A Guide to Rugby League
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Rugby League is an exciting, high paced battle which originated in England in 1895 as players of Rugby Union were dealing with issues over payment, the RFU decided to enforce the amateur principle of the sport, stopping players from being able to claim compensation known as ‘broken time payments’ leaving working class players unable to play and lead affordable lives. So its rules were changed over time and the idea grew giving it the reputation as one of the most physically demanding games of team sports. Allowing every class of man to join the revolution. In 1895 it introduced professionalism and more rules changes evolved. The lineouts were abolished, teams were reduced from 15 players to 13 and the most distinctive change was once a ruck was formed or a player held the ball was then played for a total of 6 tackles and then either the ball was kicked or it changed teams, known as a handover. These gradual changes took almost a hundred years to perfect giving us the giant of a game we see today.
Rugby league is among the most popular sports in Northern England, Australia, New Zealand, France, Tonga and Papua New Guinea where it is the national sport. The European Super League and Australasian National Rugby League (NRL) are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European, Australasian and Pacific countries, and is governed by the Rugby League International Federation. The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954; the current holders are Australia.
The first sponsors, Joshua Tetley and John Player, entered the game for the 1971-1972 Northern Rugby Football League season. Television would have an enormous impact on the sport of rugby league in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation sought worldwide broadcasting rights and refused to take no for an answer. The media giant’s “Super League” movement saw big changes for the traditional administrators of the game. In Europe it resulted in a move from a winter sport to a summer one as the new Super League competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League War resulted: long and costly legal battles and changing loyalties, causing significant damage to the code in an extremely competitive sporting market. In 1997 two competitions were run alongside each other in Australia, after which a peace deal in the form of the National Rugby League was formed. The NRL has since become recognised as the sport’s flagship competition and since that time has set record TV ratings and crowd figures.
State of Origin is the annual best-of-three series of rugby league football matches between the Blues and the Maroons, who represent the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland, respectively. Referred to as Australian sport’s greatest rivalry.