Hooker is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Usually wearing jersey or shirt number 9, the hooker is one of the team's forwards. During scrums the hooker plays in the front row, and the position's name comes from their role of 'hooking' or 'raking' the ball back with the foot.For this reason the hooker is sometimes referred to in Australia as the rake. Hookers have a great deal of contact with the ball, as they usually play the role of acting halfback or dummy half, picking the ball up from the play-the-ball that follows a tackle. Hookers therefore have much responsibility in that they then decide what to do with the ball, whether that be to pass it (and to whom), run with it, or occasionally to kick it. Therefore, together with the two halves and fullback, hooker is one of the four key positions that make up what is sometimes called a team's 'spine'. A trend of halves converting into hookers followed the introduction of the 10 metre rule, and many players have switched between these positions in their careers such as Geoff Toovey, Andrew Johns, Craig Gower and Peter Wallace.
The laws of rugby league state that the hooker is to be numbered 9.However, in some leagues, such as Super League, players can wear shirt numbers which do not have to conform to this system.
One book published in 1996 stated that in senior rugby league, the hooker and stand-off/five-eighth handled the ball more often than any other position.In the 2013 NRL season the top six players with the most tackles were all hookers.
Hookers that feature in their nations' rugby league halls of fame are New Zealand's Jock Butterfield and Australia's Ken Kearney, Sandy Pearce, Cameron Smith and Noel Kelly. The most-capped British international hooker was Wales' Tommy Harris.
Rugby football is the collective name for the team sports of rugby union and rugby league.
Rugby league football, commonly known as rugby league in English-speaking countries and rugby XIII in non-Anglophone Europe and South America, and referred to colloquially as rugby, football, footy or league in its heartlands, is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field measuring 68 m (74 yd) wide and 112–122 m (122–133 yd) long with H-shaped posts at both ends. It is one of the two major codes of rugby football, the other being rugby union. It originated in 1895 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, as the result of a split from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) over the issue of payments to players. The rules of the game governed by the new Northern Rugby Football Union progressively changed from those of the RFU with the specific aim of producing a faster and more entertaining game to appeal to spectators, on whose income the new organisation and its members depended.
A scrummage, commonly known simply as a scrum, is a method of restarting play in rugby football that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball. Depending on whether it is in rugby union or rugby league, the scrum is used either after an accidental infringement or when the ball has gone out of play. Scrums occur more often, and are now of greater importance, in union than in league. Starting play from the line of scrimmage in gridiron football is derived from the scrum.
In the game of rugby union, there are 15 players on each team, comprising eight forwards and seven backs. In addition, there may be up to eight replacement players "on the bench", numbered 16–23. Players are not restricted to a single position, although they generally specialise in just one or two that suit their skills and body types. Players that play multiple positions are called "utility players".
A rugby league team consists of 13 players on the field, with 4 substitutes on the bench. Each of the 13 players is assigned a position, normally with a standardised number, which reflects their role in attack and defence, although players can take up any position at any time.
Craig Gower is an Italian-Australian former professional rugby league and rugby union footballer who played in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. He is a dual-code rugby international, having played rugby league for Australia and rugby union for Italy. A New South Wales State of Origin and Australian Kangaroos representative halfback or hooker, he played in the National Rugby League for Sydney club the Penrith Panthers. Gower then switched rugby union, playing for French Top 14 side Bayonne, and through grandparentage represented Italy. He returned to rugby league with the London Broncos in the Super League and then finished his playing career with one more National Rugby League season at the Newcastle Knights.
Five-eighth or Stand-off is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Wearing jersey number 6, this player is one of the two half backs in a team, partnering the scrum-half. Sometimes known as the pivot or second receiver, in a traditional attacking 'back-line' play, the five-eighth would receive the ball from the scrum half, who is the first receiver of the ball from the dummy-half or hooker following a tackle.
Robert Peter Farah is a former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 2000s and 2010s. An Australian international, Lebanese international and captain of New South Wales Blues team, he has played the majority of his professional career with the Wests Tigers, with whom he won the 2005 NRL Premiership. Between 2006 and 2012, Farah played for City in six City vs Country representative games, captaining the team from 2009 onwards. He played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs during the 2017 and 2018 National Rugby League seasons.
Cameron Wayne Smith is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played as a hooker, spending his entire career with the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League (NRL). He has also been an assistant coach of the Queensland rugby league team under former Melbourne teammate Billy Slater since 2022.
Geoffrey Toovey, also known by the nickname of "Toovs" or "Tooves", is the former head coach of the Bradford Bulls and former professional rugby league footballer. Toovey played halfback for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, then played as a hooker later in his career at the Northern Eagles. He played 286 first-grade matches in all, and captained Manly to the 1996 ARL premiership and the 1995 and 1997 grand finals. He played in 13 international matches for Australia between 1991 and 1998. Toovey is the former head coach of Manly-Warringah.
Peter James Wallace is a former Scotland international rugby league footballer who played for the Penrith Panthers and the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL.
Rugby league football has accrued considerable jargon to describe aspects of the game. Many terms originate in the Laws of the Game. Some aspects of the game have more than one term referring to them. Different terms have become popularly used to describe an aspect of the game in different places, with notable differences between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
In rugby union a scrum is a means of restarting play after a minor infringement. It involves up to eight players from each team, known as the pack or forward pack, binding together in three rows and interlocking with the three opposing teams front row. At this point the ball is fed into the gap between the two forward packs and they both compete for the ball to win possession. Teams can be penalised for intentionally causing the scrum to collapse, and for not putting the ball into the scrum correctly. A scrum is most commonly awarded when the ball is knocked forward, or passed forward, or when a ball becomes trapped in a ruck or maul. Because of the physical nature of scrums, injuries can occur, especially in the front row.
Noel Raymond Kelly was an Australian professional rugby league footballer and coach, who played at club, state and national levels. He was named among the country's finest footballers of the 20th century. Kelly played as a hooker, prop forward or lock for much of his top-grade career with the Western Suburbs Magpies, whom he played for in three consecutive NSWRFL grand finals from 1961 to 1963. Kelly was named at hooker of the Western Suburbs Magpies, Queensland and Australian teams of the 20th century.
Fullback is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Typically wearing jersey number 1, 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 (8-13), half backs and the three-quarter backs (2-5). 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 also referred to as the sweeper or custodian. Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a highly sought quality in fullbacks.
Ryan Hinchcliffe is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who last played for the Huddersfield Giants in the Super League, as a lock and hooker, and previously played for the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League (NRL).
The 2006 NRL Grand Final was the conclusive and premiership-deciding match of the NRL's 2006 Telstra Premiership season. It was played between the first-placed Melbourne Storm and the third-placed Brisbane Broncos clubs on the night of Sunday, 1 October. The 2006 grand final was the first ever to feature teams which were both from cities outside the borders of New South Wales, in this case the capitals of Queensland and Victoria, yet was played at the traditional venue of Sydney's Telstra Stadium. It was the first time the two sides had met in a grand final. They had played each other twice during the 2006 regular season, with Melbourne winning both times. The Melbourne side went into the grand final as heavy favorites, having won the minor premiership. Both teams were looking to keep their perfect grand final records intact: Brisbane with 5/5 and the Melbourne side with 1/1 heading into the game.
In rugby league football, the Laws of the Game are the rules governing how the sport is played. The Laws are the responsibility of the Rugby League International Federation, and cover the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of the game.
Cameron King is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played as a hooker in the 2010s.
Joel Luani is a professional rugby league footballer who last played for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the Intrust Super Premiership. He plays as a hooker and previously played for the Wests Tigers in the NRL.