Fullback (rugby league)
Fullback is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Wearing jersey number 15, the fullback is a member of the team's'back-line'; the position's name comes from their duty of standing the furthest back in defence, behind the forwards, half backs and the three-quarter backs. Fullbacks are therefore the last line of defence, having to tackle any opposition players and regather the ball from any kicks that make it through their teammates, it is for this reason that the fullback is referred to as the sweeper or custodian. Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a sought quality in fullbacks. Fullback is one of the most important positions in attack, handling the ball nearly every set of six and running into open space on the field. Therefore, together with the two half backs and hooker, fullback is one of the four key positions that make up what is referred to as a team's'spine'; because the fullback makes the most support runs, players in the role complete more high-intensity running than any other position.
The Rugby League International Federation's Laws of the Game state that the'fullback' is to be numbered 1. However, traditionally players' jersey numbers have varied, in the modern Super League, each squad's players are assigned individual numbers regardless of position. Fullbacks who feature in their respective nations' rugby league halls of fame are France's Puig Aubert, Australia's Clive Churchill and Charles Fraser, Wales' Jim Sullivan and New Zealand's Des White. Churchill's attacking flair as a player in the 1950s is credited with having changed the role of the fullback. So too is Darren Lockyer's. Rugby league positions Rugby league gameplay
Penrith Panthers are an Australian professional rugby league football team based in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith. The team is based at the foot of the Blue Mountains; the Panthers were admitted to the New South Wales Rugby League competition in 1967. Penrith struggled for twenty years before reaching their first finals series; the club achieved its first Grand Final appearance in 1990 but were beaten by the Canberra Raiders 18–14. The following year the Panthers met the Raiders again in the 1991 Grand Final, this time winning the game 19–12. Penrith's most recent premiership achievement was over the Sydney Roosters in the 2003 Grand Final where Penrith were considered underdogs but came out on top with an 18–6 victory. Ivan Cleary was appointed head coach in October 2018. James Maloney assumed the role of club captain following Peter Wallace's mid-season retirement in June 2018. Sports media personality Phil Gould is the club's manager of football operations. OAK Milk has been their major sponsor since 2012.
Varied Penrith teams had played for many years between 1912 and 1966 in the Western Districts League under the control of the Western Suburbs RLFC. In the Parramatta competition after Parramatta was admitted to the NSWRL in 1947, in a second-tier Sydney competition introduced by the NSWRL in 1962. By this time a single top level rugby league team had emerged in the Penrith area and in 1964 they became known as the Penrith Panthers; the Panther had been chosen as the Penrith emblem after a public competition won by a graphic artist from Emu Plains named Deidre Copeland. In 1966 word was out that the New South Wales Rugby League in 1967 would introduce two new teams to the Sydney premiership. There were three teams vying for the two proposed slots, Cronulla-Sutherland, the Wentworthville Magpies. Cronulla-Sutherland had been assured of one place, leaving Penrith and Wentworthville to fight it out for the other place; the NSWRL settled on Penrith due to their location and a win in the 1966 Second Division title.
After admission to the competition in 1967, they promptly came second last on the competition ladder. Hopes were raised in 1968 under new Captain-Coach Bob Boland when they won the pre-season competition and finished 8th, but this improvement proved to be short lived. Penrith had trouble attracting the sort of experienced players they knew they needed, although they always had good junior talent coming through, they did not get the on-field leadership they needed. Penrith needed to wait until they could develop their own'stars', they struggled for 20 years before reaching their first finals series in 1985 with a team boasting new local star Greg Alexander and captained by Royce Simmons. Penrith started to build momentum, they made their first Grand Final appearance in 1990 with a team boasting notable players the likes of Greg Alexander, John Cartwright, Brad Fittler and Mark Geyer only to be beaten by the Canberra Raiders 18–14. The next year the Panthers met the Raiders again in the Grand Final, this time winning 19 to 12, including two tries by Royce Simmons the former team captain in his last game.
They went on to play Wigan in England for the 1991 World Club Challenge but were beaten by the British champions 21–4. Their reign was short lived as in 1992 tragedy struck the club when the younger brother of Captain Greg Alexander, died in a car accident. Greg and close family friends Mark Geyer and Brad Fittler left the club soon after as well as coach Phil Gould left midway through the 1994 season; the Panthers were coached by former player and club captain Royce Simmons starting with the last six games in 1994 until the end of 2001. They made the finals during the 1997 Super League season and again in 2000 in the re-united NRL competition. In the year 2001, they came last on the competition ladder. 2001 was Royce Simmons' last season as coach for the Panthers, he was replaced by John Lang from Cronulla in 2002, where they finished 12th. Their last game of 2002 showed hope as they proceeded to thrash the Northern Eagles, knocking them out of the final eight; this showed the promise, to come the next year.
With the signing of Preston Campbell and Joe Galuvao, their side fired in 2003. Coming off 3 early season losses, they proceeded to lose only 3 other games for the rest of the competition with the local hero, Rhys Wesser scoring a new club record 25 tries. Penrith finished as Minor Premiers after convincingly accounting for the Parramatta Eels in the last round of competition. In the Finals series Penrith beat the Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors to reach the 2003 NRL Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters. Entering the match as underdogs, Penrith defeated the Roosters 18–6, with winger Luke Rooney scoring two tries. Hooker Luke Priddis received the Clive Churchill Medal; the game is remembered for a spectacular tackle by Scott Sattler in the 2nd Half, where he ran down and tackled Roosters winger Todd Byrne, sprinting down the left wing for an certain try. Penrith lost the 2004 World Club Challenge in the following pre-season, with the Bradford Bulls defeating them 22–4 in sub-zero temperatures.
The Panthers did however rally after that loss and once again qualified for the NRL semi-final series by finishing fourth and defeating St George Illawarra in the first week of the semi-finals before being knocked out by the Bulldogs in the Grand Final qualifier two weeks later. The Panthers just failed to qualify for the Top 8 in 2005 finishing two points out and in 10th spot on percentages, they endured another below-par season in 2006 this time falling well short of the f
Sydney Football Stadium
The Sydney Football Stadium, commercially known as Allianz Stadium and Aussie Stadium, was a football stadium in Moore Park, Australia. Built in 1988 next to the Sydney Cricket Ground, the stadium was Sydney's premier rectangular field venue for rugby league, rugby union and soccer; the Kangaroos, the Wallabies and the Socceroos played at the stadium, while the Sydney Roosters, NSW Waratahs and Sydney FC were the ground's major tenants. The stadium held both National Rugby League semi finals and one preliminary final, held the annual pre-season Charity Shield football match between South Sydney and St George Illawarra for a number of years, it hosted all New South Wales Rugby League/Australian Rugby League rugby league grand finals, as well as the first grand final under the NRL banner, between 1988 and 1998. The NSW Government announced plans in November 2017 for the stadium to be rebuilt; the stadium closed with the last event being a Michael Buble concert. Demolition begun in early 2019, continuing after several legal challenges and being a major topic during the 2019 New South Wales state election.
Prior to its construction, major events were held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, as it was the largest stadium in Sydney. But the SCG, being an oval field, was not considered ideal for sports requiring a rectangular field such as soccer, rugby league and rugby union, although it had been used many times for such events. Sydney Football Stadium was built upon the former Sydney Sports Ground in Moore Park, the former SCG No 2 adjacent to the existing SCG. Both were owned by the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, it opened by Premier Barrie Unsworth on 24 January 1988. The first sporting event was a rugby league match between the Eastern Suburbs Roosters and St George Dragons on 4 March 1988, its seating capacity was 41,159, but after numerous expansions, today stands at 45,500, although the venue's official record attendance for a sporting event stands at 44,380, set on 31 October 1993 for the 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier when the Socceroos played Argentina. The Sydney Football Stadium was the Sydney Roosters' home ground from 1988.
It was built on the site of the old Sydney Sports Ground which served as the Roosters home ground for decades, the old SCG No 2 which served as a secondary ground for some state cricket matches, an additional training ground, athletics. Both grounds were demolished in 1986 to make way for the SFS; the first event held at the venue marked the beginning of the 1988 Rugby League season, with a match between the Eastern Suburbs Roosters and the St George Dragons on Friday 4 March 1988. St George won the game 24-14; the Roosters had to wait until Round 5 that season for their first win at the venue, defeating the Gold Coast Giants 28-10. From 1988 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2005, it served as the home ground for the South Sydney Rabbitohs; the Rabbitohs returned to the ground with a one off game against the Broncos in Round 25 of the 2015 NRL season. The SFS has hosted rugby league football test matches since its opening in 1988 starting with two matches in Australia's 1988 Ashes series win against Great Britain.
The first game of the series saw the Wally Lewis captained, Don Furner coached Australians christen their new Sydney home with a 17-6 win in front of 24,480 fans. That game was the 100th test match between Australia and either Great Britain or England; the record international Rugby League crowd at the stadium was set for the first Ashes against Great Britain on their 1992 Australasian Tour when Australia won 22-6 in front of 40,141 in what was the first time a test in Sydney had attracted over 40,000 fans since 1974. The stadium has hosted the Rugby League Tri-Nations, including the Final of the 2006 tournament in which Australia triumphed 16-12 over New Zealand in Golden point extra-time thanks to a try by captain Darren Lockyer. Rugby league had some memorable moments including: The first grand final in 1988 saw Canterbury-Bankstown defeat Balmain 24-12 in front of 40,000 fans to send club captain Steve Mortimer into retirement with a premiership; the match had its controversial moment when Bulldogs Five-eighth Terry Lamb hit Tigers English import Centre Ellery Hanley with a high tackle out of the game before the 30th minute: The 1989 NSWRL grand final, won by the Canberra Raiders over the Balmain Tigers 19-14 thanks to a try by replacement forward Steve Jackson in extra-time for their first premiership: The 1991 NSWRL grand final won by the Penrith Panthers over Canberra 19-12 in which Penrith's Royce Simmons scored 2 tries in his final match giving the Panthers their first title: Brisbane's maiden premiership with a 28-8 win over St. George in 1992 NSWRL grand final, highlighted by a 95-metre try to Broncos Centre Steve Renouf: and the 1997 ARL Grand Final between the Newcastle Knights and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, with the Knights winning their first title with a 22-16 win following a try to Darren Albert in the dying seconds of the game after the Knights had trailed Manly since early in the game.
Manly had won their previous 11 games against the Knights prior to that Grand Final. The last grand final played at the SFS was the 1998 NRL Grand Final between Brisbane. In front of 40,857 fans, the Broncos ran out easy 38-12 winners to win their 4th premiership from four grand Final appearances. Two standout State Of Origin matches in which Queensland triumphed over New South Wales with last-minute victories in 1994 and 1998, as well as Michael O'Connor's sideline conversion in driving rain for a NSW win in Game 2 of the 1991 series. Of note was Queensland's backs to the wall win in Game 2 of the 1989. Despite losing Allan Langer to a broken leg, Mal Meninga with a fractured eye socket and
Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,994, it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, the eleventh-largest in Europe, it is about 0.5 miles from the adjacent tram stop. Nicknamed "The Theatre of Dreams" by Bobby Charlton, Old Trafford has been United's home ground since 1910, although from 1941 to 1949 the club shared Maine Road with local rivals Manchester City as a result of Second World War bomb damage. Old Trafford underwent several expansions in the 1990s, 2000s, including the addition of extra tiers to the North and East Stands returning the stadium to its original capacity of 80,000. Future expansion is to involve the addition of a second tier to the South Stand, which would raise the capacity to around 88,000; the stadium's record attendance was recorded in 1939, when 76,962 spectators watched the FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town. Old Trafford has hosted FA Cup semi-finals, England fixtures, matches at the 1966 World Cup and Euro 96 and the 2003 Champions League Final, as well as rugby league's annual Super League Grand Final and the final of two Rugby League World Cups.
It hosted football matches at the 2012 Summer Olympics, including women's international football for the first time in its history. Before 1902, Manchester United were known as Newton Heath, during which time they first played their football matches at North Road and Bank Street in Clayton. However, both grounds were blighted by wretched conditions, the pitches ranging from gravel to marsh, while Bank Street suffered from clouds of fumes from its neighbouring factories. Therefore, following the club's rescue from near-bankruptcy and renaming, the new chairman John Henry Davies decided in 1909 that the Bank Street ground was not fit for a team that had won the First Division and FA Cup, so he donated funds for the construction of a new stadium. Not one to spend money frivolously, Davies scouted around Manchester for an appropriate site, before settling on a patch of land adjacent to the Bridgewater Canal, just off the north end of the Warwick Road in Old Trafford. Designed by Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, who designed several other stadia, the ground was designed with a capacity of 100,000 spectators and featured seating in the south stand under cover, while the remaining three stands were left as terraces and uncovered.
Including the purchase of the land, the construction of the stadium was to have cost £60,000 all told. However, as costs began to rise, to reach the intended capacity would have cost an extra £30,000 over the original estimate and, at the suggestion of club secretary J. J. Bentley, the capacity was reduced to 80,000. At a time when transfer fees were still around the £1,000 mark, the cost of construction only served to reinforce the club's "Moneybags United" epithet, with which they had been tarred since Davies had taken over as chairman. In May 1908, Archibald Leitch wrote to the Cheshire Lines Committee – who had a rail depot adjacent to the proposed site for the football ground – in an attempt to persuade them to subsidise construction of the grandstand alongside the railway line; the subsidy would have come to the sum of £10,000, to be paid back at the rate of £2,000 per annum for five years or half of the gate receipts for the grandstand each year until the loan was repaid. However, despite guarantees for the loan coming from the club itself and two local breweries, both chaired by club chairman John Henry Davies, the Cheshire Lines Committee turned the proposal down.
The CLC had planned to build a new station adjacent to the new stadium, with the promise of an anticipated £2,750 per annum in fares offsetting the £9,800 cost of building the station. The station – Trafford Park – was built, but further down the line than planned; the CLC constructed a modest station with one timber-built platform adjacent to the stadium and this opened on 21 August 1935. It was named United Football Ground, but was renamed Old Trafford Football Ground in early 1936, it was served on match days only by a shuttle service of steam trains from Manchester Central railway station. It is known as Manchester United Football Ground. Construction was carried out by Messrs Brameld and Smith of Manchester and development was completed in late 1909; the stadium hosted its inaugural game on 19 February 1910, with United playing host to Liverpool. However, the home side were unable to provide their fans with a win to mark the occasion, as Liverpool won 4–3. A journalist at the game reported the stadium as "the most handsomest, the most spacious and the most remarkable arena I have seen.
As a football ground it is unrivalled in the world, it is an honour to Manchester and the home of a team who can do wonders when they are so disposed". Before the construction of Wembley Stadium in 1923, the FA Cup Final was hosted by a number of different grounds around England including Old Trafford; the first of these was the 1911 FA Cup Final replay between Bradford City and Newcastle United, after the original tie at Crystal Palace finished as a no-score draw after extra time. Bradford won the goal scored by Jimmy Speirs, in a match watched by 58,000 people; the ground's second FA Cup Final was the 1915 final between Sheffield Chelsea. Sheffield United won the match 3–0 in front of nearly 50,000 spectators, most of whom were in the military, leading to the final being nicknamed "the Khaki Cup Final". On 27 December 1920, Old Trafford played host to its largest pre-Second World War attend
Rotorua is a city on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua from which the city takes its name, located in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is the seat of the Rotorua District, a territorial authority encompassing Rotorua and several other nearby towns; the majority of the Rotorua District is in the Bay of Plenty Region, but a sizeable southern section and a small western section are in the Waikato Region. Rotorua is in the heart of the North Island, 60 kilometres south of Tauranga, 80 km north of Taupo, 105 km east of Hamilton, 230 km southeast of the nation's most populous city, Auckland. Rotorua has an estimated permanent population of 59,500, making it the country's 10th largest urban area, the Bay of Plenty's second largest urban area behind Tauranga; the Rotorua District has a total estimated population of 72,500, of which 3,600 live in the Waikato section. Rotorua is a major destination for both international tourists, it is known for its geothermal activity, features geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa – and hot mud pools.
This thermal activity is sourced to the Rotorua caldera. Rotorua is home to the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology; the Lakes of Rotorua are a collection of many lakes surrounding Rotorua. The name Rotorua comes from Māori, the full name for the city and lake is Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe. Roto means'lake' and rua means'two' or in this case'second' – Rotorua thus meaning'Second lake'. Kahumatamomoe was the uncle of the ancestral explorer of the Te Arawa, it was the second major lake the chief discovered, he dedicated it to his uncle. It is the largest of a multitude of lakes found to the northeast, all connected with the Rotorua Caldera and nearby Mount Tarawera; the name can mean the appropriate'Crater lake'. The area was settled by Māori of the Te Arawa Iwi in the 14th century. During the early 1820s Ngapuhi led by chief Hongi Hika launced a series of raids into the Bay of Plenty as a part of the Musket Wars, in 1823 a Ngapuhi raiding party led by Hongi Hika attacked Te Arawa at their Pa on Mokoia Island defeating them.
The first European in the area was Phillip Tapsell, trading from the Bay of Plenty coast at Maketu from 1828. He married into Te Arawa and became regarded by them. Missionaries Henry Williams and Thomas Chapman visited in 1831 and Chapman and his wife established a mission at Te Koutu in 1835; this was abandoned within a year but Chapman returned in 1838 and established a second mission at Mokoia Island. The lakeshore was a prominent site of skirmishes during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. A "special town district" was created in the 1883, to promote Rotorua's potential as a spa destination; the town was connected to Auckland with the opening of the Rotorua Branch railway and commencement of the Rotorua Express train in 1894, resulting in the rapid growth of the town and tourism from this time forward. Rotorua was established as a borough in 1922, elected its first mayor in 1923, declared a city in 1962 before becoming a District in 1979; the Rotorua region enjoys a mild temperate climate.
Rotorua is situated inland from the coast and is sheltered by high country to the south and east of the city, resulting in less wind than many other places in New Zealand. During the winter months June – August temperatures can drop below 0 °C. Frost is common in Rotorua during its winter months, with an average of 57 ground frosts annually, 20 nights per year below 0 °C. Snowfall in Rotorua is rare. On 15 August 2011 and 13 July 2017 snowflakes fell in the town centre, during the July 2017 snowfall, snow accumulated in the nearby Mamaku ranges and in the outer reaches of the district, where snowfall occurs on average once every three years. Inner suburbs Outer suburbs Thermal activity is at the heart of much of Rotorua's tourist appeal. Geysers and bubbling mud pools, hot thermal springs and Te Wairoa — so named after it was buried by the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption— are within easy reach of Rotorua. In Kuirau Park, to the west end of Rotorua, hot bubbling mud pools dot the park. Visitors can soak their feet in hot pools.
A common nickname for Rotorua is "Sulphur City" due to the hydrogen sulphide emissions, which gives the city a smell similar to "rotten eggs", as well as "Rotten-rua" combining its legitimate name and the rotten smell prevalent. Another common nickname is "Roto-Vegas", likening the city's own strip of road flanked by businesses and restaurants to that of Las Vegas; the pungent smell in the central-east'Te Ngae' area is due to the dense sulphur deposits located next to the southern boundary of the Government Gardens, in the area known as'Sulphur Point'. The Rotorua region has 17 lakes, known collectively as the Lakes of Rotorua. Fishing, waterskiing and other water activities are popular in summer; the lakes are used for event venues. Lake Rotorua is used as a departure and landing point for float planes. Rotorua is home to botanical gardens and historic architecture. Known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800s, many of its buildings hint at this history. Government Gardens, close to the lake-shore at the eastern edge of the town, are a particular point of pride.
The Rotorua Museum of Art and History is housed in the large Tudor-style bath house building while the Art Deco
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
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