Super League

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This article is about Europe's professional rugby league competition. For other uses, see Super League (disambiguation).

The First Utility Super League (sponsored by utility supplier First Utility from 2014) is the top-level professional rugby league club competition in Europe. The league has fourteen teams: thirteen from England and one from France. The current champions are Wigan Warriors.

Super League began in 1996, replacing the RFL Championship and switching from a winter to a summer season. Each team plays 27 games between February and September: 13 home games, 13 away games and a Magic Weekend game at a neutral venue. At the end of the season, the top eight teams enter a play-off series leading to the Grand Final which determines the champions.

The Super League champions play against the National Rugby League (NRL) champions (from Australia/New Zealand) in the Probiz World Club Challenge.

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 1996–2001: Establishment
    • 1.2 2002–2008: Promotion and relegation
    • 1.3 2009–2014: Licensing
      • 1.3.1 First licensing period
      • 1.3.2 Second licensing period
    • 1.4 2015 Onward: promotions and relegations
  • 2 Clubs
    • 2.1 Current clubs
    • 2.2 Current academies
    • 2.3 All clubs that have competed in Super League
    • 2.4 All Time Super League Table
  • 3 Venues
    • 3.1 Resident home grounds
    • 3.2 "On the road"
    • 3.3 The Magic Weekend
    • 3.4 The Grand Final
  • 4 Competition format
    • 4.1 Regular Super League season
    • 4.2 Super League play-off series
      • 4.2.1 FAQ's
    • 4.3 Qualification for international competition
  • 5 Competition rules
    • 5.1 Club trained players
    • 5.2 Dual registration
    • 5.3 Salary cap
    • 5.4 Squad announcement system
  • 6 Match officials
    • 6.1 Coaching & performance staff
    • 6.2 Full-time match officials
    • 6.3 Full-time touch judges
    • 6.4 Cadet match officials
    • 6.5 Part-time match officials
  • 7 Trophies and awards
    • 7.1 League Leader's Shield
    • 7.2 Super League Trophy
    • 7.3 Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award
    • 7.4 Super League Dream Team
  • 8 Super League Champions
    • 8.1 The Double
  • 9 Sponsorship
  • 10 Media coverage
    • 10.1 Television
    • 10.2 Radio
    • 10.3 Internet
  • 11 See also
  • 12 References
    • 12.1 Inline
    • 12.2 General
  • 13 External links

History

1996–2001: Establishment

The 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 also approached the British clubs to form Super League. A large sum of money aided the decision, and the competition got under way in 1996. Part of the deal saw rugby league switch from a winter to a summer season.

"Supporters will see a better game in better surroundings, and the deal will see their sport receive a greater profile nationally and internationally."
Rodney Walker, RFL chairman, welcomes Super League, 5 April 1995

Tetley's was the League's title sponsor from 2001–2005

Initially, several mergers between existing clubs were proposed:

  • Castleford, Wakefield Trinity and Featherstone Rovers would form Calder
  • Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers would form Hull
  • Salford and Oldham were to form Manchester
  • Sheffield and Doncaster were to form South Yorkshire
  • Warrington and Widnes were to form Cheshire
  • Whitehaven, Workington Town, Barrow and Carlisle would form Cumbria

They were to be included with the following stand-alone clubs: Bradford Northern, Halifax, Leeds, London Broncos, Paris Saint-Germain, St. Helens and Wigan.

However this proved so unpopular that only existing clubs were selected for the competition. The clubs finishing below 10th in the existing top flight were excluded, which meant Featherstone Rovers, Hull, Wakefield Trinity and Widnes were left out, as were pioneering club Keighley Cougars 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.

2002–2008: Promotion and relegation

Harlequins RL vs St Helens in 2006

After two years Paris were dropped from the competition. Promotion and relegation between Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues was re-introduced, and in 2002 the Super League Europe (SLE) governing body re-integrated fully into the Rugby Football League (RFL). In 2006, French side Catalans Dragons (also known as UTC or Les Catalans) 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 (and would have stayed up any other year) were dropped for Les Catalans, thus the number of clubs in Super League remained at 12.

2009–2014: Licensing

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 (stadium facilities, finance and business performance, commercial and marketing and playing strength, including junior production and development) 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 license 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

Main article: 2009–11 Super League licences

In June 2008, the RFL confirmed that Super League would be expanded from 12 teams to 14 in 2009, and on 22 July 2008 the RFL confirmed the teams awarded licenses. The teams announced were the 12 existing Super League teams along with National League 1 teams, Celtic Crusaders and Salford City Reds. Celtic Crusaders becoming the first Welsh team to play in Super League and the only team to be awarded a licenses who had never played in the Super League previously.

Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh Centurions and Widnes Vikings all failed to attain a licence. Leigh and Widnes, especially, were disappointed with their exclusions with Leigh's chairman being extremely critical of the RFL.

Second licensing period

Main article: 2012–14 Super League licences
Logistics company Stobart Group was the League's title sponsor in 2012.

For the 2012–2014 seasons Championship sides Batley Bulldogs, Barrow Raiders, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax RLFC and Widnes Vikings all met the on-field criteria needed to submit an application, but despite this only Barrow, Halifax and Widnes decided to submit an application. On 31 March 2011 Widnes Vikings were awarded a Super League licence; Barrow Raiders, did not meet the criteria and were refused a licence; and Halifax's application was to be further considered alongside the other Super League clubs.

The Rugby Football League's final decision was announced on 26 July 2011, Widnes would be joining thirteen existing Super League teams with Crusaders RL having withdrawn their application and Halifax not meeting the criteria. Crusaders CEO Rod Findlay stated that the clubs finances were not in a good enough condition to justify their place in Super League. Halifax chairman Mark Steele was critical of the decision to award Wakefield a licence over themselves, saying "If you compare Belle Vue with The Shay, it's no contest; if you compare playing records, it's no contest; and if you compare the financial position, we have kept our head above water and they haven't." Wakefield had been favourites to lose their licence before Crusaders' withdrawal.

2015 Onward: promotions and relegations

At the 2013 Annual General Meeting at Bradford, the Super League clubs agreed to reduce the number of clubs to 12 from 2015, and also for a return of Promotion and Relegation with a 12 club Championship.

The 12 First Utility Super League and 12 Kingstone Press Championship clubs will play each other home and away over 22 rounds, including a Magic Weekend for both divisions. Following the conclusion of their regular league seasons, the 24 clubs will then compete in a play-off series where they split into 3 leagues of 8 based upon league position:

  • The top 8 Super League clubs will continue to compete in the Super League play-offs. After playing each other once (either home or away), the top 4 clubs will progress to the semi-finals to determine who will compete in the Grand Final and be crowned champions.
  • The remaining (bottom 4) Super League clubs and the top 4 Championship clubs will compete in the Qualifiers. They will play each other once (either home or away) to determine which four of the clubs will compete in Super League the following year.
  • The remaining (bottom 8) Championship clubs will compete for the Championship Shield and to avoid relegation to Kingstone Press Championship 1. Two clubs will be relegated each year.

Funding for clubs will be tiered in both leagues to prevent relegation related financial difficulties.

Clubs

Current clubs

LSuper League clubs
Colors Club Established City Stadium Capacity* Titles (Last)
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls 1907 Bradford, West Yorkshire Provident Stadium 27,491 6 (2005)
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers 1925 Castleford, West Yorkshire The Mend-a-Hose Jungle 12,000 0 (N/A)
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons 2000 Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France Stade Gilbert Brutus 13,000 0 (N/A)
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants 1864 Huddersfield, West Yorkshire John Smith's Stadium 24,500 7 (1962)
Hullcolours.svg
Hull F.C. 1865 Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire KC Stadium 25,404 6 (1983)
HKRcolours.svg
Hull Kingston Rovers 1882 Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire KC Lightstream Stadium 12,000 5 (1985)
Rhinoscolours.svg
Leeds Rhinos 1864 Leeds, West Yorkshire Headingley Carnegie Stadium 20,500 9 (2012)
Broncoscolours.png
London Broncos 1980 Edgware, London The Hive Stadium 5,176 0 (N/A)
Redscolours.svg
Salford Red Devils 1873 Salford, Greater Manchester AJ Bell Stadium 12,000 6 (1976)
Saintscolours.svg
St Helens 1873 St. Helens, Merseyside Langtree Park 18,000 12 (2006)
Wcatscolours.svg
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 1873 Wakefield, West Yorkshire Rapid Solicitors Stadium 12,000 2 (1968)
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves 1876 Warrington, Cheshire Halliwell Jones Stadium 15,500 3 (1955)
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes Vikings 1875 Widnes, Cheshire Select Security Stadium 13,500 3 (1989)
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 24,057 20 (2013)

*capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.

Current academies

In 2014 the following teams will run in each of the Senior Academy divisions:

NB:

  • The Academy U19s competition is primarily for Super League clubs. Catalans Dragons does not currently have a teams in the league as they run their lower grade sides in the French league; however they will be joining the competition from 2015.
  • The Academy U19s competition has a 6 team play-off with a Grand Final at the end of the play-off series.
  • The Championships U20s have a 3 team play-off with a Grand Final at the end of the play-off series.
  • Many Super League, Championship and Championship 1 sides also have Academy U16 teams. They compete in a small number of games throughout the season and all such games are seen as friendly matches.

All clubs that have competed in Super League

  • England Bradford Bulls
  • England Castleford Tigers
  • France Catalans Dragons
  • Wales Crusaders Rugby League (formerly Celtic Crusaders)
  • England Gateshead Thunder
  • England Halifax
  • England Huddersfield Giants
  • England Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants
  • England Hull F.C.
  • England Hull Kingston Rovers
  • England Leeds Rhinos
  • England Leigh Centurions
  • England London Broncos (known as Harlequins RL from 2006–2011)
  • England Oldham Roughyeds (formerly Oldham Bears)
  • France Paris Saint-Germain
  • England Salford Red Devils (formerly known as Salford City Reds)
  • England Sheffield Eagles
  • England St Helens RLFC
  • England Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
  • England Warrington Wolves
  • England Widnes Vikings
  • England Wigan Warriors
  • England Workington Town

All Time Super League Table

  • Correct up to end of 2013 season.
Seasons Name Games Win Draw Loss Pts For Pts Agn Pts Diff Points Average Won Average Drawn Average Lost Average For Average Against Average Pts Diff Average Pts Per Season Average Score For Average Score Against
18 St Helens RLFC* 482 342 14 126 15378 9449 5929 696 19.00 0.78 7.00 854.33 524.94 329.39 38.67 31.90 19.60
18 Wigan Warriors* 482 325 19 138 14356 8741 5615 663 18.06 1.06 7.67 797.56 485.61 311.94 36.83 29.78 18.13
18 Leeds Rhinos 482 320 12 150 14243 9914 4329 652 17.78 0.67 8.33 791.28 550.78 240.50 36.22 29.55 20.57
18 Bradford Bulls* 482 300 17 165 14108 10269 3839 607 16.67 0.94 9.17 783.78 570.50 213.28 33.72 29.27 21.30
18 Warrington Wolves 482 249 8 225 12687 11929 758 506 13.83 0.44 12.50 704.83 662.72 42.11 28.11 26.32 24.75
16 Hull FC* 438 217 18 203 10255 9995 260 450 13.56 1.13 12.69 640.94 624.69 16.25 28.13 23.41 22.82
18 London Broncos 482 184 20 278 10355 12992 -2637 388 10.22 1.11 15.44 575.28 721.78 -146.50 21.56 21.48 26.95
16 Castleford Tigers 427 169 16 242 9450 11565 -2115 354 10.56 1.00 15.13 590.63 722.81 -132.19 22.13 22.13 27.08
16 Huddersfield Giants 410 172 5 233 9356 10578 -1222 349 11.47 0.33 15.53 623.73 705.20 -81.47 23.27 22.82 25.80
15 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats* 414 150 5 259 8976 11691 -2715 299 10.00 0.33 17.27 598.40 779.40 -181.00 19.93 21.68 28.24
15 Salford Red Devils* 405 123 6 276 7523 11898 -4375 250 8.20 0.40 18.40 501.53 793.20 -291.67 16.67 18.58 29.38
8 Catalans Dragons 217 99 6 112 5007 5452 -445 204 12.38 0.75 14.00 625.88 681.50 -55.63 25.50 23.07 25.12
7 Hull Kingston Rovers 189 89 4 96 4466 4765 -299 182 12.71 0.57 13.71 638.00 680.71 -42.71 26.00 23.63 25.21
8 Halifax Blue Sox* 209 76 4 129 4646 5908 -1262 154 9.50 0.50 16.13 580.75 738.50 -157.75 19.25 22.23 28.27
6 Widnes Vikings 166 55 5 106 3521 5264 -1743 115 9.17 0.83 17.67 586.83 877.33 -290.50 19.17 21.21 31.71
4 Sheffield Eagles 97 37 3 57 2027 2663 -636 77 9.25 0.75 14.25 506.75 665.75 -159.00 19.25 20.90 27.45
1 Gateshead Thunder 30 19 1 10 775 576 199 39 19.00 1.00 10.00 775.00 576.00 199.00 39.00 25.83 19.20
3 Crusaders RL* 81 21 0 60 1431 2463 -1032 38 7.00 0.00 20.00 477.00 821.00 -344.00 12.67 17.67 30.41
2 Oldham Roughyeds 44 13 2 29 934 1312 -378 28 6.50 1.00 14.50 467.00 656.00 -189.00 14.00 21.23 29.82
2 Paris Saint-Germain RL 44 9 1 34 760 1367 -607 19 4.50 0.50 17.00 380.00 683.50 -303.50 9.50 17.27 31.07
1 Leigh Centurions 28 2 1 25 445 1210 -765 5 2.00 1.00 25.00 445.00 1210.00 -765.00 5.00 15.89 43.21
1 Workington Town 22 2 1 19 325 1021 -696 5 2.00 1.00 19.00 325.00 1021.00 -696.00 5.00 14.77 46.41

2001 - Wakefield - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2003 - Halifax - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2003 - Hull - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2003 - St Helens - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2006 - Bradford - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2006 - Wigan - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2007 - Bradford - Salary Cap Breach - 2 points
2007 - Wigan - Salary Cap Breach - 4 points
2011 - Wakefield - Administration - 4 points
2011 - Crusaders - Administration - 4 points
2012 - Bradford - Administration - 6 points
2013 - Salford - Fielding Extra Man - 2 points

Venues

Further information: List of current and former Super League venues

Resident home grounds

Resident side Stadium Location Country Capacity Record attendance Average attendance
Bradford Bulls Odsal Bradford, West Yorkshire England 27,491 24,020 8,575
Catalans Dragons Stade Gilbert Brutus Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales France 13,000 10,688 8,179
Castleford Tigers The Mend-a-Hose Jungle Castleford, West Yorkshire England 12,000 11,731 6,292
Huddersfield Giants John Smith's Stadium Huddersfield, West Yorkshire England 24,500 15,659 6,368
Hull FC KC Stadium Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire England 25,404 23,004 11,201
Hull Kingston Rovers KC Lightstream Stadium Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire England 15,000 10,250 7,495
Leeds Rhinos Headingley Carnegie Leeds, West Yorkshire England 20,500 22,000 14,985
London Broncos The Hive London, Greater London England 5,176 2,200
Salford Red Devils Salford City Stadium Salford, Greater Manchester England 12,000 6,891 3,178
St Helens Langtree Park St Helens, Merseyside England 18,000 17,980 11,141
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Belle Vue Wakefield, West Yorkshire England 12,000 11,000 7,973
Warrington Wolves Halliwell Jones Stadium Warrington, Cheshire England 15,500 15,000 10,465
Widnes Vikings Select Security Stadium Widnes, Cheshire England 13,500 9,271 6,015
Wigan Warriors DW Stadium Wigan, Greater Manchester England 25,004 25,004 14,549

"On the road"

In 2009, a match between Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves was staged at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium. London Broncos have also staged a number of games "on the road" including at Brisbane Road and Priestfield Stadium, both in 2012.

The Magic Weekend

In an attempt to expand out of the traditional rugby league "heartlands", and market the game to a wider audience, the RFL has staged games in large stadia, in places without a strong rugby league presence. The "Magic Weekend" concept, which involves staging an entire round of Super League in such a stadium, was first staged in Cardiff in 2007. Dubbed "Millennium Magic", and played in the Millennium Stadium, the concept was held in Cardiff again in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, the event was held in Edinburgh at the Scottish national rugby union stadium, giving rise to the name changing to "Murrayfield Magic". Generally held during the May Day weekend, 2011 saw the Magic Weekend return to Cardiff, and was held during the weekend 12–13 February, and serving as the season opener. It has since returned to its traditional mid-season slot and is currently held at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Stadium Location Country Highest attendance Average attendance
Etihad Stadium Manchester England 32,953 31,440

The Grand Final

Stadium Location Country Highest attendance Average attendance
Old Trafford Trafford, Greater Manchester England 72,582 63,352

Competition format

Regular Super League season

Between 2009 and 2014, 14 teams will compete in Super League. They play each other twice on a home-and-away basis, interrupted by the Magic Weekend round in May. Before the expansion from 12 teams, an additional four fixtures were played (before the introduction of Millennium Magic in 2007, an additional six fixtures were added). After the 27 rounds, a play-off series is used to determine the two teams who will meet in the Super League Grand Final to compete for the championship.

Super League play-off series

Further information: Super League play-offs

In 2014, the First Utility Super League play-offs will be contested by the eight sides finishing highest in the league. The structure is designed to reward the teams finishing nearer the top. The Grand Final is played at Old Trafford.

The current First Utility Super League Play-off structure:

  • Week 1
Four matches will take place on Week One, effectively in two pools: the Qualifying play-offs and the Elimination play-offs.
  • Week 1: Qualifying play-offs
These matches involve the teams who finish in the top four.
They are:
  • 1st v 4th
  • 2nd v 3rd
The winners of these two games will progress directly to Week 3. The highest ranked winning club will have Club Call, whereby they choose their opponents in Week 3.
The losers of these two matches will have another chance in Week 2 when they will be at home to the winners of the Week 1 Elimination play-offs.
  • Week 1: Elimination play-offs
These matches involve the teams who finish from fourth-eighth.
They are:
  • 5th v 8th
  • 6th v 7th
The winners of both matches will progress to Week 2, losers are eliminated.
  • Week 2: Preliminary Semi-Finals
There are two matches in Week 2; the winner of each match progresses to Week 3 and the loser is eliminated.
  • The first Preliminary Semi-Final features the highest ranked Qualifying Play-Off loser (from Week 1) v the lowest ranked Elimination Play-Off Winner (also from Week 1).
  • The second Preliminary Semi-Final features the lowest ranked Qualifying Play-Off loser (from Week 1) v the highest ranked Elimination Play-Off Winner (also from Week 1).
  • Week 3
Week 3 also features two matches; the winner of each match progresses to the Grand Final and the loser is eliminated.
  • Week 3: Club Call
Club Call will take place following the second weekend of the play-offs and will be hosted by the highest ranked winning club from Week 1.
The host club will select who they play in Week 3 and can only select from the winners of the two Preliminary Semi-finals (Week 2) – they cannot choose the other Qualifying play-offs winner.
The highest ranked club from the Qualifying play-offs (Week one) must choose their opponents – they cannot cede the responsibility to the other Qualifying play-offs winner.
The team with Club Call and the other Qualifying Play-off winners from Week 1 are guaranteed home advantage in Week 3. For example, should the teams that ended the regular season in 1st and 2nd place lose their opening play-off match, they could still find themselves playing away to the 3rd or 4th placed teams in Week 3.
  • Week 3: Qualifying Semi-Finals
  • The first Qualifying Semi-Final features the highest ranked Qualifying Play-Off winner(from Week 1) v the team selected through Club Call.
  • The second Qualifying Semi-Final features the lowest ranked Qualifying Play-Off winner(from Week 1) v the team not selected through Club Call.
  • Week 4: Grand Final
The Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford
The two winning teams from week 3 contest the Grand Final to determine the First Utility Super League champions.

FAQ's

  • Can any team have Club Call?
No. The highest ranked winning club from Week 1 will have Club Call, whereby they choose their opponents in Week 3. Only a team that ended the regular season in 1st, 2nd or 3rd can win Club Call.
  • Will the teams who finished 1st or 2nd at the end of the regular season be guaranteed home advantage in Week 3 should they progress?
No. The two highest rank teams after Week 1 (the team with Club Call and the other Qualifying Play-off winners) are guaranteed home advantage in Week 3. For example, should the teams that ended the regular season in 1st and 2nd place lose their opening play-off match, they could still find themselves playing away to the 3rd or 4th placed teams in Week 3.
  • Does the Club Call team have to choose their opponents or can they relinquish the responsibility to the other Qualifying play-offs winner?
The highest ranked club from the Qualifying play-offs (Week 1) must choose their opponents – they cannot relinquish the responsibility to the other Qualifying play-offs winner. In addition, they can only select from the winners of the two Preliminary Semi-finals (Week 2) – they cannot choose the other Qualifying play-offs winner.

Qualification for international competition

Each year, the Super League champions play against the National Rugby League (NRL) champions (from Australia/New Zealand) in the Probiz World Club Challenge. This fixture is usually held at the beginning of the following season (during February).

Competition rules

Club trained players

The 'club trained player' rule stipulates that each club must have a minimum number of players who are aged under 21 years or are graduates from their own academy system in their 25-man first team squad. Clubs are also required to have a minimum number of UK-trained players (or in the case of the Catalans Dragons, France-trained players) in their squads, and also are limited to a maximum number of "overseas" trained players.

The table below shows how the figures for the ruling from 2008–2011.

club trained players
Year home grown players (min) UK trained players (min) overseas trained players (max)
2008 5 10 10
2009 6 11 8
2010 7 12 6
2011 8 12 5

Dual registration

Clubs in both the First Utility Super League and the Kingstone Press Championships benefit from the new dual registration system which was been introduced for the 2013 season. The new system is intended to complement the existing player loan system.

Dual registration refers to an arrangement between clubs whereby a player continues to be registered to his current First Utility Super League club and is also registered to play for a club in the Kingstone Press Championship. The system is aimed at young Super League players who are thought to be not quite ready to make the step up to ‘week in, week out’ Super League first team duties but for whom first team match experience is likely to be beneficial for their development.

  • Only First Utility Super League players can be dual registered and the receiving club must be a club in the Kingstone Press Championships, meaning that Super League to Super League club dual registrations are not available.
  • A dual registered player will be eligible to play and train with both clubs in a format agreed between the clubs, subject to registration, salary cap and competition eligibility rules.
  • The player is restricted to playing in one fixture per scheduled round of fixtures in any given week and would not be eligible to play for his First Utility Super League club on a Thursday and in a Kingstone Press Championship fixture at the weekend, for example.
  • A receiving club will be limited to a total of five dual registered players per matchday squad.

Salary cap

The Super League operates under a real-time salary cap system that will calculate a club’s salary cap position at the start of and throughout the season:

  • The combined earnings of the top 25 players must not exceed £1.65 million.
  • Clubs will only be allowed to sign a new player if they have room under the cap.
  • Clubs are allowed to spend a maximum of £50,000 on players outside the top 25 earners who have made at least one first grade appearance for the club during the year.
  • Costs for players outside of the top 25 earners who do not make a first team appearance will be unregulated.
  • Any player who has played for the same club for at least 10 consecutive seasons will have half their salary excluded from the salary cap for his 11th and subsequent seasons. This is subject to a maximum of £50,000 for any one club.

Squad announcement system

Before each Super League and Tetley's Challenge Cup fixture, each club must announce the squad of 19 players it will choose from by 2.00pm on the second day before the match day.

Match officials

All Super League matches are governed by the laws set out by the RFL; these laws are enforced by match officials. Former Hull FC player and Huddersfield Head Coach Jon Sharp is the current Head of the Match Officials Department of the RFL. He assumed this role following Stuart Cummings' departure in March 2013 having previously held the role of Match Officials Coach & Technical Director.

Coaching & performance staff

  • Jon Sharp – Head of the Match Officials Department
  • Steve Ganson – Match Officials Coach & Technical Director
  • Ian Smith – Match Officials Coach

Full-time match officials

Name Referee Touch Judge First Super League Game Date Venue
Phil Bentham Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Hull FC 11 Sep 2005 Belle Vue
James Child Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Catalans Dragons 15 March 2009 Belle Vue
Robert Hicks Leeds Rhinos v Crusaders RL 20 June 2010 Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Tim Roby Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Harlequins RL 10 Apr 2011 Belle Vue
Richard Silverwood Halifaxv v Salford City Reds 6 May 2001 The Shay
Ben Thaler London Broncos v Leigh Centurions 29 May 2005 Griffin Park

Full-time touch judges

These touch judge in the First Utility Super League, and occasionally in the Kingstone Press Championship and the Kingstone Press Championship 1.

Cadet match officials

Cadets primarily Referee in the Kingstone Press Championship and the Kingstone Press Championship 1 and Touch Judge in the First Utility Super League. There are opportunities for cadets to Referee in the First Utility Super League when games become available.

Part-time match officials

Part Time Match Officials Referee in the Kingstone Press Championship and the Kingstone Press Championship 1. Some also touch judge in the First Utility Super League.

(*) Denotes match officials who also touch judge in the First Utility Super League.

Trophies and awards

Luke Burgess with the Super League trophy in 2009 following the Leeds Rhinos becoming Super League champions for the third successive year.

League Leader's Shield

The League Leader's Shield is awarded to the team finishing the regular season top of Super League; this is also known as a minor premiership. The League Leader's Shield was introduced only in 2003, previously no prize was awarded to the team finishing top following the introduction of the Grand Final.

Super League Trophy

The winner of the Grand Final is given the Super League Trophy as Super League Champions. This is considered more prestigious than the minor premiership. Each year, the year of a champion team's triumph, team name and team captain are engraved.

The record for most Super League titles won is held by Leeds Rhinos, who won the title 6 times in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012. Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield currently holds the record for captaining the most Super League title winning sides after captaining Leeds to all 6 of their grand final successes. St Helens contested the final 6 years in a row (from 2006 until 2011) during which time they succeeded only once in lifting the trophy against Hull in 2006; after which they suffered consecutive defeats against Leeds Rhinos in 2007, 2008, 2009, Wigan Warriors in 2010 and Leeds Rhinos once again in 2011.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award

The Man of Steel Award is an annual award for the best player of the season in Super League. It has continued from pre-Super League times, with the first such award given in 1977. It was renamed in honour of Steve Prescott in 2014.

Super League Dream Team

Each season a Super League Dream Team is also named. The best thirteen players in their respective positions are voted for by members of the sports press.

Super League Champions

See Rugby Football League Championship for the all-time list of champions since 1895.

The league format changed in 1998 and the championship became a play-off series to determine the Super League champions. This meant a reintroduction of a final to determine the European champions, the first since the 1972–73 season.

Season Grand Final Information League Leaders
Champions Score Runners-up
1996 N/A
N/A
N/A Saintscolours.svg St Helens
1997 N/A
N/A
N/A Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
1998 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 10–4 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
1999 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 8–6 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
2000 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 29–16 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
2001 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 37–6 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
2002 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 19–18 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2003 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 25–12 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
2004 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 16–8 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
2005 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 15–6 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2006 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 26–4 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2007 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 33–6 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2008 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 24–16 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2009 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 18–10 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
2010 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 22–10 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
2011 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 32–16 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
2012 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 26–18 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
2013 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 30–16 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants

The Double

In rugby league, the term 'the Double' is referring to the achievement of a club that wins the top division and Challenge Cup in the same season. To date, this has been achieved by a total nine different clubs but by only three different clubs during the Super League era.

Club Wins Winning years
1 Wigan 7 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 2013
2 St Helens 3 1965/66, 1996, 2006
3 Huddersfield 2 1912/13, 1914/15 (All Four Cups)
4 Broughton Rangers 1 1901/02
5 Halifax 1 1902/03
6 Hunslet 1 1907/08 (All Four Cups)
7 Swinton 1 1927/28 (All Four Cups)
8 Warrington 1 1953/54
9 Bradford 1 2003

N.B. In the event of a tie, the team that won x amount of 'Doubles' first is given preference.

Sponsorship

Super League has been sponsored since its formation.

Utility Supplier First Utility is the League's current title sponsor, as of 2014.

The title sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been six different title sponsors since the league's formation:

  • Stones Bitter (1996–1997)
  • JJB Sports (1998–1999)
  • Tetley's Bitter (2000–2004)
  • Engage Mutual Assurance (2005–2011)
  • Stobart Group (2012)
  • First Utility (2014–2016)

As well as title sponsorship, Super League has a number of official partners and suppliers. For the 2014 season these include Alcatel One Touch, Brut, Foxy Bingo, Irn-Bru, Isuzu and Specsavers. The official ball supplier is Rhino Rugby, who have held the contract since the 2013 season when they took over from Steeden.

Media coverage

Television

Sky Sports have been the primary broadcast partner of Super League since its inaugural season in 1996. The current deal lasts until 2021 and covers 80 matches per season, rising to 100 from 2015. They currently have the rights to show live Super League games in both Ireland and the United Kingdom; two live matches are broadcast each week – one on Thursday nights at 7:30pm (kick off 8pm) and another at 7:30pm on Friday nights (kick off 8pm). From 2014, they also simulcast all of Catalans Dragons' home games and from 2015, will broadcast regular Kingstone Press Championship matches.

Regular commentators are Eddie Hemmings and Mike Stephenson with summarisers including Phil Clarke, Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor. Live Super League broadcasts regularly rank amongst the top 10 most watched programmes in a week on Sky Sports with in excess of 250,000 viewers. Match highlights are shown on Boots N' All which is shown on Sky Sports and is rebroadcast via the Internet.

BBC Sport broadcast a weekly highlights programme called the Super League Show, usually presented by Tanya Arnold. This is broadcast to the North West, Yorkshire & North Midlands, North East & Cumbria, and East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire regions on BBC 1 on Monday nights (after 11pm) and is repeated nationally on BBC 2 on Tuesday afternoons. A national repeat was first broadcast overnight during the week since February 2008 when the then BBC Director of Sport, Roger Mosey, commented that this move was in response to the growing popularity and awareness of the sport, and the large number of requests from people who want to watch it elsewhere in the UK. The end of season play-off series is shown nationwide in a highlights package. Super League Show is also available for streaming or download using the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Bein Sports in France shows every Catalans Dragons home match live and also some other matches which are broadcast in the UK live on Sky.

Internationally Super League is shown live on Showtime Sports (Middle East), Sky Sport (New Zealand), NTV+ (Russia), Sportklub (Eastern Europe). In 2009, the Nine Network in Australia will show up to 70 live games. The Super League matches are only broadcast in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory as all of these areas are places where Rugby League (coverage of the NRL competition in particular) is a popular sport to play and watch on television. Previously, FOX Sports in Australia had shown the previous weekend's UK televised matches on Thursday nights.

In New Zealand Māori Television televises one Super League match free-to-air each week.

In the United States, Fox Soccer Plus televises Super League as part of an agreement that began in 2012 and ends in 2014. Previously, America One televised Super League in 2010.

Radio

BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra covers more than 70 Super League games through 5 Live Rugby League each Thursday and Friday night. Each 3 hour programme is presented by Dave Woods with a guest summariser (usually a Super League player or coach) and in addition to live commentary also includes interviews and debate. A 5 Live Rugby League podcast is available to download each week from the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/rugbyleague.

Super League is also covered extensively by BBC Local Radio:

  • BBC Radio Humberside cover Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers.
  • BBC Radio Leeds cover Bradford, Leeds, Castleford, Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield.
  • BBC Radio London cover London Broncos.
  • BBC Radio Manchester cover Wigan, Salford and Warrington.
  • BBC Radio Merseyside cover St Helens, Warrington and Widnes.

The competition is also covered on commercial radio stations:

  • Yorkshire Radio cover all seven Yorkshire clubs and have 50 commentaries per season.
  • BCB 106.6 (Bradford Community Broadcasting) have full match commentary on Bradford Bulls home and away.
  • Grand Sud FM covers every Catalans Dragons Home Match (in French).
  • Radio France Bleu Roussillon covers every Catalans Dragons Away Match (in French).
  • Wish FM have full match commentary on Wigan Warriors and St Helens matches home and away.
  • Wire FM have full match commentary Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings matches home and away.

All Super League commentaries on any station are available via the particular stations on-line streaming.

Internet

ESPN3, formerly ESPN360, has had worldwide broadband rights since 2007 when they broadcast the 2007 Grand Final.

Since 9 April 2009, all of the matches shown on Sky Sports have also been available live online via Livestation everywhere in the world excluding the US, Puerto Rico, UK, Ireland, France, Monaco, Australia and New Zealand. Theses matches are also available online for UK users only through Sky Go and Now TV.

In the United Kingdom, a number of commercial radio stations, along with BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the local BBC radio stations simulcast commentary of Super League games on the internet. Additionally, the 5 Live Rugby League podcast is available to download each week from the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/rugbyleague.

See also

Portal icon Rugby league portal
  • Super League records
  • List of sports attendance figures
  • Super League Ultimate 13: Grand Final Team
  • British rugby league system

References

Inline

  1. ^ Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". Independent, The (London: independent.co.uk). Retrieved 25 September 2009. 
  2. ^ BBC Sport (19 May 2005). "Super League set for 2009 changes". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  3. ^ RFL. "Licensing". The Rugby Football League. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  4. ^ BBC Sport (22 May 2005). "Franchise system 'is way forward'". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Angela Powers. "Licence to thrill". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  6. ^ Gary Slater (18 June 2008). "Super League to expand to 14". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  7. ^ Sky Sports (17 June 2008). "Super League set to expand". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  8. ^ BBC Sport (16 July 2008). "Clubs confident over franchises". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  9. ^ Ian Laybourn. "Leigh blast for Super League". Sporting Life. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  10. ^ BBC Sport (8 October 2010). "Five clubs in Super League queue". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  11. ^ BBC Sport (3 December 2010). "Widnes, Halifax and Barrow meet Super League deadline". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Vikings awarded Super League licence". Super League Official. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Thirteen Super League licences awarded for 2012 to 2014". RFL. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  14. ^ BBC Sport (26 July 2011). "Crusaders withdraw application for Super League place". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Super League to become a 12-team competition from 2015. Superleague.co.uk (11 July 2013). Retrieved on 20 August 2013.
  16. ^ http://media.therfl.co.uk/docs/Policy%20Review%20-%20September%202013.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-league/25780498
  18. ^ http://www.therfl.co.uk/matchday/league_tables
  19. ^ "True Colours" (Warrington Wolves Matchday Magazine) - 2014 Issue 01 (Thursday 13th February, vs St. Helens)
  20. ^ "New top eight play-off format for engage Super League". Super League (Europe). 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  21. ^ "Super League play-offs overhauled". BBC. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  22. ^ "Competition Structure". The RFL. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 2010. 
  23. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/feb/09/super-league-championship-dual-registration
  24. ^ http://www.superleague.co.uk/partners
  25. ^ http://www.superleague.co.uk/article/26385/rhino-appointed-ball-supplier
  26. ^ "Triline Sports". Triline Sports. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  27. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/26066628
  28. ^ engage Super League (Press Release) (15 November 2008). "CHANNEL NINE TO SHOW ENGLISH SUPER LEAGUE AND CHALLENGE CUP". RLeague.com. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  29. ^ "FOX SOCCER PLUS ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO STOBART SUPER LEAGUE, CARNEGIE CHALLENGE CUP AND WORLD CLUB CHALLENGE". Fox Sports. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Engage Super League expands its horizons in 2010". Superleague.co.uk. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  31. ^ "America One Television's One World Sports Signs Exclusive Deal for Engage Super League Rugby in 2010". America One. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  32. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/26031984
  33. ^ List of Super League games available on Livestation.com

General

  • Caplan, Phil; Doidge, Jonathan R. (2006). Super League – the first ten years. The History Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0752436982. 

External links

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