosters, the North Queensland Cowboys, the Newcastle Knights and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Mason played in the Super League for English club the Hull Kingston Rovers and French club, the Catalans Dragons, he played rugby union in the Top 14 for French club RC Toulonnais. During his career Mason was involved in a number of controversial off-field incidents which have received media publicity due to his high profile in the NRL. Mason was born in Auckland, New Zealand to a mother of Tongan and African American descent and an Australian father, Mason moved to Australia at a young age and grew up in Toronto, New South Wales playing his junior football for the Toronto Macquarie Scorpions and the Lakes United Seagulls.
In 1997, Mason was signed by the Hunter Mariners and played in the lower grades until the club became defunct at the end of the year. In 1998, Mason played in the under-18s Jersey Flegg competition. In 1999, Mason suffered a leg fracture in the game before the Bulldogs' Jersey Flegg Grand Final win. In 2000, Mason moved on to the NSWRL Premier League. In Round 13 of the 2000 NRL season he made his NRL début for the Bulldogs against the Penrith Panthers after first-grader Darren Britt suffered an injury, he became a regular first-grader for the rest of the season. After the 2000 season, Mason made his international début for Tonga, his mother's country of origin, in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup played in Great Britain and Ireland. In 2002, Mason was reported to have run from a taxi to avoid paying the fare. After the 2002 NRL season, Mason was selected to make his début for Australia against Great Britain, he scored a try on debut. During 2003, Mason earned a call-up to make his début for New South Wales in Game 3 of the 2003 State of Origin series.
After the 2003 NRL season, he went on the 2003 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, helping Australia to victory over Great Britain in what would be the last time the two nations contested an Ashes series. In 2003, he tested positive to an illicit social drug, reported to be an amphetamine, was fined $25,000 by his club. Mason has never commented on the issue publicly. In 2004, Mason along with Trent Waterhouse, Craig Wing, Craig Gower and Mark O'Meley, were fined for unprofessional behaviour and for leaving the team hotel after the side had returned from the night out. Mason forged another player's signature at an autograph event, after a heavy drinking session with teammates visited a brothel; the next season the Dogs reached the 2004 NRL Grand Final and triumphed 16–13 over the Sydney Roosters. Mason was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for Man of the Match, he 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 Mason played from the interchange bench and scored a try in the Kangaroos' 44–4 victory.
At the end of 2004, Mason played in Australia's win over the United States in an international rugby league friendly match at Philadelphia's Franklin Field but suffered a fractured ankle. Mason was out of action during the first half of the 2005 NRL season and did not play in the NRL until Round 18 where the Bulldogs, he played in the 2005 Tri-nations tournament. In June 2006, news speculation surfaced that Mason was considering joining the United States' National Football League, a childhood dream, he was said to be courted by several teams, including San Francisco 49ers. In July it was confirmed the New York Giants had offered him the opportunity to trial with them after the Rugby League Tri-Nations series finished in November. However, the Canterbury club had dismissed the deal, Mason remained with the club beyond 2006. In 2006, Willie returned to become a regular member of the Bulldogs team where he managed to play 20 club matches, all three Origin games for NSW – in which he was named Man of the Match in the opening game and three Tests for Australia in the 2006 Tri-Nations series.
He was a firm figure in the clubs return to finals football as the Bulldogs finished second on the ladder, the Dogs were beaten by eventual Premiers the Brisbane Broncos one game shy of the Grand Final. Mason was televised appearing to swear during the New Zealand haka, before game 1 of the 2006 Gillette Tri-nations Series. In the match Mason suffered a swollen black eye and suspected broken eye socket from a shoulder charge by David Kidwell. Mason explained that his swearing was in response to the traditional Māori dance being performed by Brent Webb, an Indigenous Australian of Torres Strait Islander origin who became a New Zealand citizen. Mason was banned for one game and fined $5,000 following an altercation with Stuart Fielden during Great Britain's defeat of Australia in November 2006. In December 2006 Mason took part in a trial with the New York Jets, but still maintained he would fulfil his contract with the Bulldogs until the end of the 2009 season. Mason said "I'm at the time in my career now where maybe it is time for a change.
New York City is the capital of the world. I'm pretty sure I could settle in there if given the opportunity..." However a Jets representative stated that Mason being offered a contract was unlikely, "I don't think they were football drills, it was more of a visit. We just had a look at him and, where we left it." The Jets coach Eric Mangini was impressed wi
North Queensland Cowboys
The North Queensland Cowboys are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in Townsville, the largest city in North Queensland. They compete in the National Rugby League premiership. Since their foundation in 1995, the club has appeared in three grand finals winning in 2015, has reached the finals ten times; the team's management headquarters and home ground, the Willows Sports Complex known as 1300SMILES Stadium due to sponsorship rights, are located in the Townsville suburb of Kirwan. The Cowboys were admitted to the premiership for the 1995 ARL season, they played in the breakaway Super League competition in 1997 before continuing to compete in the re-unified National Rugby League competition the following year. After running into financial trouble in 2001, the club was taken over by News Limited. In 2007, the team was sold by News Limited to the Cowboys Leagues Club. In 2015, the Cowboys played in the first all-Queensland grand final, defeating the Brisbane Broncos 17-16 in golden point to win their first premiership.
With the success of the Broncos in 1988, speculation intensified as to if the NSWRL would admit a new team based in North Queensland. In 1993, the NSWRL announced that North Queensland would enter the competition in 1995, along with three other new sides. One of the major difficulties that faced the club in their early years was attracting followers from the more established Queensland-based Winfield Cup side, the Brisbane Broncos; this was exacerbated by an initial lack of onfield stability. In their first two seasons, the Cowboys had eight different captains and finished last in their inaugural season. After much court action in 1995 and 1996, a ten team Super League competition was held in 1997; the Cowboys competed in this competition, their squad was bolstered by a number of new signings including Ian Roberts and Steve Walters. However, they were unable to improve on the club's results in previous years, for the second time in three seasons they were to finish the season in last place; the Cowboys first game of the Super League season, a 24–16 win over new team the Adelaide Rams played on 1 March at Stockland Stadium in front of 17,738 fans was the first game of the Super League's competition.
In 1998 the Super League and Australian Rugby League competitions merged to form the National Rugby League. The Cowboys began their first season in this competition and after six rounds they were in equal first place. Although they fell away in the season, they were to record the largest come-back to date in an Australian first grade rugby league match, defeating the Penrith Panthers 36–28 after trailing 26–0 at half-time. 1998 saw the Cowboys record their largest loss to date, being defeated 62–0 by the North Sydney Bears in the last round of the home and away season. The Cowboys signed their eleventh captain in Noel Goldthorpe. Paul Bowman was to serve in that role during the season. Although their on-field performances were not spectacular, continuing high attendance figures saw aggregate attendances exceed one million spectators; this season the Cowboys provided their first State of Origin representative when Paul Green was selected as Queensland's halfback for game 2 of the 1999 State of Origin series.
In the years 2000 through to 2002 the Cowboys continued to struggle with off-field dramas and poor on-field performances. After finishing last in 2000, season 2001 began Tim Sheens]] resigned on the 25th of May and was replaced by his assistant Murray Hurst. 4 straight losses in the opening rounds of 2002 led to Hurst being replaced early in the 2002 season, by former Illawarra Steelers and Leeds Rhinos coachGraham Murray. Murray stamped his authority and coaching prowess on the club and the NQ Cowboys looked far more competitive towards the end of the 2002 season; the Cowboys spent much of the 2003 season in the top eight with much improved performances from a host of players, including local talents Matt Bowen and Josh Hannay. The 2003 season ended with the Cowboys four points adrift of a top eight play-off position. After a slow start to the season that saw them at 13th on the ladder with just one win and five losses, the Cowboys turned it around in the second half of the season to finish with 12 wins and 11 loses and 7th spot, giving the club their first top eight appearance.
The Cowboys fairytale year continued when they upset the 2nd place Bulldogs away from home in the first week of the finals, 30–22, thanks to hat-trick hero Matt Sing. The following week the Cowboys defeated their state rivals the Brisbane Broncos at home, 10–0, in the club's most famous victory, they ended up falling one game short of the grand final, losing to the Sydney Roosters, 19–16. The Cowboys would go one better in 2005. With the help of new recruits Carl Webb and Johnathan Thurston, the side finished in 5th spot and with back-to-back finals appearances, they would lose the grand final to the Wests Tigers. In his first year with the club, Johnathan Thurston won the Dally M Medal and made his State of Origin debut for Queensland. In 2006, the Cowboys started the year with a 6-game winning streak and looked destined for another finals appearance, before ending the season with just 5 wins from 19 games and finishing in 9th position; the 2007 season saw their first top 4 finish. They faced the Bulldogs in Townsville in week 1 of the finals.
The following week, they defeated the Warriors at home by 37 points. They fell one game short of the grand final again, this time losing t
Johnathan Dean Thurston is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the National Rugby League. Thurston was an Australian international, Queensland State of Origin and Indigenous All Stars representative, he was a noted goal-kicker. In 2015, he became the first four-time Dally M Medallist for the NRL season's best player, that year became the first three-time winner of the Golden Boot Award for the World's best player. During his career he had been regarded as the greatest to have played the game. Johnathan Thurston started his career at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2002, where he won the 2004 NRL premiership, before moving to the North Queensland Cowboys in 2005, playing in that year's grand final. In that year, he made his debut for Queensland, before making his Australian debut in 2006, he was the 2008 Wally Lewis medalist for State of Origin player of the series. In 2008, he was named as halfback of the Australian Aboriginal team of the century. Thurston was the only player to play in all 24 games of Queensland's eight-year State of Origin winning streak from 2006, having played 36 consecutive Origin matches from his debut in 2005.
Thurston broke the record for most points in State of Origin history during the 2015 State of Origin Series. In 2015, Thurston co-captained the North Queensland Cowboys, along with teammate Matt Scott, to their inaugural NRL Premiership, he was the 2015 Clive Churchill Medallist for grand final man of the match. In 2018, Thurston founded and launched the Johnathan Thurston Academy of, he now the Managing Director; the JTAcademy provides a forum, which encourages Australian youth to access the educational and vocational resources needed to secure meaningful employment. Thurston was born in Brisbane, Australia, to a Gunggari mother and a New Zealand-born father, he began playing rugby league at a young age for Souths Sunnybank RLFC in Brisbane's southside. At 12 years of age Thurston signed a scholarship deal with the South Queensland Crushers. During his youth he moved to Toowoomba where he attended St. Mary's College, playing rugby league for the school and the Toowoomba Rugby League's All Whites club.
Although a stand-out player at school and club level at 18 years of age, none of the National Rugby League clubs were willing to sign the Queenslander with many citing his small size as a problem. According to Thurston's manager, Sam Ayoub, a number of the clubs were not willing to take him for free. Only St George Illawarra Dragons coach Nathan Brown was willing to sign him because he was going to play for nothing. Ayoub negotiated with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to sign him as he had promised Thurston's mother he would keep an eye on him, Belmore was closer to where he lived; the Bulldogs signed Thurston in the 2001 NRL season for'nil playing fee'. Once Thurston had the opportunity he was selected for the Queensland U-19 side that year. Thurston made his NRL debut for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Round 13 of the 2002 NRL season against the Penrith Panthers, coming off the interchange bench in the 38-24 win at Penrith Stadium. In Round 21 against the North Queensland Cowboys, Thurston scored his first and second NRL career tries in the Bulldogs 34-26 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Thurston scored. As a specialist in the halves, Thurston was behind established Bulldogs halves pairing Brent Sherwin and Braith Anasta and many of his critics still believed he was still too small in stature to be competitive in the NRL. Thurston played in 15 matches and scored four tries in 2003. Although Thurston never cemented a starting position and only took part in 29 matches throughout three seasons at the Bulldogs, in his final year in 2004, he was part of the Premiership-winning side, coming off the bench in the Bulldogs 16-13 win over the Sydney Roosters in the 2004 NRL Grand Final. Thurston wore jersey #18 for the match as he had been a late inclusion for regular captain Steve Price who, in the lead up to the match, was ruled out with a knee injury; as Price had housed and mentored him upon his arrival in Sydney, Thurston gave his premiership ring to Price as a thank you. Price was able to give Thurston another ring in return. Towards the end of the season it was announced that 2004 would be his final year for the Sydney club as he was signed by the North Queensland Cowboys for 2005.
Thurston played 7 scored 4 tries for the year. At the end of the season, Thurston was approached by New Zealand but turned them down in favour of representing Australia and Queensland. In 2015, it was revealed that Thurston wanted to stay at Canterbury beyond the 2004 season but the management at the club had re-signed Brent Sherwin and Braith Anasta. According to Thurston's manager Sam Ayoub, the player wanted to stay at Canterbury if it meant a diminished salary but he was told that leaving was the best option. In round 1 of the 2005 NRL season, Thurston made his club debut for the Cowboys against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium at five-eighth in the Cowboys 29-16 loss. In round 4, against the Newcastle Knights, Thurston scored his first club try for the Cowboys in the 52-18 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Thurston's return to Queensland proved to be a major turning point in his career, he became the starting halfback for the Cowboys, his consistency earned him his first Queensland State of Origin jersey.
In his debut match for Queensland in Game 1 of the 2005 State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium, Thurston was voted Player's Player after being in the top 4 tacklers and kicking a field goal to force the game into ext
The Bradford Bulls are a professional rugby league club in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England playing in Championship. They have won the Challenge Cup five times, the league championship six times and the World Club Challenge three times. Bradford play their home games at Odsal Stadium; the team jersey is white with red and black chevrons. In 1907, founder member of the Rugby Football League Bradford F. C. switched codes to association football, Bradford Northern was formed by members who wished to continue rugby. Bradford Northern were renamed Bradford Bulls in 1996, at the start of Super League. Bradford's main rivalry was with Leeds; the club entered administration in 2012, again in 2014 and 2016. Several bids were made to take over the club but none were accepted by the administrators, so on 3 January 2017 the club went into liquidation; the RFL announced the criteria and invited bids to form a "new club", which acted as an immediate resurrection of the Bulls which retained the history, club colours, home stadium and a several players from the 2016 squad.
Due to the administration and liquidation, the club started the 2017 season with a 12-point deduction. With a few games left of the 2017 season, Bradford's relegation fears were confirmed and in 2018 they played in League One earning promotion back to the Championship after beating Workington Town on 7 October 2018; the original Bradford Football Club was formed in 1863 and played rugby football, subsequently joining the Rugby Football Union. The club played at Horton Cricket Ground, All Saints Road but were asked to leave because of damage to the pitch, they moved to Laisteridge Lane and North Park Road in Manningham. A nomadic existence continued as they went on to Peel Park Girlington and Apperley Bridge. Bradford Football Club and Bradford Cricket Club bought Park Avenue in 1879 and this resulted in the club becoming "Bradford Cricket and Football Club"; the club's headquarters were at the Talbot Darley Street, The Alexandra, Great Horton Road. The club achieved its first major success by winning the Yorkshire Cup in 1884.
In 1895, along with cross-town neighbours Manningham F. C. Bradford was among 22 clubs to secede from the Rugby Football Union after the historic meeting at the George Hotel in Huddersfield in response to a dispute over "broken time" payments to players who were thus part-time professionals; these 22 clubs formed rugby league football was born. Bradford enjoyed some success in the new competition. In the 1903–04 Northern Rugby Football Union season, the team finished level on points with Salford at the top of the league and won the resulting play-off 5–0. In 1905–06, Bradford beat Salford 5–0 to win the Challenge Cup and were runners-up in the Championship. In 1906–07, Bradford won the Yorkshire County Cup 8–5 against Hull Kingston Rovers. During this time Manningham F. C. had run into financial difficulties and, despite a summer archery contest that generated enough money to ensure their survival, its members were persuaded to swap codes and play association football instead. Manningham was invited to join the Football League in 1903, in an attempt to promote football in a rugby-dominated region, the newly renamed Bradford City A.
F. C. was voted into full membership of the Second Division without having played a game of football, having a complete team or being able to guarantee a ground. The creation of Bradford City led to demands for association football at Park Avenue too; the ground had hosted some football matches including one in the 1880s between Blackburn Rovers and Blackburn Olympic F. C.. In 1895, a Bradford side had beaten a team from Moss Side, Manchester, by 4–1 in front of 3,000 spectators. Following the change at Bradford City, a meeting was called of the Bradford FC members on 15 April 1907 to decide the rugby club's future. An initial vote appeared to favour continuing in rugby league, but opinion shifted towards rugby union and the chairman, Mr Briggs, used his influence to swing the committee behind the proposed move to association football; this act, sometimes referred to as "The Great Betrayal", led to Bradford FC becoming the Bradford Park Avenue Association Football Club. The minority faction decided to split and form a new club to continue playing in the Northern Union, appropriately called "Bradford Northern", which applied for and was granted Bradford FC's place in the 1907–08 Northern Rugby Football Union season.
Bradford Northern's first home ground was the Greenfield Athletic Ground in Dudley Hill, to the south of the city. They based themselves at the Greenfield Hotel. Northern moved to Birch Lane in 1908. Bradford council offered the club a site for a new stadium between Rooley Lane and Mayo Avenue in 1927; however the NRFU said the site was too small and the club kept on looking. Before moving to Odsal, Bradford Northern had had two other homes at Greenfield Athletic Ground in Dudley Hill and at Birch Lane, part of the Bowling Old Lane cricket ground, although at times they had to hire Valley Parade as the capacity at Birch Lane was insufficient for large matches. On 20 June 1933 Bradford Northern signed a ten-year lease with Bradford council for a former quarry being used as a waste dump at Odsal Top, it was turned into the biggest stadium outside Wembley. The Bradford Northern team played its first match there on 1 September 1934. Success came to Bradford in the 1940s with a number of cup wins: the Yorkshire cup in 1940–41, 1942–43, 1944–45, 1945–46, 1948–49 and 1949–50.
In the Championship Bradford found
Super League is the top-level professional rugby league club competition in the Northern Hemisphere. The league has one from France. Super League began in 1996, replacing the Rugby Football League Championship and switching from a winter to a summer season; each team plays 29 games between February and September: 11 home games, 11 away games, Magic Weekend and an additional 6'loop fixtures' decided by league positions. The top five enter the play-off series leading to the Grand Final which determines the champions; the bottom team is relegated to the Championship. The Super League champions play the National Rugby League champions from Australasia in the World Club Challenge at the start of the season. A "super league" competition was first mooted during the Australian Super League war as a way for Rupert Murdoch to gain the upper hand during the battle for broadcasting supremacy with the Australian Rugby League. Murdoch approached the British clubs to form Super League. A large sum of money aided the decision, the competition got under way in 1996.
Part of the deal saw rugby league switch from a winter to a summer season. The 12 founding teams of Super League were: Bradford Bulls Castleford Tigers Halifax Leeds Rhinos London Broncos Oldham Bears Paris Saint-Germain Sheffield Eagles St. Helens Warrington Wolves Wigan Warriors Workington TownInitially, several mergers between existing clubs were proposed: Castleford, Wakefield Trinity and Featherstone Rovers would form Calder Hull F. C. and Hull Kingston Rovers would form Hull Salford and Oldham were to form Manchester Sheffield Eagles and Doncaster were to form South Yorkshire Warrington and Widnes were to form Cheshire Whitehaven, Workington Town and Carlisle would form CumbriaThey were to be included with the following stand-alone clubs: Bradford Northern, Leeds, London Broncos, Paris Saint-Germain, St. Helens and Wigan; however this proved so unpopular. The clubs finishing below 10th in the existing top flight were excluded, which meant Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and Widnes were left out, as were pioneering club Keighley who had just won the Second Division Championship.
London Broncos, who had come fourth in the Second Division, were "fast-tracked" in on commercial grounds. A new team, Paris Saint-Germain, was created to give a French dimension. Between 1998 and 2000 there was no relegation from Super League. After two years Paris were dropped from the competition. Promotion and relegation between Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues was re-introduced, in 2002 the Super League Europe governing body re-integrated into the Rugby Football League. In 2006, French side Catalans Dragons from Perpignan joined the league, becoming the second non-English team to compete. To facilitate this move, two clubs were relegated from Super League at the end of the 2005 season: Leigh who finished bottom of the league were replaced by the one club coming up from the National Leagues and Widnes who finished 11th were dropped for Les Catalans, thus the number of clubs in Super League remained at 12. Super League licences were announced in May 2005 by the RFL as the new determinant of the Super League competition's participants from 2009 in place of promotion and relegation.
The licences were awarded after consideration of more factors than just the on-the-field performance of a club. After 2007 automatic promotion and relegation was suspended for Super League with new teams to be admitted on a licence basis with the term of the licence to start in 2009; the RFL stated that clubs applying to compete in Super League would be assessed by criteria in four areas with the final evaluations and decisions being taken by the RFL board of directors. Successful applicants were licensed for three years of Super League competition and three-yearly reviews of Super League membership took place to ensure ambitious clubs lower down the leagues can still be successful. Points attained by each club's application are translated into licence grades A, B or C. Clubs who achieved an A or B Licence would be automatically awarded a place in Super League, while those who achieved a C Licence underwent further scrutiny before the RFL decided who made the final cut. First licensing period In June 2008, the RFL confirmed that Super League would be expanded from 12 teams to 14 in 2009, on 22 July 2008 the RFL confirmed the teams awarded licences.
The teams announced were the 12 existing Super League teams along with National League 1 teams, Celtic Crusaders and Salford. Celtic Crusaders becoming the first Welsh team to play in Super League and the only team to be awarded a licence who had never played in the Super League previously. Featherstone Rovers, Halifax and Widnes all failed to attain a licence. Leigh and Widnes were disappointed with their exclusions with Leigh's chairman being critical of the RFL. Second licensing period For the 2012–14 seasons Championship sides Batley, Featherstone Rovers and Widnes all met the on-field criteria needed to submit an application, but despite this only Barrow and Widnes decided to submit an application. On 31 March 2011 Widnes were awarded a Super League licence; the Rugby Football League's final decision was announced on 26 July 2011, Widnes would be joi