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The Rugby League Premiership was a competition for British rugby league clubs that operated between 1973 and 1995. As the Super League Premiership the competition continued to operate until 1997.[1]

SportRugby league
Inaugural season1973–74
Replaced byGrand Final
Country England
Last winnersWigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors (1997)
Most titlesWidnes colours.svg Widnes (6 titles)
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors (6 titles)
QualificationWorld Club Challenge



From 1909 until 1973 (except for the period 1962–64) the Rugby Football League Championship had utilised a play-off format to determine the overall league champions. For the 1973–74 season the league was split into two divisions, and a play-off system was no longer used. In order to maintain interest towards the end of the season a new competition, the "Club Championship", was introduced to replace the championship play-offs. The Harry Sunderland Trophy, which had until then been awarded to the man-of-the-match in the championship final, would instead be awarded to the man-of-the-match in the premiership final.[2]

The first season saw 16 teams take part: the top 12 of the first division and the top four from the second division.[1] The following season saw the title change to "Premiership", and the format was altered so that only the top eight teams in the first division would compete. A similar competition was later instituted for clubs in the lower league(s). The Premiership continued to be played in this fashion until 1995–96, at the time of the switch to a summer sport, when the competition was abandoned to allow the 1996 Super League season to commence in the spring.[3]

A top-four play-off leading to a final, the Super League Premiership, was instituted as part of the Super League competition. In 1998 this was replaced by a return to a play-off for the championships, with the Harry Sunderland Trophy being the award for the Grand Final's man-of-the-match.

Premiership winnersEdit

For completeness, this table includes the 1973–74 Club Championship, and premiership winners from the Super League era.

Season Competition Winners Score Runners-up Venue
1973–74 1973–74 Club Championship   Warrington 13–12   St. Helens Central Park, Wigan
1974–75 1974–75 Premiership   Leeds 26–11   St. Helens
1975–76 1975–76 Premiership   St. Helens 15–2   Salford Station Road, Swinton
1976–77 1976–77 Premiership   St. Helens 32–20   Warrington
1977–78 1977–78 Premiership   Bradford Northern 17–8   Widnes
1978–79 1978–79 Premiership   Leeds 24–2   Bradford Northern Fartown, Huddersfield
1979–80 1979–80 Premiership   Widnes 19–5   Bradford Northern Station Road, Swinton
1980–81 1980–81 Premiership   Hull Kingston Rovers 11–7   Hull F.C. Headingley, Leeds
1981–82 1981–82 Premiership   Widnes 23–8   Hull F.C.
1982–83 1982–83 Premiership   Widnes 22–10   Hull F.C.
1983–84 1983–84 Premiership   Hull Kingston Rovers 18–10   Castleford
1984–85 1984–85 Premiership   St. Helens 36–16   Hull Kingston Rovers Elland Road, Leeds
1985–86 1985–86 Premiership   Warrington 38–10   Halifax
1986–87 1986–87 Premiership   Wigan 8–0   Warrington Old Trafford, Manchester
1987–88 1987–88 Premiership   Widnes 38–14   St. Helens
1988–89 1988–89 Premiership   Widnes 18–10   Hull F.C.
1989–90 1989–90 Premiership   Widnes 28–6   Bradford Northern
1990–91 1990–91 Premiership   Hull F.C. 14–4   Widnes
1991–92 1991–92 Premiership   Wigan 48–16   St. Helens
1992–93 1992–93 Premiership   St. Helens 10–4   Wigan
1993–94 1993–94 Premiership   Wigan 24–20   Castleford
1994–95 1994–95 Premiership   Wigan 69–12   Leeds
1996 1996 Premiership   Wigan 44-14   St. Helens
1997 1997 Premiership   Wigan 32-20   St. Helens

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Premiership title". Rugby League Project.
  2. ^ "Harry Sunderland Trophy Facts". Rugby
  3. ^ "Super League split the Rugby League world in two, but the stars still shone brightly on the field in both hemispheres". Total Rugby League.

External linksEdit