Super League I

Last updated
Super League I
League Super League
Duration22 Rounds
Highest attendance20,429
Wigan vs St. Helens (21 June)
Lowest attendance1,400
Workington Town vs London Broncos (23 June)
(average 6,571)
Broadcast partners Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Sky Sports
1996 Season
Champions Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1st Super League title
8th English title
Premiership winners Wigancolours.svg Wigan
Man of Steel Wigancolours.svg Andrew Farrell
Top point-scorer(s) Saintscolours.svg Bobbie Goulding (257)
Top try-scorer(s) Saintscolours.svg Paul Newlove (28)
Promotion and relegation
Promoted from First Division Redscolours.svg Salford Reds
Relegated to First Division Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town

The year 1996's Stones Bitter Super League I was the official name for the 102nd season of top-level rugby league football, and the first year of Europe's new championship: Super League. It is also the first season of rugby league to be played in summer. [1] The competition featured all eleven teams from the 1995–96 Rugby Football League season plus one expansion club, Paris Saint-Germain.



Twelve teams were selected to play in the inaugural Super League season.

 Reigning Champions
 Challenge Cup Holders
 Promoted/ New franchise
Team1995-96 positionStadiumCapacityCity/Area
Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 7th Odsal 27,000Bradford, West Yorkshire
Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 6th Wheldon Road 11,750Castleford, West Yorkshire
Faxcolours.svg Halifax Blue Sox 3rd Thrum Hall 9,832Halifax, West Yorkshire
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 2nd Headingley 21,500Leeds, West Yorkshire
Broncoscolours.png London Broncos 10th The Valley 27,000Charlton, Greater London
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Bears 8th Watersheddings 9,000Oldham, Greater Manchester
France colours.svg Paris Saint-Germain N/A Sébastien Charléty Stadium 20,000Paris, France
Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles 5th Don Valley Stadium 25,000Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 4th Knowsley Road 17,500St Helens, Mersyside
Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 9th Wilderspool 9,200Warrington, Cheshire
D* Wigancolours.svg Wigan 1st Central Park 18,000Wigan, Greater Manchester
Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 11th Derwent Park 10,000Workington, Cumbria

Operational rules

Player numbering:

Rules to ensure the sustainability of Super League clubs were introduced:

To protect global Super League interests:

Rule changes

Four new rules were introduced for the inaugural Super League season:

In an attempt to "clean up" the ruck:


On 29 March 1996, Super League kicked off in Paris before 17,873 people at the Charlety Stadium when new team Paris Saint Germain overcame Sheffield Eagles 30-24. [5] Jacques Fouroux, the PSG president, described that night, "Ninety eight per cent of them [the crowd] were new to the game, but they understood it right away. They saw tries, lots of commitment and lots of movement. They saw beauty. They attended a great party." [5]

The reigning champions Wigan were hoping to maintain their hold on the championship in the newly formed Super League. However, at the end of the season St. Helens were crowned inaugural Super League champions after a win over Warrington Wolves at Knowsley Road, finishing in first position on the league ladder. [6] During the year a secondary title, known as the Premiership was also played, with the final being contested between Wigan and the championship winners St. Helens with Wigan coming out victorious and Andy Farrell winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

Workington Town finished bottom for the second successive season and thus relegated to the first division. To date this is their only Super League season and no other club from Cumbria has competed since, Salford Reds were promoted to take their place in Super League II.

League table

1 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 222002950455+49540Champions
2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 221912902326+57639
3 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 221705767409+35834
4 Broncoscolours.png London Broncos 221219611462+14925
5 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 2212010569565+424
6 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Blue Sox 2210111667576+9121
7 Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles 2210012599730-13120
8 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Bears 229112473681-20819
9 Cascolours.png Castleford Tigers 229013548599-5118
10 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 226016555745-19012
11 France colours.svg Paris Saint-Germain 223118398795-3977
12 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 2221193251021-6965Relegated to Championship


The top four finishing teams competed in a short play-off series for the Premiership Trophy. The final was played between the Wigan and St. Helens on Sunday, 8 September at Old Trafford before a crowd of 35,013. [7] Wigan won the match 44-14 and their loose forward Andy Farrell received the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man-of-the-match.

Semifinals Final
1 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
4 Broncoscolours.png London Broncos
Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 14
Wigancolours.svg Wigan 44
2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
3 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls


The following are the top points scorers in the Super League during the 1996 season. Statistics are for league matches only. [8]

Most points

Bobbie Goulding St. Helens 51173257
John Schuster Halifax Blue Sox 81012236
Andy Farrell Wigan 51030226
Graham Holroyd Leeds 11762198
Frano Botica Castleford Tigers 5842190
Mark Aston Sheffield Eagles 2861181
Greg Barwick London Broncos 16502166
Steve McNamara Bradford Bulls 1782162
Iestyn Harris Warrington 4632144
Francis Maloney Oldham Bears 6450114

See also

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  2. Dave Hadfield (1996-02-09). "Super League adopts squad numbering". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  3. 1 2 3 Dave Hadfield (1996-01-23). "Lindsay defends the Super League revolution". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dave Hadfield (1995-12-13). "Changes usher in new ball game". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
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  6. "Super League Champions Roll of Honour". Super League Official website. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  7. "Premiership Trophy 1996". Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  8. Fletcher, Raymond; Howes, David. Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1997. London: Headline. pp. 184–5. ISBN   978-0-7472-7764-4.