Widnes Vikings

Last updated

Widnes Vikings
Widnes Vikings logo.svg
Club information
Full nameWidnes Vikings Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s)The Chemics
The Vikings
Short nameWidnes Vikings
Colours Widnes colours.svg White and Black
Founded1875;146 years ago (1875)
Website widnesvikings.co.uk
Current details
ChairmanChris Price
Coach Simon Finnigan
Captain Jack Owens
Competition Betfred Championship
2019 season 11th
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Kit left arm black hoops.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body blackhoops.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm black hoops.png
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts whitesides.png
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks hoops black.png
Kit socks long.svg
Home colours
Kit left arm whiteborder.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body thinwhitesides.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm whiteborder.png
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Kit socks long.svg
Away colours
Championships 3 (1978, 1988, 1989)
Challenge Cups 7 (1930, 1937, 1964, 1975, 1979, 1981, 1984)
Other top-tier honours [1] 20
Most capped591 - Keith Elwell
Highest points scorer2,195 - Ray Dutton

The Widnes Vikings are an English rugby league club in Widnes, Cheshire, which competes in the RFL Championship. The club plays home matches at the Halton Stadium. Founded as Widnes Football Club, they are one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895. Their historic nickname is "The Chemics" after the main industry in Widnes, but now they use their modern nickname, "The Vikings".


The club enjoyed a period of success in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, and were frequently described as "Cup Kings" reaching the Challenge Cup Final 7 times in 10 years between 1975 and 1984. In 1989, after winning their third Rugby League Premiership, Widnes became the first official World Club Champions by beating the Australian champions Canberra Raiders 30–18 at Old Trafford. They have a strong local rivalry with Warrington Wolves.


Early years

A newspaper extract from the Widnes Guardian in 1875 announcing the formation of Farnworth & Appleton Football Club. F&A Guardian 1875 extract.jpg
A newspaper extract from the Widnes Guardian in 1875 announcing the formation of Farnworth & Appleton Football Club.

The Farnworth & Appleton Cricket Club was formed in 1871 and four years later the members decided to embrace the burgeoning football code. At their fourth annual evening party in the Drill Hall, Widnes, in November 1875, club Chairman Henry Lea "gave a short account of the club since it commenced about four years ago, and indicated that they had now started a football club in connexion (sic) with it, and hoped all would join". The first known game for the new Farnworth and Appleton FC was in Widnes in January 1876 played under rugby rules against Northwich Victoria. A few weeks later a return match was played at Drill Field, Northwich under soccer rules. Vics won both games. These are the only two known fixtures in that truncated first season.

By May 1876 the club had changed its name to Widnes FC and the cricket side of the organisation had disbanded, presumably to concentrate on football activities. By the late 1870s the club was being referred to as "The Chemicals"—subsequently shortened to 'The Chemics'.

The first ground was on Albert Road behind what is now the Premier Wetherspoon's pub and a short spell followed in the Simms Cross area. From around 1878–84 the club were based at the junction of Millfield/Peelhouse Lane, apart from season 1880–81 when they played on the Widnes Cricket Club ground at Lowerhouse Lane. From 1884–95 they rented a field at Lowerhouse Lane before moving to their third separate site on that road in October 1895. The first ever game at what later became Naughton Park was against Liversedge on Saturday 12 October 1895.

In 1895, Widnes were founder members of the Northern Union which broke away from the Rugby Football Union. Their first game was an away fixture against Runcorn which they lost 15–4. During the early years, the club often had to sell players to balance the books. The strength of junior rugby league in the area meant the club had a steady stream of new players to offset any losses.

In 1902, the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues were combined to form a second division, Widnes was added to the first division.

In 1914, Arthur 'Chick' Johnson was capped for the Lions (captained by Harold Wagstaff) in the famous Rorke's Drift test, a match in which they overcame all the odds, and injuries to beat Australia with a depleted side of 10 against 13. He scored an extraordinary try to win the game, dribbling the ball from inside his own half. Widnes closed for the 1915–16 season but recommenced playing in 1916 following the introduction of conscription which meant that would not be accused of keeping men from volunteering for the First World War. Thirteen Widnes players were killed during the conflict.

The club's first ever success came when they won the Lancashire League trophy in the 1919–20 season. However, the 1920s saw the club almost go to the wall. Local rivals Warrington donated their share of the traditional Easter and Christmas derby matches to keep Widnes afloat in 1927–28.

In 1930, Widnes with 12 local-born players defied the odds to beat St. Helens 10–3 to bring home the Challenge Cup. [2]

The Kingsway housing scheme threatened the loss of Widnes' ground. After several years of fundraising during the Great Depression of the 1930s, £3,250 was raised to save the ground. This came with a stipulation that the ground could be sold only to the local council at the original price. The newly named Naughton Park was opened in 1932.

A major boost for the club was Widnes' first ever trip to the Challenge Cup final, staged at Wembley. Their opponents were St. Helens, Saints scored after six minutes to take a 3–0 lead, but Widnes hit back with a penalty try, a further try and a penalty to take a 10–3 half-time lead. A scoreless second half meant Widnes had won the cup.

Widnes became the first club to make two trips to Wembley, with a loss to Hunslet in the 1934 cup final.

In 1935–36, the team came close to being rugby league champions. Having finished third in the table, Widnes beat Liverpool 10–9 but lost to Hull FC, in the championship final. A third trip to Wembley came in 1937, with an 18–5 win over Keighley. The final was dubbed "McCue's Match" as the halfback played an important part in the win.

Widnes dropped out of the wartime Lancashire league in 1940–41 and did not return to league competition until 1945–46.

Post war

Tommy McCue led the club to its first ever Lancashire County Cup win, with a 7–3 victory against Wigan in 1945.

Back at Wembley in 1950, the team was beaten 19–0 by Warrington. During this period, the club reverted to selling its players to richer teams.

Local man Vince Karalius joined Widnes from St. Helens in 1962 and was appointed club captain. In his first season, Widnes finished third in the Championship, which equalled the club's best league placing. In 1962, the league was split into East and West of the Pennines; Widnes and Workington Town met at Central Park, Wigan, in the first final of the Western Division Championship on Saturday 10 November 1962. With two minutes remaining, Lowdon dropped a goal to earn Workington a 9–9 draw. Later in the month Workington Town won the replay 10–0.

The following season saw him lead his team to Wembley, where Widnes were Rugby League Challenge Cup winners after they defeated Hull Kingston Rovers 13–5. No team had ever played more games in reaching Wembley than Widnes in 1964. In the first round, two replays were necessary before beating Leigh. Liverpool City were beaten in the second round, then Widnes played Swinton in front of 19,000 at Naughton Park. A 5–5 draw meant another replay, which was a scoreless draw at Station Road. A second replay at Wigan was watched by 21,369 with Widnes winning 15–3. The semi-final against Castleford was drawn 7–7. A crowd of 28,732 spectators watched the replay, which Widnes won. A Wembley crowd of 84,488 saw Widnes win the Challenge Cup for the third time with a 13–5 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers. This was the Chemics first trophy success in eighteen years.

The "Cup Kings"

The 1970s saw the first really outstanding Widnes team. A host of young local players developed into the "Cup Kings", a golden age for the club. The first cup-final was a loss in the 1971–72 Lancashire County Cup.

Six years after he retired from playing Vince Karalius returned to Widnes as coach; appointed in January 1972. The following two seasons, Widnes reached the finals of the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy. The first success came in the 1975 Lancashire Cup which Widnes won by beating Salford that season. They also won the 1975 Challenge Cup final 14–7 versus Warrington at Wembley. This was the first time in their history that Widnes had won two trophies in the same season. At his zenith, Karalius, stepped down once from his role as coach. He was replaced in May 1975 by Frank Myler.

Widnes visited Wembley in the following two seasons, losing to St. Helens and then Leeds. However, this was made up for by victories in the Lancashire County Cup and John Player Trophy. The season after this (1977–78) saw their first league championship. The team went through the season unbeaten at home in the league. There were also trips to the John Player and Premiership finals.

Keith Elwell began his run of 242 consecutive appearances at Wembley in the 1976–77 Challenge Cup Final, including two as a substitute. He finished his run at Hull F.C. on 26 September 1982. This record for consecutive appearances for one club stands to this day.

Doug Laughton took over the job of team coach when Frank Myler retired from the position in 1978. The 1978–79 season saw no less than four cups come to Widnes—the BBC2 floodlit trophy, Lancashire Cup, Premiership and a win at Wembley over Wakefield Trinity in front of a crowd of 93,218. Widnes also defeated the Ashes-winning 1978 Kangaroo tourists.

The 1979–80 season saw Widnes beat Bradford Northern in the Premiership final, but come second to them in the league and John Player Trophy. The Lancashire Cup was won for the fifth time in the 1970s.

The 1980s started with a Wembley win over Hull Kingston Rovers in 1980–81. The season after this, Widnes again returned to Wembley, to face Hull F.C. Widnes led 14–6 with less than 20 minutes to go, but the game finished 14–14 and Hull won the replay 18–9 at Elland Road, Leeds. Widnes kept their record of winning a cup every season by defeating Hull 23–8 in the Premiership final. The next season saw Hull again beaten by Widnes in the Premiership final.

Vince Karalius returned to the club in March 1983 as co-coach with Harry Dawson. Dawson quit as coach in March 1984 with Karalius continuing as team manager. Karalius led a strong Widnes side to the finals of the Lancashire Cup and John Player Trophy and another Wembley victory appearance 19–6 against Wigan.

Doug Laughton returned to the club in January 1986 and began a series of signings of players from other league clubs and from rugby union. One such player was Martin Offiah, who in 1987–88 scored a club record 42 tries. The team went on to win the championship that season, clinching it with a 50-point win away over Hunslet. Widnes then beat St. Helens in the Premiership Final at Old Trafford, Manchester a game in which Alan Tait made his début.

The 1988–89 season saw the club sign rugby union star Jonathan Davies from Llanelli for £225,000. Wigan were beaten in the Charity Shield but had their revenge in the Regal Trophy Final. The Championship came down to the last game of the season, a capacity crowd at Naughton Park saw Widnes beat Wigan 32–18 to win the title for the second year running. The Premiership was won again, with over 40,000 at Old Trafford to see Widnes beat Hull 18–10.

The 1989–90 season saw Widnes play at Anfield, Liverpool beating Wigan 27–22. A trip to France to play Le Pontet saw Widnes chosen as the Northern Hemisphere representatives to meet Australia's Grand Final winners. Canberra took a 12–0 lead but were then swept aside as Widnes stormed home 30–18 to become the first official World Club Champions.

However, financial problems riddled the club in the early 1990s. To balance the books, over 25 first team players were sold to other teams. This resulted in the club sinking to 12th in the division one table, avoiding relegation.

Myler became coach of Widnes in May 1994. In August 1995 the club decided to bring back Doug Laughton for a third stint as team manager which resulted in Myler's sacking as coach. [3]

Summer era

In 1996, the first tier of British rugby league clubs played the inaugural Super League season and changed from a winter to a summer season. [4] When the RFL announced that a new 12-team Super League was to be formed a chaotic period ensued in which the club was out, then in, then out, then in merged with local rivals Warrington and then finally out again as they finished below the cut-off point of 10th in the existing top flight.

The club adopted the name Widnes Vikings on 27 November 1996; the club had originally intended to adopt the moniker 'Warriors' but were asked to reconsider by the RFL, as Whitehaven were planning to adopt this name also. Further player and coaching departures ensued and the club struggled in the new first division, the club's first ever finish in the relegation zone followed. They spent the next five years in the Northern Ford Premiership.

Graeme West took over as coach after Doug Laughton's third stint, his reign lasted from May 1997 until August 1998. During this time, the playing arena was rebuilt and the old stands, terraces and facilities were demolished to be replaced with a state-of-the-art all-seater stadium and was also renamed from Naughton Park to the Halton Community Stadium. West was later replaced as coach by Colin Whitfield.

In 1999 Widnes narrowly missed out on a place in the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final. The 2000 season was one of transition with head coach Colin Whitfield being sacked and replaced by David Hulme. A record attendance for the newly rebuilt stadium was set at 6,644 for a Northern Ford Premiership game against Leigh on Boxing Day 2000. Widnes finished off a poor season in 8th place in the NFP.

Under new coach Neil Kelly, Widnes won promotion to Super League in 2001 after beating Oldham 24–12 in the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final. [5]

Their début season in the Super League was in 2002, and the Vikings surprised everyone by narrowly missing out on a play-off place, and finishing seventh.

The following season saw them consolidate with a 9th place finish, and in 2004 they avoided relegation on the final day of the season, with Castleford's defeat by Wakefield Trinity saving Widnes' fate. Stuart Spruce was caretaker manager.

Frank Endacott arrived at Widnes as coach in 2005, but could not improve on the previous seasons. With two teams being relegated in 2005, due to the inclusion of Catalans Dragons in Superleague from 2006 onwards, Widnes were relegated back down to the second tier of the English game (LHF National League 1).

Widnes parted company with coach Frank Endacott, and new coach Steve McCormack rebuilt the squad, which notably included Australian full back David Peachey, who kept his word to join the club, despite its relegation.

Stephen Vaughan completed a take-over of Widnes in 2006 [6] and the club made it to the LHF National League Grand Final, but were beaten 29–16 by Hull Kingston Rovers at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Stephen Vaughan quit as chairman of Widnes at the start of 2007 and stepped down from the club's board of directors, [7] placing the club's season into a 'boom or bust' scenario. Widnes won the 2007 Northern Rail Cup Final with a 54–6 victory over Whitehaven at Bloomfield Road stadium [8] and went on to reach the National League Grand Final at the end of the season. They were beaten 42–10 by Castleford at Headingley and in the days that followed, Widnes had no option but to place themselves into voluntary administration. [9]

New beginning

On 2 November 2007, Widnes were purchased by Steve O'Connor, [10] [11] a local business man who had just sold his haulage firm to the Stobart Group. Steve McCormack was re-appointed as Head Coach, [12] and the club were re-admitted into National League 1. A nine-point deduction for going into administration was successfully neutralised through winning their first three games, and Widnes qualified for the National League One Playoffs by finishing in sixth place. A 32–16 defeat by third-placed Halifax however brought the nostalgic 2008 campaign to an end.

Off the field, Widnes had applied for a Super League licence for the 2009 season along with 18 other clubs. However, the club was not granted a licence to play in the Super League, with the recent financial history of the club coming under close scrutiny. [13]

In 2009 Widnes parted company with Steve McCormack [14] and for a period John Stankevitch became caretaker manager. Paul Cullen was unveiled as McCormack's eventual successor [15] and managed the club to victory in the seasons Northern Rail Cup Final, beating a strong Barrow Raiders side 34–18. [16]

In the following season, Widnes again reached the Northern Rail Cup Final but were beaten 25–24 by Batley Bulldogs. The club also reached the 2010 Co-operative Championship playoffs but were knocked out in the opening round by Barrow Raiders.

Return to Super League

In 2011 Widnes were granted a Super League licence for the 2012–14 seasons and Denis Betts was confirmed as the man who would coach the club. A flourish of new signings were announced and the pioneering 'Viking Stronghold' initiative moved from strength to strength. Widnes also installed a fourth generation artificial pitch (or ipitch as it became known) during the off season, making them the first team in modern day rugby league to not play on a traditional grass pitch. Widnes' tenancy in the Co-operative Championship culminated in September 2011 with a fifth place league finish, and a first round playoff defeat of 36–20 by Sheffield Eagles at Bramall Lane.

February 2012 saw Widnes' re-emergence into the top tier of rugby league, and they claimed their first two points against Wigan Warriors in a 37–36 win. The club managed to prove a number of critics wrong by gaining 12 points in total by the end of their first season back, but this was not enough to prevent the club from finishing at the bottom of the Super League table.

The 2013 season saw a marked improvement on the field by Widnes, with the team earning a total of 22 league points and finishing 10th in the Super League table.

The 2014 season proved to be the most successful season of the franchise period, with the club finishing eighth in the Super League table on 27 points and subsequently qualifying for the end of season play-offs for the first time in their history. A 22–19 away defeat by the Warrington Wolves brought the curtain down on a season that can only be seen as a success for the Vikings, with a Challenge Cup Semi-Final appearance against the Castleford being the key highlight. However, it was also during the 2014 season that the club received the news that "legendary supporter" [17] Pat Price had died and condolences for 'the first lady of Rugby League' were received from clubs and supporters throughout the sport.

The RFL overhauled Super League for the 2015 season, scrapping the Franchise System [18] and re-adopted promotion & relegation. Widnes finished in 9th position on 19 points, and then went on to consolidate their Super League status in the Middle 8's. [19]

The 2016 season saw the Vikings put together a number of early exciting performances, including defeating the previous season's champions Leeds Rhinos 56–12. This placed Widnes top of the Super League table, heading into the Easter fixtures. Before the start of the 2017 Widnes sold their inspirational captain and best player to their bitter rivals Warrington Wolves. This move was completed whilst Brown was still in contract and despite warnings from fans was the beginning of the end for Widnes as a potential mid table team.

In 2017 the team finished bottom but avoided relegation by beating Catalans Dragons and the Million Pound Game. The lack of ambition of the club was now available for everybody to see with Chairman Steven O’Connor washing his hands of the club and moving to Australia in order to pursue further business projects. This was done without O’Connor fulfilling his promise to the club and town that the club would not be entering Super League to “Make up the numbers”. The current board headed by James Rule failed to heed the mistakes of the 2017 season and further recruitment to the squad was extremely poor. This lack of ambition and value for money has resulted in fans walking away from the club in their droves.

Relegation and financial problems

The 2018 season continued as the previous one with few quality signings and a team no longer good enough to compete in Super League. The club lost nineteen games in a row, which led to coach Denis Betts being dismissed with Francis Cummins taking interim charge; however, he could not prevent the club from falling into the Championship. On 1 February 2019, CEO James Rule resigned because the club faced significant financial challenges as a result of relegation. Speculation about the future of the club began to mount following a significant silence by the club's then chairman, Steve O’Connor. [20]

The club went into administration on 22 February 2019 after a take-over bid failed; as a result of this development the Rugby Football League imposed a 12-point penalty on the club and their upcoming game against Sheffield was postponed. [21] Following a fundraising campaign called "Vikings Quids In", supported by fans and other rugby league clubs, over £100,000 was raised. On 1 March 2019, the RFL accepted a takeover by a seven-strong consortium registered as Widnes Rugby League Club Limited, however the 12 point deduction remained in place leaving the club on minus 8 points. An investigation has begun to establish where large amounts of sponsorship and other funds have gone whilst the previous board were in charge. This may result in criminal proceedings against those responsible if any wrongdoing is discovered. [22]

Vikings Resurgence

In March 2019 after narrowly escaping liquidation, Thanks in large part to crowdfunding pages setup by the remaining Widnes Vikings fans. [23] Newly appointed Head Coach Kieron Purtill has been leading the boys in a moderately successful streak of wins, culminating in reaching the finals of the 2019 RFL 1895 Cup against Sheffield Eagles.


The club's home ground is Halton Stadium. The club had a number of grounds before settling at Lowerhouse Lane in 1895. The death of the club's secretary, Tom Naughton in 1932, led to the ground on Lowerhouse Lane being renamed Naughton Park as a gesture of the team's appreciation. Naughton Park became one of the best known Rugby League grounds in the country due to the success of the 'Chemics' in the 1970s, and 1980s. In the 1990s Halton Council in partnership with the Widnes agreed to build a new stadium on the existing site, which would provide a multi-purpose complex including a social club, conference facilities, recreational facilities and catering/function facilities and would be the new home venue for Widnes RLFC. The new stadium was officially opened on 2 November 1997 following the completion of phase 1 of a multimillion-pound redevelopment and was renamed the Halton Community Stadium. On 29 January 1999 Halton Borough Council took over responsibility for the entire stadium, both financially and managerially. This was necessary as the joint venture companies arrangements were not performing as expected. The stadium reached completion with the opening of the East Stand in September 2005 and is an all-seater stadium which has a capacity of 13,500. It has also had the honour to have staged national finals and international fixtures. In August 2011, the stadium turf was removed and replaced with a third generation artificial pitch (or ipitch as it became known), in order to improve overall match performance and maximize the use of the club's facilities. The stadium's name has changed a number of times due to sponsorship purposes, with the latest name being the DCBL Stadium.

Club jerseys

YearHome DesignAway DesignKit ManufacturerMain Jersey Sponsor
2002White with Black TrimBlue, White & Red Kooga Peel
2003White with Black TrimBlack with White Trim Finnforest
2004White with Black sleeve & Red TrimBlack with Purple Trim
2005White with Black & Red TrimGrey
2006White with Black TrimBlack with White TrimLiverpool Capital of Culture 08
2007White with Black TrimRed with Black Trim
2008Black with White TrimWhite with Red Trim Nike Stobart
2009White with Black TrimFluorescent Yellow with Black Trim O'Neills
2010White with Black Trim and Red StripeGold with Black Trim
2011WhiteGrey with Orange Trim
2012White with Black V & Black TrimRed with White Trim
2013Kit 1: White with Black V Kit 2: Black with White VMaltacourt Purple, Orange & Yellow
2014Black and White HoopsLight Blue with Dark Blue sashMaltacourt
2015White with thin, black & Green "V"Black with pink hoopsThe Parcel Centre (Home) / Electrod UK (Away)
2016Black with Grey tribal designsWhiteSelect Security
2017White with Black from the Chest to neckGreen, Grey, Black, Red stripesPlayCasinoGames.Com
2018Black shoulders fade into Black & White stripesLight Blue shoulders fade into WhiteBeat the scrum
2019All Black with White CollarCanberra Raiders Green XBlades

Historic Jerseys

Prior to the over-commercialization of the sport and the changing of kit design on a yearly basis, Widnes traditionally wore a black and white hooped jersey with white shorts. However, throughout there most dominant period of the 1970s, the club actually wore an all white jersey with 3/4 length sleeves and black shorts. It is quite common for fans to desire the club to return to one of these two jerseys. In addition, historically the club played in red when away from home.

2021 squad

2021 Widnes Vikings Squad
First team squadCoaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coach

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 10 February 2021
Source(s): 2021 Squad Numbers

2021 transfers


Flag of England.svg Matt Cook Castleford Tigers 1 YearAugust 2020
Flag of England.svg Lee Jewitt Hull KR 1 YearAugust 2020
Flag of England.svg Steve Tyrer Halifax Panthers 1 YearAugust 2020
Flag of England.svg Paul Clough Huddersfield Giants 1 YearAugust 2020
Flag of England.svg Adam Lawton Newcastle Thunder 1 YearDecember 2020


Flag of England.svg Liam Cooper Whitehaven RLFC 1 YearSeptember 2020
Flag of New Zealand.svg Macgraff Leuluai ReleasedN/AOctober 2020
Flag of England.svg Jack Johnson Newcastle Thunder 1 YearNovember 2020
Flag of England.svg Sam Wilde Newcastle Thunder 1 YearNovember 2020
Flag of England.svg Ted Chapelhow Newcastle Thunder 1 YearDecember 2020
Flag of England.svg Jay Chapelhow Newcastle Thunder 1 YearDecember 2020
Flag of England.svg Pat Moran SO Avignon 1 YearJanuary 2021


Club captains

YearCaptainVice CaptainLeague
2005 Flag of England.svg Terry O'Connor Flag of Australia (converted).svg Shane Millard Super League X
2006 Flag of England.svg Mark Smith National League One
2007 Flag of England.svg Mark Smith Four Provinces Flag.svg Bob Beswick National League One
2008 Co-operative Championship
2009 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Jim Gannon Co-operative Championship
2010 Four Provinces Flag.svg Dave Allen Co-operative Championship
2011 Four Provinces Flag.svg Simon Finnigan Flag of England.svg Chaz I'Anson Co-operative Championship
2012 Flag of England.svg Jon Clarke Flag of England.svg Shaun Briscoe Super League XVII
2013 Flag of England.svg Kevin Brown Super League XVIII
2014 Super League XIX
2015 Flag of England.svg Kevin Brown Flag of England.svg Joe Mellor Super League XX
2016 Super League XIX
2017 Flag of England.svg Joe Mellor Flag of Australia (converted).svg Rhys Hanbury Super League XXII
2018 Super League XXIII
2019 Flag of New Zealand.svg Hep Cahill Flag of New Zealand.svg Anthony Gelling Betfred Championship


Coaching register – since 1972


Super League era

SeasonLeague Play-offs Challenge Cup Other competitionsNameTriesNamePoints
DivisionPWDLFAPDPtsPosTop try scorerTop point scorer
1996 Division One 209110413447-34197thSF
1997 Division One 206014282579-2971210thR5
1998 Division One 309120601862-261199thR4
1999 Northern Ford Premiership 282107792415+377423rdLost in Preliminary FinalQF
2000 Northern Ford Premiership 2817011698483+215348thR4
2001 Northern Ford Premiership 282116961377+584432ndWon in FinalR4
2002 Super League 2814113590716-126297thR5
2003 Super League 2812115640727-87259thQF
2004 Super League 287021466850-3841411thR4
2005 Super League 2861215981048-4501311thQF
2006 National League One 181404729449+280282ndLost in FinalR4
2007 National League One 181602740220+520502ndLost in FinalR5 Championship Cup W
2008 National League One 181026453410+43306thR5
2009 Championship 201109649438+211394thLost in Semi FinalR4 Championship Cup W
2010 Championship 201109619488+131385thLost in Elimination PlayoffsR5 Championship Cup RU
2011 Championship 201118555532+23385th [lower-alpha 1] Lost in Elimination PlayoffsR5
2012 Super League 2760215321082-5501214thR4
2013 Super League 2710215695841-1462210thQF
2014 Super League 2713113611725-114278thLost in Elimination PlayoffsSF
2015 Super League 239113518565-47199thQF
The Qualifiers750223270+162102nd
2016 Super League 3012018603643-40247thQF
2017 Super League 235117359632-2731112thR6
The Qualifiers750218896+92102nd
2018 Super League 233020387653-266612thR6
The Qualifiers710692173-8127th
2019 Championship 2714013646586+601611thR6 1895 Cup RU
2020 Championship [lower-alpha 2] 530312893+3565thR6
2021 Championship 00000000TBA


Major titles

CompetitionWinsYears won
RFL Championship / Super League 31977–78, 1987–88, 1988–89
Challenge Cup 71929–30, 1936–37, 1963–64, 1974–75, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1983–84

Other titles

CompetitionWinsYears won
BBC2 Floodlit Trophy 11978–79
Championship Cup 22007, 2009
Charity Shield 31988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91
League Cup 31975–76, 1978–79, 1991–92
Premiership 61979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90
RFL Lancashire Cup 71945–46, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1990–91
RFL Lancashire League 11919–20
World Club Challenge 11989


Player records

100+ tries

150+ goals

Team records


  1. Promoted through licensing
  2. The 2020 Championship was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. Statistics shown are those at time of abandonment and are not official.

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Frank Myler was an English former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and coached in the 1970s and 1980s. A Great Britain and England national representative centre or stand-off, he played at club level for Widnes and St. Helens, and also captained and coached Great Britain.

The Super League (SL), sponsored as the Betfred Super League is the top-level of the British rugby league system. The league currently has twelve teams, eleven of which are from Northern England, reflecting the sport's geographic popularity within the UK. The final team is Catalans Dragons, from southern France.

Anthony Karalius was an English professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He played at representative level for Great Britain, and at club level for Widnes, St Helens, Wigan, Fulham RLFC and the Cardiff City Blue Dragons, as a hooker during the era of contested scrums.

Anthony "Tony" Myler is an English former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s who also became a coach. A Great Britain international representative stand-off, he played club football in England for Widnes, with whom he won the Premiership during the 1982–83 season, as well as a stint in Australia with the Balmain Tigers. Tony Myler is the brother of the rugby league footballer John Myler and the uncle of Stephen Myler

The 1960–61 Northern Rugby Football League season was the 66th season of rugby league football.

The 1963–64 Northern Rugby Football League season was the 69th season of rugby league football.

The 1974–75 Rugby Football League season was the 80th season of competition between the clubs of England's Northern Rugby Football League. The season's First Division Championship featured 16 clubs and was won by St. Helens. The Challenge Cup was won by Widnes.

The 1977–78 Northern Rugby Football League season was the 83rd season of rugby league football. Sixteen English clubs competed for the Northern Rugby Football League Championship with Widnes claiming the title by finishing the season on top of the League.

The 1978–79 Northern Rugby Football League season was the 84th season of rugby league football. Sixteen English clubs competed for the Northern Rugby Football League's first division championship, with Hull Kingston Rovers claiming the title by finishing on top of the League.

The Widnes Vikings competed in the Co-operative Championship in 2010. Widnes were the defending 2010 National League Cup champions after they won the competition in 2009.

Runcorn RFC was a rugby league club. They joined the Northern Union in 1895, just several days after it was founded, and played in the league from 1895–96 to 1917–18.

1936–37 was the twenty-ninth occasion on which the Lancashire Cup completion had been held.
Salford won the trophy by beating Wigan by 5-2
The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington, now in the County Palatine of Chester but (historically in the county of Lancashire. The attendance was 17,500 and receipts were £1,160.
This was the third of the three consecutive Lancashire Cup finals in which Salford would beat Wigan

The 2016 Challenge Cup Final was the 115th cup-deciding game of the rugby league 2016 Challenge Cup Season. It was held at Wembley Stadium in London on 27 August 2016, kick off 15:00. The final was contested by Hull F.C. and Warrington Wolves. The game saw Hull F.C. beat Warrington by 12 points to 10.

The 2020 Challenge Cup known as the Coral Challenge Cup for sponsorship reasons, was the 119th staging of the Challenge Cup, the main rugby league knockout tournament for teams in the Super League, the British national leagues and a number of invited amateur clubs.


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