Australian Rugby League

Last updated

Australian Rugby Football League
Australian Rugby League logo.svg
RLIF affiliation1948
Ceased2012;8 years ago (2012)
Replaced by Australian Rugby League Commission
Responsibility Rugby League in Australia
HeadquartersRugby League Central.
Driver Avenue,
Moore Park, Sydney
Competitions National Rugby League
Flag of Australia (converted).svg

The Australian Rugby Football League, [1] more commonly known as the Australian Rugby League (ARL), was the governing body for the sport of rugby league football in Australia. The ARL, as a corporate entity, was handed over to the new Australian Rugby League Commission. [2] at 9:30am on 9 February 2012. Since its inception the ARL administered the Australian national team and represented Australia in international rugby league matters. During the mid-1990s' Super League war the ARL administered the country's first-grade premiership until the National Rugby League was formed. The legal hand-over from ARL to ARL Commission ensured that the game has effectively had the same governing body across Australia, since 1924.



The ARL controlled high-profile club competitions like the National Rugby League and National Youth Competition as well as annual representative competitions such as the State of Origin series, the Indigenous All Stars Match, City vs Country Origin and the Affiliated States Championship.

Other leagues include:


Initially formed as the Australian Rugby League Board of Control on December 1924, it was created to administer the running of the national team. George Ball was the first secretary of the Board and John La Maro the first chairman. Prior to this time, international rugby league was organised by both the NSWRL and the QRL. It was only after this time that the Australian team began to wear the now familiar sporting colours of Green and Gold.

Until 1984 the ARL was run by the NSWRL board, and many Queensland players and administrators throughout this period believed that the NSWRL used this power to the detriment of Queenslanders, especially with respect to national team selection. In 1984 the ARL was duly incorporated, as a separate entity, and Ken Arthurson was the first executive chairman of the new body. With national expansion of the competition implemented for the 1995 season the NSWRL passed control of the Winfield Cup competition to the ARL.

Following Kerry Packer's announcement that his Optus Vision company owned both free-to-air and pay television broadcasting rights for the sport in Australia, News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, undertook a bold bid to create a rival competition, Super League (Australia). Super League successfully attracted eight of the ARL clubs. [3]

In the 1995 State of Origin series, the ARL forbade the players of those eight clubs from participating in the interstate competition. However, those clubs were allowed to participate in the premiership seasons of 1995 and 1996, while the ARL fought in the courtroom to stop the Super League competition from eventuating. However, Super League conducted a rival competition in 1997.

Both the ARL and Super League competitions ran parallel to each other that year. At the close of the season, despite having the financial backing of Optus, the ARL decided that it could not survive if two competitions were run and undertook moves to approach News Corporation and join the national competition that had been created by Super League. As a consequence of the negotiations that followed, the National Rugby League was formed before the 1998 season from the ARL and Super League competitions.

Between 1998 season and the first few months of the 2012 season the ARL had six out of twelve seats on the NRL Partnership board. In 2012 News Limited exited the game and the ARL was fully incorporated into the new, independent Australian Rugby League Commission.

ARL Premiership

Australian Rugby League
Sport Rugby league
Inaugural season 1995
Replaced by National Rugby League
Number of teams10
CountryFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Broadcast partner Nine Network
C7 Sport

During the Super League war of the mid-1990s the ARL also administered Australia's club premiership. Although they only won one ARL premiership in 1996, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles dominated the competition in its three years under the ARL name, winning each minor premiership (1995-1997), and appearing in all three Grand Finals.

SeasonGrand Final InformationMinor Premiers
1995 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown 17–4 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1996 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 20–8 St. George colours.svg St. George Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah
1997 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 22–16 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah

ARL Development

ARL Development is a non-profit company that was formed by the ARL to develop the sport from an introductory level to the age of 18 years. In achieving this, ARL Development has developed new modified codes that gradually introduce children to rugby league. This is done by restricting the rules and then gradually releasing these restrictions.

The two introductory modified codes currently in use are mini footy and mod league . On completion of mod league, players make a move to full international rugby league laws.

Ownership of ARL Development was transferred to the Australian Rugby League Commission in 2012.

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National Rugby League Australasian rugby league football competition

The National Rugby League (NRL) is Australia's top-level domestic men's rugby league club competition. It contains clubs from the original Sydney club Rugby League competition, which had been 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 (ARL) 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.

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Winfield Cup

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  1. ARL (2008). "Australian Rugby Football League 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Australian Rugby Football League Limited. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  2. New contract for Gallop as commission prepares to take the reins, 9 February 2012
  3. P. Dorian Owen; Clayton R. Weatherston (December 2002). "Professionalization of New Zealand Rugby Union: Historical Background, Structural Changes and Competitive Balance" (PDF). Economics Discussion Papers No. 0214. University of Otago. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2009.