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Introduction

An attacking player attempts to evade two defenders

Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.

In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team's goal line; this is called a try, and is the primary method of scoring. The opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball. In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals. After each try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points. Kicks at goal may also be awarded for penalties, and field goals can be attempted at any time.

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The Adelaide Rams were an Australian professional rugby league football club based in Adelaide, South Australia. The team was formed in 1995 for the planned rebel Super League competition, which eventually ran parallel to the rival Australian Rugby League (ARL) competition in 1997. The Rams lasted two seasons, the first in the Super League competition in 1997 and the second in the first season of the National Rugby League (NRL) in 1998. The Rams were not a successful club, winning only 13 out of 42 games. However crowd numbers in the first season were the fifth highest of any first-grade club that year, but dwindled to sixteenth in the second season. The Adelaide club was shut down at the end of the 1998 season as a result of poor on-field performances, dwindling crowd numbers, financial losses and a reduction in the number of teams in the NRL. They remain the only team from the state of South Australia to have participated in top-level rugby league in Australia.


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Batley and St Helens pose before the 1897 Final
Credit: Unknown

The first ever Challenge Cup Final in 1897. Batley are on the left, St Helens are on the right, the Challenge Cup trophy is in the centre. The match was played at Headingley Stadium, Leeds in front of a crowd of 13,492. Batley won the match 10-3.

Did you know...

Did you know that the most tries ever scored in a match by an individual is 11. This occurred on 4 March 1905 by George West (Hull Kingston Rovers) v Brookland Rovers.


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In south west Lancashire babes don't toddle, they side-step. Queuing women talk of 'nipping round the blindside'. Rugby league provides our cultural adrenalin. It's a physical manifestation of our rules of life, comradeship, honest endeavour, and a staunch, often ponderous, allegiance to fair-play.
Colin Welland, writer
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Major competitions

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History of St Helens RLFC, St Helens RLFC was a founder member of the Northern Rugby Football Union in the Great Schism of 1895. They played in the first ever Challenge Cup Final in 1897 and have since been winners of the competition on 12 occasions...


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