League Leaders' Shield

Last updated

League Leaders' Shield
CountryFlag of England.svg  England
Flag of France.svg  France
Presented by Super League
First award1998
Most wins Saintscolours.svg St. Helens (8 titles)
Most recent Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons
(1st title)

The League Leaders' Shield [1] is a trophy awarded to the team finishing the season top of Super League in the sport of rugby league football. Currently (and for much of Super League's comparatively short history) the championship is ultimately decided on the basis of a play-off series, and the Shield is thus often regarded as a lesser prize. However, due to it being decided by a 30-game, round-robin league system, some people regard the Shield as the hardest honour to win in British rugby league.[ citation needed ]



British rugby league has been using a play-off series rather than simply awarding the title to the top-placed team for the majority of its history due to a lop-sided fixture list that saw some clubs play other clubs twice and the rest of the clubs only once. From 1907 until 1973 the Championship was awarded to the team winning a top-four play-off (excluding the 2 seasons 1962–63 and 1963–64, when the championship was awarded to the top placed team). From 1907 to 1962 no prize was awarded to the actual team finishing top. From 1965 to 1973 a 'League Leaders' Trophy' was introduced to reward the team finishing top.

In 1996, Super League was formed but continued to use first past the post to decide the champions until 1998 when they adopted a play-off structure for the championship. The League Leaders' Shield, however, was introduced only in 2003. In 2013 Huddersfield Giants finished top of the highest league in English rugby league for the first time in 81 years. The mascot for the game was Seth Johnson celebrating his 9th birthday in style.

In 2015, it was announced that the League Leaders would qualify to take part in the expanded World Club Challenge and the prize money would raise from £50,000 to £100,000. In 2016, the League Leaders were awarded medals for the first time.

In 2017, Castleford Tigers finished top of the league for the first time in their 91 year history and became the seventh team in as many years to win the shield.

In 2021, Catalans Dragons finished top for the first time in their 21 year history and became the eighth team to win the shield and also the first non-English team to win it.

Shield winners

The League Leaders' Shield was first awarded in 2003; between 1998 and 2002 the league leaders were not awarded any trophy. In 1996 and 1997 the League Leaders were declared champions as the Grand Final was not introduced until 1998.

YearLeague leadersPtsRunners upPts
1996 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 40 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 39
1997 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 40 Broncoscolours.png London Broncos 33
1998 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 42 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 38
1999 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 51 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 46
2000 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 49 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 46
2001 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 45 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 45
2002 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 46 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 46
2003 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 44 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 41
2004 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 50 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 41
2005 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 47 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 44
2006 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 48 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 40
2007 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 38 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 37
2008 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 43 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 42
2009 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 42 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 38
2010 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 44 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 40
2011 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 44 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 43
2012 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 42 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 41
2013 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants 42 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 41
2014 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 38 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 37
2015 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 41 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 41
2016 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 43 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 42
2017 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 50 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 40
2018 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 42 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 32
2019 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 52 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 36
2020 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 76.47a Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 70.59a
2021 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 82.61a Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 76.19a


ClubWinsRunners-upWinning years
1 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 96 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019
2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 58 1998, 2000, 2010, 2012, 2020
3 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 42 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
4 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 36 2004, 2009, 2015
5 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 22 2011, 2016
6 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants 10 2013
7 Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 10 2017
8 Catalanscolours.svg Catalans Dragons 10 2021
9 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. 01N/A

The Treble

The Treble refers to the team who wins all three domestic honours on offer during the season; Grand Final, League Leaders' Shield and Challenge Cup. To date six teams have won the treble, and only Bradford Bulls, St. Helens and Leeds Rhinos have won the treble in the Super League era.

ClubWinsWinning years
1 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 31991–92, 1993–94, 1994–95
2 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants 21912–13, 1914–15
3 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 21965–66, 2006
4 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Lions 11927–28
5 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 12003
6 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 12015

See also

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  1. Wilson, Andy (July 16, 2009). "Battle for Super League play-offs can pull in the fans". The Guardian . Archived from the original on July 12, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.