Super League

Super League (currently known as the Betfred Super League for sponsorship reasons) is the top-level professional rugby league club competition in the Northern Hemisphere. The league currently has eleven teams: ten from England and one from France.

Super League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event Super League XXV
SportRugby league
Founded1996; 24 years ago (1996)
No. of teams11
Country England
Most recent
Saintscolours.svg St Helens
(7th title)
Most titlesRhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
(8 titles)
TV partner(s)Sky Sport
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toChampionship
Domestic cup(s)Challenge Cup
International cup(s)World Club Challenge
Official websiteSuper League

Super League began in 1996, replacing the First Division and switching from a winter to a summer season. Each team plays 29 games between February and September: 11 home games, 11 away games, Magic Weekend and an additional 6 'loop fixtures' decided by league positions. The top five then enter the play-off series leading to the Grand Final which determines the champions. The bottom team is relegated to the Championship.

The Super League champions play the National Rugby League champions from Australasia in the World Club Challenge at the start of the season.


1996–2001: EstablishmentEdit

A "super league" competition was first mooted during the Australian Super League war as a way for Rupert Murdoch to gain the upper hand during the battle for broadcasting supremacy with the Australian Rugby League. Murdoch also approached the British clubs to form Super League. A large sum of money aided the decision, and the competition got under way in 1996. Part of the deal saw rugby league switch from a winter to a summer season. The 12 founding teams of Super League were:

Initially, several mergers between existing clubs were proposed:

They were to be included with the following stand-alone clubs: Bradford Northern, Halifax, Leeds, London Broncos, Paris Saint-Germain, St. Helens and Wigan.

However this proved so unpopular that only existing clubs were selected for the competition. The clubs finishing below 10th in the existing top flight were excluded, which meant Featherstone Rovers, Hull, Wakefield Trinity and Widnes were left out, as were pioneering club Keighley who had just won the Second Division Championship. London Broncos, who had come fourth in the Second Division, were "fast-tracked" in on commercial grounds. A new team, Paris Saint-Germain, was created to give a French dimension. Between 1998 and 2000 there was no relegation from Super League.

2002–2008: Promotion and relegationEdit

After two years Paris were dropped from the competition. Promotion and relegation between Super League and the Rugby League National Leagues was re-introduced, and in 2002 the Super League Europe (SLE) governing body re-integrated fully into the Rugby Football League (RFL). In 2006, French side Catalans Dragons (also known as UTC or Les Catalans) from Perpignan joined the league, becoming the second non-English team to compete. To facilitate this move, two clubs were relegated from Super League at the end of the 2005 season: Leigh who finished bottom of the league were replaced by the one club coming up from the National Leagues and Widnes who finished 11th (and would have stayed up any other year) were dropped for Les Catalans, thus the number of clubs in Super League remained at 12.

2009–2014: LicensingEdit

Super League licences were announced in May 2005 by the RFL as the new determinant of the Super League competition's participants from 2009 in place of promotion and relegation. The licences were awarded after consideration of more factors than just the on-the-field performance of a club.[1] After 2007 automatic promotion and relegation was suspended for Super League with new teams to be admitted on a licence basis with the term of the licence to start in 2009.[1]

The RFL stated that clubs applying to compete in Super League would be assessed by criteria in four areas (stadium facilities, finance and business performance, commercial and marketing and playing strength, including junior production and development) with the final evaluations and decisions being taken by the RFL board of directors.[2]

Successful applicants were licensed for three years of Super League competition and[3] three-yearly reviews of Super League membership took place to ensure ambitious clubs lower down the leagues can still be successful.[2]

Points attained by each club's application are translated into licence grades A, B or C. Clubs who achieved an A or B Licence would be automatically awarded a place in Super League, while those who achieved a C Licence underwent further scrutiny before the RFL decided who made the final cut.[4]

First licensing period

In June 2008, the RFL confirmed that Super League would be expanded from 12 teams to 14 in 2009,[5][6] and on 22 July 2008 the RFL confirmed the teams awarded licences.[7] The teams announced were the 12 existing Super League teams along with National League 1 teams, Celtic Crusaders and Salford. Celtic Crusaders becoming the first Welsh team to play in Super League and the only team to be awarded a licence who had never played in the Super League previously.

Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Leigh and Widnes all failed to attain a licence. Leigh and Widnes, especially, were disappointed with their exclusions with Leigh's chairman being extremely critical of the RFL.[8]

Second licensing period

For the 2012–14 seasons Championship sides Batley, Barrow, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax and Widnes all met the on-field criteria needed to submit an application,[9] but despite this only Barrow, Halifax and Widnes decided to submit an application.[10] On 31 March 2011 Widnes were awarded a Super League licence; Barrow, did not meet the criteria and were refused a licence; and Halifax's application was to be further considered alongside the other Super League clubs.[11]

The Rugby Football League's final decision was announced on 26 July 2011, Widnes would be joining thirteen existing Super League teams with Crusaders RL having withdrawn their application and Halifax not meeting the criteria.[12] Crusaders CEO Rod Findlay stated that the club's finances were not in a good enough condition to justify their place in Super League.[13] Halifax chairman Mark Steele was critical of the decision to award Wakefield a licence over themselves, saying "If you compare Belle Vue with the Shay, it's no contest; if you compare playing records, it's no contest; and if you compare the financial position, we have kept our head above water and they haven't."[13] Wakefield had been favourites to lose their licence before Crusaders' withdrawal.[13]

2015–2018: Super 8sEdit

At the 2013 Annual General Meeting at Bradford, the Super League clubs agreed to reduce the number of clubs to 12 from 2015, and also for a return of Promotion and Relegation with a 12 club Championship.[14]

The 12 First Utility Super League and 12 Kingstone Press Championship clubs played each other home and away over 22 "rounds", plus a Magic Weekend for both divisions, making a 23-game regular season. Following the conclusion of their regular league seasons, the 24 clubs then competed in a play-off series where they split into 3 leagues of 8 based upon league position:[15][16]

  • The top 8 Super League clubs continued to compete in the Super 8s. After playing each other once (either home or away), the top 4 clubs progressed to the semi-finals to determine who competed in the Grand Final to be crowned champions.
  • The remaining (bottom 4) Super League clubs and the top 4 Championship clubs competed in The Qualifiers. They played each other once (either home or away) to determine which four of the clubs would compete in Super League the following year.

Funding for clubs was tiered in both leagues to prevent relegation-related financial difficulties.

In June 2015 8 of the 12 Super League clubs voted to allow a Marquee Player that could exceed a clubs salary cap as long as they can afford their wages. The marquee player rule came into force for the 2016 Super League season.

2019–onwards: Super League split from RFLEdit

On 14 September 2018, an EGM was called to discuss the future of the sport and a change in structure, as the clubs were in favour of scrapping the Super 8s in favour of a more conventional structure[17] . The Super League clubs voted to split from the RFL and appoint their own CEO to have more control over TV and sponsorship money as well as scrapping the Super 8s but retaining promotion and relegation to apease the Championship clubs.[18] After the 2020 season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom there were calls made from Super League clubs for the two executive bodies - Super League Europe and the RFL - to re-amalgamate.[19]


Super League regular seasonEdit

12 teams compete in Super League. They play each other twice on a home-and-away basis, interrupted by the Magic Weekend round in May. The 12 clubs also play 6 loop fixtures to bring the number of games in a season to 29. The team finishing bottom after 29 rounds collects the Wooden Spoon, and is relegated, while the team finishing first is awarded the League Leaders Shield. The top 5 teams at the end of the season enter the playoffs.

Super League adopted Golden point during regular season for the first time in 2019, bringing it in line with the NRL which had been using the system since 2003.[20]

Magic WeekendEdit

In an attempt to expand out of the traditional rugby league "heartlands", and market the game to a wider audience, the RFL has staged games in large stadiums, in places without a strong rugby league presence. The "Magic Weekend" concept, which involves staging an entire round of Super League in such a stadium, was first staged in Cardiff in 2007. Dubbed "Millennium Magic", and played in the Millennium Stadium, the concept was held in Cardiff again in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, the event was held in Edinburgh at the Scottish national rugby union stadium, giving rise to the name changing to "Murrayfield Magic". Generally held during the May Day weekend, 2011 saw the Magic Weekend return to Cardiff, and was held during the weekend 12–13 February, and serving as the season opener. from 2014–2018, the event was held at St James' Park in Newcastle. In 2019, the event was held at Anfield in Liverpool, before returning to Newcastle for the 2020 season.


The play-offs have had various formats. St. Helens are the only team to take part in every playoff series since the inaugural series in 1998

The current play-off system was previously used between 1998 and 2001. The same system was used in the NSWRL's Sydney Competition 1973–1994, the Australian Super League in its only season 1997, the VFL, 1972–1990 and New Zealand's Lion Red Cup, 1994–1996, and Bartercard Cup, 2000–2006.

From week two on the Top five play-offs system reflected exactly the Page playoff system.

The Top Five Super League Play-Off Structure:

Week One

  • Qualification Final: 2nd vs 3rd
  • Elimination Final: 4th vs 5th
  • Bye: 1st

Week Two

  • Major Semi Final: 1st vs Winners of Qualification Final
  • Minor Semi Final: Losers of Qualification Final vs Winners of Elimination Final

Week Three

  • Preliminary Final: Losers of Major Semi Final vs Winners of Minor Semi Final
  • Bye: Winners of Major Semi Final

Week Four

  • Grand Final: Winners of Major Semi Final vs Winners of Preliminary Final

Grand FinalEdit

Leeds Rhinos celebrating following their 2008 Grand Final victory

The Grand Final is the championship-deciding game and showpiece event of the Super League season. It is held annually at Old Trafford.

City Stadium Years
  Manchester Old Trafford 1998–present

Largest attendance

Year City Stadium Attendance
2015   Manchester Old Trafford 73,512

Other competitionsEdit

Challenge CupEdit

The Challenge Cup is a separate cup competition, involving clubs from Super League and all levels of rugby league in Britain. It has been held annually since 1896 and has been expanded so teams in Canada, Serbia, Ireland, Russia, France, Scotland and Wales can take part. The cup runs throughout the season, and the final is usually played on the August bank holiday at Wembley Stadium. Until Super League, the final would take place at Wembley Stadium at the end of April or start of May, usually 2 weeks after the regular season ended.


Current clubsEdit

Super League clubs
Colours Club Established City/Town Stadium Capacity* Titles (Last)**
Castleford Tigersa 1926 Castleford, West Yorkshire Wheldon Road 11,775 0 (N/A)
Catalans Dragons 2000 Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales Gilbert Brutus Stadium 13,000 0 (N/A)
Huddersfield Giantsc 1864 Huddersfield, West Yorkshire Kirklees Stadium 24,500 7 (1962)
Hull F.C.c 1865 Hull, East Yorkshire KCOM Stadium 25,400 6 (1983)
Hull Kingston Rovers 1882 Hull, East Yorkshire Craven Park 12,225 5 (1985)
Leeds Rhinosabc 1870 Leeds, West Yorkshire Headingley Stadium 19,700 11 (2017)
Salford Red Devils 1873 Salford, Greater Manchester Salford City Stadium 12,000 6 (1976)
St Helensabc 1873 St Helens, Merseyside Totally Wicked Stadium 18,000 14 (2019)
Wakefield Trinityc 1873 Wakefield, West Yorkshire Belle Vue 9,333 2 (1968)
Warrington Wolvesab 1876 Warrington, Cheshire Halliwell Jones Stadium 15,200 3 (1955)
Wigan Warriorsabc 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 25,133 22 (2018)

a: Founding member of the Super League
b: Appeared in every Super League season since 1996
c: One of the original 22 RFL teams

  • **includes First Division titles won prior to the inaugural Super League season in 1996, which are officially considered to be part of the Super League lineage
Current Champions

Former Super League clubsEdit

Former Super League clubs
Colours Club Seasons in
Super League
First season in
Super League
Last season in
Super League
Last top
division title**
London Broncos 20 1996 2019 N/A
Bradford Bulls 19 1996 2014 2005
Widnes Vikings 11 2002 2018 1989
Halifax 8 1996 2003 1985-86
Sheffield Eagles 4 1996 1999 N/A
Crusaders §* 3 2009 2011 N/A
Leigh Centurions 2 2005 2017 1981-82
Oldham 2 1996 1997 1956-57
Paris Saint-Germain § 2 1996 1997 N/A
Gateshead Thunder §* 1 1999 1999 N/A
Workington Town 1 1996 1996 1950-51
Toronto Wolfpack §* 1 2020 2020 N/A

Points deductionsEdit

Year Club Points Reason
2001   Wakefield Trinity 2 Salary Cap Breach
2003   Halifax 2 Salary Cap Breach
  Hull F.C. 2 Salary Cap Breach
  St. Helens 2 Salary Cap Breach
2006   Bradford Bulls 2 Salary Cap Breach
  Wigan Warriors 2 Salary Cap Breach
2007   Bradford Bulls 2 Salary Cap Breach
  Wigan Warriors 4 Salary Cap Breach
2011   Wakefield Trinity 4 Administration
  Crusaders 4 Administration
2012   Bradford Bulls 6 Administration
2013   Salford Red Devils 2 Fielding Extra Man
2014   Bradford Bulls 6 Administration
2016   Salford Red Devils 6 Salary Cap Breach


Reserve leagueEdit

In 2014 and 2015 Super League clubs were unhappy with the Dual registration system and wanted to form an under-23 reserve leagues between the under-19s and first teams. Wigan, Warrington and St Helens were the first teams to propose the return of the reserve league where players could move from the under 19s and play with professional players before playing in the first team. A reserve league was set up in 2016 with a mixture of Super League, Championship and League 1 teams.

Dual registrationEdit

Dual registration refers to an arrangement between clubs whereby a player continues to be registered to his current Super League club and is also registered to play for a club in the Championship. The system is aimed at young Super League players who are thought to be not quite ready to make the step up to 'week in, week out' Super League first team duties but for whom first team match experience is likely to be beneficial for their development.[21]

  • Only Super League players can be dual registered and the receiving club must be a club in the Championships, meaning that Super League to Super League club dual registrations are not available.
  • A dual registered player will be eligible to play and train with both clubs in a format agreed between the clubs, subject to registration, salary cap and competition eligibility rules.
  • The player is restricted to playing in one fixture per scheduled round of fixtures in any given week and would not be eligible to play for his Super League club on a Thursday and in a Championship fixture at the weekend, for example.
  • A receiving club will be limited to five dual registered players per matchday squad.

Under 19sEdit

In 2017 the following teams will run in each of the Senior Academy divisions:[22]Super League Academy – U19s:


The league format changed in 1998 and the championship became a play-off series to determine the Super League champions. This meant a reintroduction of a final to determine the European champions, the first since the 1972–73 season. For the first 2 seasons of Super League, there was no Grand Final - The winners of the league were the team that finished top, as before in the previous Championship leagues.

Season Champions Score Runners-up League Leaders
  St. Helens N/A   Wigan Warriors N/A
  Bradford Bulls   London Broncos
  Wigan Warriors 10–4   Leeds Rhinos   Wigan Warriors
  St. Helens 8–6   Bradford Bulls   Bradford Bulls
  St. Helens 29–16   Wigan Warriors   Wigan Warriors
  Bradford Bulls 37–6   Wigan Warriors   Bradford Bulls
  St. Helens 19–18   Bradford Bulls   St. Helens
  Bradford Bulls 25–12   Wigan Warriors   Bradford Bulls
  Leeds Rhinos 16–8   Bradford Bulls   Leeds Rhinos
  Bradford Bulls 15–6   Leeds Rhinos   St. Helens
  St. Helens 26–4   Hull   St. Helens
  Leeds Rhinos 33–6   St. Helens   St. Helens
  Leeds Rhinos 24–16   St. Helens   St. Helens
  Leeds Rhinos 18–10   St. Helens   Leeds Rhinos
  Wigan Warriors 22–10   St. Helens   Wigan Warriors
  Leeds Rhinos 32–16   St. Helens   Warrington Wolves
  Leeds Rhinos 26–18   Warrington Wolves   Wigan Warriors
  Wigan Warriors 30–16   Warrington Wolves   Huddersfield Giants
  St. Helens 14–6   Wigan Warriors   St. Helens
  Leeds Rhinos 22-20   Wigan Warriors   Leeds Rhinos
  Wigan Warriors 12-6   Warrington Wolves   Warrington Wolves
  Leeds Rhinos 24-6   Castleford Tigers   Castleford Tigers
  Wigan Warriors 12-4   Warrington Wolves   St. Helens
  St. Helens 23-6   Salford Red Devils   St. Helens


Club Wins Runners
Winning Years
1   Leeds Rhinos 8 2 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
2   St. Helens 7 5 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2019
3   Wigan Warriors 5 6 1998, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018
4   Bradford Bulls 4 3 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005
5   Warrington Wolves 0 4 N/A
6   Salford Red Devils 0 1 N/A
  Castleford Tigers 0 1 N/A
  Hull 0 1 N/A
  London Broncos 0 1 N/A

The DoubleEdit

In rugby league, the term 'the Double' is referring to the achievement of a club that wins the top division and Challenge Cup in the same season. To date, this has been achieved by ten clubs but by only four clubs during the Super League era.

Club Wins Winning years
1   Wigan Warriors 7 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93,
1993–94, 1994–95, 2013
2   St. Helens 3 1965–66, 1996, 2006
3   Huddersfield Giants 2 1912–13, 1914–15
4   Broughton Rangers 1 1901–02
5   Halifax 1 1902–03
6   Hunslet F.C. § 1 1907–08
7   Swinton Lions 1 1927–28
8   Warrington Wolves 1 1953–54
9   Bradford Bulls 1 2003
10   Leeds Rhinos 1 2015

The TrebleEdit

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 seven teams have won the treble, only Bradford Bulls, St. Helens and Leeds Rhinos have won the treble in the Super League era.

Club Wins Winning years
  Wigan Warriors
3 1991–92, 1992–93, 1994–95
  Huddersfield Giants
2 1912–13, 1914–15
  St. Helens
2 1965–66, 2006
  Hunslet F.C. §
1 1907–08
  Swinton Lions
1 1927–28
  Bradford Bulls
1 2003
  Leeds Rhinos
1 2015

All Four CupsEdit

Winning all Four Cups refers to winning the Super League, League Leaders' Shield, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge in one season. Not all of these cups were available in the past but have replaced other cups that could be won.

Club Wins Winning years
  Hunslet F.C. §
1 1907–08
  Huddersfield Giants
1 1914–15
  Swinton Lions
1 1927–28
  Wigan Warriors
1 1994–95
  Bradford Bulls
1 2003–04
  St. Helens
1 2006–07

Teams relegatedEdit

Year Relegated Club(s)
1996   Workington Town
1997   Oldham Bears
Paris Saint Germain folded at end of season
1998   Gateshead Thunder merged with   Hull Sharks
  Sheffield Eagles and   Huddersfield Giants merged to form Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants
1999-2000: No relegation
2001   Huddersfield Giants
2002   Salford City Reds
2003   Halifax
2004   Castleford Tigers
2005   Widnes Vikings
  Leigh Centurions
2006   Castleford Tigers [23]
2007   Salford City Reds
2008-2010: No relegation
2011   Crusaders RL (lost licence)
2012-2013: No relegation
2014   London Broncos
  Bradford Bulls
2015 None [24]
2016   Hull Kingston Rovers
2017   Leigh Centurions
2018   Widnes Vikings
2019   London Broncos
2020 No relegation [25]


League Leaders' ShieldEdit

The League Leaders' Shield is awarded to the team finishing the regular season top of Super League; this is also known as a minor premiership. The League Leader's Shield was introduced only in 2003, previously no prize was awarded to the team finishing top following the introduction of the Grand Final.

Club Wins Winning years
1   St. Helens 9 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2018, 2019
2   Wigan Warriors 4 1998, 2000, 2010, 2012
3   Bradford Bulls 4 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
4   Leeds Rhinos 3 2004, 2009, 2015
5   Warrington Wolves 2 2011, 2016
6   Huddersfield Giants 1 2013
7   Castleford Tigers 1 2017

Super League TrophyEdit

Super League Trophy

The winner of the Grand Final is given the Super League Trophy as Super League Champions. This is considered more prestigious than the minor premiership. Each year, the year of a champion team's triumph, team name and team Rugby league football captain are engraved.

The record for most Super League titles won is held by Leeds with eight titles. Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield currently holds the record for captaining the most Super League title winning sides after captaining Leeds to their first 7 grand final successes. St. Helens contested the final 6 years in a row (from 2006 until 2011) during which time they succeeded only once in lifting the trophy against Hull F.C. in 2006; after which they suffered consecutive defeats against Leeds in 2007, 2008, 2009, Wigan in 2010 and Leeds once again in 2011. However, St. Helens made a victorious return in 2014, defeating rivals, Wigan 14–6.

Following their 2014 and 2015 defeats to St. Helens and Leeds respectively, Wigan have now equalled St Helens's record of losing five Grand Finals. Hull FC (2006), Warrington (2012, 2013, 2016, and 2018), Castleford (2017), and Salford (2019) have all appeared in the Grand Final but never won.

Steve Prescott Man of Steel awardEdit

The Man of Steel Award is an annual award for the best player of the season in Super League. It has continued from pre-Super League times, with the first such award given in 1977. It was renamed in honour of Steve Prescott in 2014.

Albert Goldthorpe MedalEdit

The Albert Goldthorpe Medal is an award voted for be members of the press who cast a vote after every game of the regular season. The three players who, in the opinion of the reporter, have been the three 'best and fairest' players in the game will receive three points, two points and one point respectively. To be eligible for a vote, a player must not have been suspended from the competition at any stage during the season.

Super League Dream TeamEdit

Each season a "Dream Team" is also named. The best thirteen players in their respective positions are voted for by members of the sports press. The 2019 dream team is as follows:

Player Team Appearance
1   Lachlan Coote   St. Helens 1
2   Thomas Makinson   St. Helens 4
3   Kevin Naiqama   St. Helens 1
4   Konrad Hurrell   Leeds Rhinos 1
5   Ash Handley   Leeds Rhinos 1
6   Blake Austin   Warrington Wolves 1
7   Jackson Hastings   Salford Red Devils 1
8   Liam Watts   Castleford Tigers 1
9   Daryl Clark   Warrington Wolves 2
10   Luke Thompson   St. Helens 2
11   Josh Jones   Salford Red Devils 1
12   Liam Farrell   Wigan Warriors 2
13   Morgan Knowles   St. Helens 1


Nat. Name Club Appointed Time as head coach
  Daryl Powell   Castleford Tigers 7 May 2013 7 years, 166 days
  Steve McNamara   Catalans Dragons 19 June 2017 3 years, 123 days
none   Huddersfield Giants
none   Hull
  Tony Smith   Hull Kingston Rovers 6 June 2019 1 year, 136 days
  Richard Agar   Leeds Rhinos 7 May 2019 1 year, 166 days
  Ian Watson   Salford Red Devils 3 September 2015 5 years, 47 days
  Kristian Woolf   St. Helens 13 October 2019 1 year, 7 days
  Brian McDermott   Toronto Wolfpack 12 November 2018 1 year, 343 days
  Chris Chester   Wakefield Trinity 16 March 2016 4 years, 218 days
  Steve Price   Warrington Wolves 6 October 2017 3 years, 14 days
  Adrian Lam   Wigan Warriors 14 October 2018 2 years, 6 days

Head coaches with Super League titlesEdit

The Super League has been won by 14 coaches, 9 from Australia, 4 from England and 1 from New Zealand.

Head Coach Wins Winning years
1   Brian McDermott 4 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017
2   Brian Noble 3 2001, 2003, 2005
3   Shaun Wane 3 2013, 2016, 2018
4   Ian Millward 2 2000, 2002
5   Tony Smith 2 2004, 2007
6   Brian McClennan 2 2008, 2009
7   Shaun McRae 1 1996
8   Matthew Elliott 1 1997
9   John Monie 1 1998
10   Ellery Hanley 1 1999
11   Daniel Anderson 1 2006
12   Michael Maguire 1 2010
13   Nathan Brown 1 2014
14   Justin Holbrook 1 2019

Coaches to have coached at least 200 Super League gamesEdit

  • Bold indicates coach still at club
  • Italic indicates coach still active as a head coach in Rugby League but not in Super League at this time

Statistics correct as of 18 October 2020

Rank Player Club(s) Games
1   Tony Smith Huddersfield (2001, 2003)
Leeds (2004-2007),
Warrington (2009-2017)
Hull KR (2019-present)
2   Brian McDermott Harlequins (2007-2010)
Leeds (2011-2018)
Toronto (2020–present)
3   Brian Noble Bradford (2001-2006)
Wigan (2006-2009)
Crusaders (2010)
Salford (2013-2014)
4   Shaun McRae St. Helens (1996-1998)
Gateshead (1999)
Hull (2000-2004)
Salford (2007, 2009-2011)
5   Daryl Powell Leeds (2001-2003)
Castleford (2013-present)
6   John Kear Sheffield (1997-1999),
Huddersfield (2000)
Hull (2005-2006)
Wakefield (2006-2011)
7   Ian Millward St. Helens (2000-2005)
Wigan (2005-2006)
Castleford (2012-2013)
8   Shaun Wane Wigan (2012-2018) 208
9   Steve McNamara Bradford (2006-2010),
Catalans (2017-present)


  • Statistics are correct as of 18 October 2020.

Players to have made over 350 Super League AppearancesEdit

Kevin Sinfield made 454 Super League appearances for Leeds Rhinos between 1997 and 2015
  • Note that appearances from the bench are also included in this list. Excluding appearances in Qualifiers
  • Bold indicates players still active in Super League
  • Italics indicates players still active but not in Super League
Rank Player Years Club(s) Appearances
1   Kevin Sinfield 1997–2015 Leeds 454
2   Andy Lynch 1999–2017 Castleford, Bradford, Hull FC, Castleford 452
3   Paul Wellens 1998–2015 St. Helens 443
4   Jamie Peacock 1998–2015 Bradford, Leeds 438
5=   Rob Burrow 2001–2017 Leeds 431
5=   Leon Pryce 1998–2016 Bradford, St. Helens, Hull FC, Catalans 431
7   Ben Westwood 1999–2019 Wakefield, Warrington 430
8   Danny Tickle 2000–2018 Halifax, Wigan, Hull FC, Widnes,
Castleford, Leigh, Hull KR
9   James Roby 2004–present St. Helens 416
10   Keith Senior 1996– 2011 Sheffield, Leeds 413
11   Lee Gilmour 1997–2014 Wigan, Bradford, St. Helens, Huddersfield,
Castleford, Wakefield
12   Danny McGuire 2001–2019 Leeds, Hull KR 408
13   Lee Briers 1997–2013 St. Helens, Warrington 402
14   Sean O'Loughlin 2002–present Wigan 401
15   Jon Wilkin 2003–2018,
St. Helens, Toronto 385
16   Paul Deacon 1997–2011 Oldham, Bradford, Wigan 384
17   Keiron Cunningham 1996–2010 St. Helens 382
18   Danny Orr 1997–2012 Castleford, Wigan, Harlequins RL, Castleford 381
19   Jamie Jones-Buchanan 1999–2019 Leeds 366
20   Jon Clarke 1997–2014 Wigan, London, Warrington, Widnes 360
21   Stuart Fielden 1998–2013 Bradford, Wigan, Huddersfield 359
22   Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 2006–present Harlequins R.L, St. Helens 357
23   Richard Horne 1999–2014 Hull 353
24   Mickey Higham 2001–2017 St. Helens, Wigan, Warrington, Leigh 352


Rank Player Years Clubs Tries
1   Danny McGuire 2001–2019 Leeds, Hull KR 247
2=   Paul Wellens 1998–2015 St. Helens 199
2=   Keith Senior 1996–2011 Sheffield, Leeds 199
4   Ryan Hall 2007–2018 Leeds 196
5   Ryan Atkins 2005–present Bradford, Wakefield x2,


Rank Player Years Clubs Points
1   Kevin Sinfield 1997–2015 Leeds 3,443
2   Danny Brough 2005–2006, 2008–present Hull FC, Castleford,
Wakefield x2, Huddersfield
3   Paul Deacon 1997–2011 Oldham, Bradford, Wigan 2,415
4   Andrew Farrell 1996–2004 Wigan 2,372
5   Pat Richards 2006–2013, 2016 Wigan, Catalans 2,280

Winning captainsEdit

11 players have captained teams to win the Super League.

Captain Wins Winning years
1   Kevin Sinfield 7 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015
2   Sean O'Loughlin 4 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018
3   Chris Joynt 3 1999, 2000, 2002
4   Robbie Paul 3 1997, 2001, 2003
5   Bobbie Goulding 1 1996
6   Andy Farrell 1 1998
7   Jamie Peacock 1 2005
8   Sean Long 1 2006
9   Paul Wellens 1 2014
10   Danny McGuire 1 2017
11   James Roby 1 2019

Top Try Scorer by seasonEdit

Year Player Tries Team
1996   Paul Newlove 28   St. Helens
1997   Nigel Vagana 17   Warrington Wolves
1998   Anthony Sullivan 20   St. Helens
1999   Toa Kohe-Love 25   Warrington Wolves
2000   Sean Long &   Tommy Martyn 22 both   St. Helens
2001   Kris Radlinski 27   Wigan Warriors
2002   Dennis Moran 22   London Broncos
2003   Dennis Moran 24   London Broncos
2004   Lesley Vainikolo 36   Bradford Bulls
2005   Mark Calderwood 27   Leeds Rhinos
2006   Justin Murphy 25   Catalans Dragons
2007   Henry Fa'afili 21   Warrington Wolves
2008   Ade Gardner 26   St. Helens
2009   Ryan Hall 29   Leeds Rhinos
2010   Pat Richards 29   Wigan Warriors
2011   Ryan Hall &   Sam Tomkins 28   Leeds Rhinos &   Wigan Warriors
2012   Josh Charnley 31   Wigan Warriors
2013   Josh Charnley 33   Wigan Warriors
2014   Joel Monaghan 28   Warrington Wolves
2015   Jermaine McGillvary 27   Huddersfield Giants
2016   Denny Solomona 40   Castleford Tigers
2017   Greg Eden 38   Castleford Tigers
2018   Ben Barba 28   St. Helens
2019   Tommy Makinson 23   St. Helens

Top Points Scorer by seasonEdit

Year Player Points Team
1996   Bobbie Goulding 257   St. Helens
1997   Andy Farrell 243   Wigan Warriors
1998   Iestyn Harris 333   Leeds Rhinos
1999   Iestyn Harris 325   Leeds Rhinos
2000   Sean Long 352   St. Helens
2001   Andy Farrell 388   Wigan Warriors
2002   Paul Deacon 301   Bradford Bulls
2003   Paul Deacon 286   Bradford Bulls
2004   Kevin Sinfield 277   Leeds Rhinos
2005   Paul Deacon 322   Bradford Bulls
2006   Jamie Lyon 316   St. Helens
2007   Pat Richards 248   Wigan Warriors
2008   Pat Richards 269   Wigan Warriors
2009   Pat Richards 252   Wigan Warriors
2010   Pat Richards 388   Wigan Warriors
2011   Jamie Foster 330   St. Helens
2012   Scott Dureau 281   Catalans Dragons
2013   Danny Brough 208   Huddersfield Giants
2014   Marc Sneyd 224   Castleford Tigers
2015   Luke Gale 247   Castleford Tigers
2016   Luke Gale 262   Castleford Tigers
2017   Luke Gale 317   Castleford Tigers
2018   Danny Richardson 296   St. Helens
2019   Lachlan Coote 259   St. Helens


logo used from 1996 to 2016

The Super League has had three official logos. The first was used for the inaugural season in 1996 and until 2016. The logo had the Super League S with Super above it and League below it. The title sponsors name would appear above the logo until 2014 when title sponsors First Utility used their own personalised logos that appeared on player shirts and in the media. The reigning champions had a ribbon around the logo with champions on it until 2011.

Logo from 2017 to 2019

The second official logo was introduced in 2017 as part of a radical rebrand across British rugby league. The design was similar to the Rugby Football League (RFL) and England logos. It had a rectangular backdrop representing the George Hotel, where rugby league was founded, thirteen lines representing thirteen players, a chevron which are well known for appearing on rugby league shirts and the S which represents the ball and the Super League. The current champions have a gold logo.

logo used in the media and on playing shirts

Ahead of the 2020 Super League season a new logo was revealed. The new logo was designed by the same company who redesigned the Premier League logo and was more simplistic than previous designs.


Super League has been sponsored since its formation, apart from the 2013 season.

The title sponsor has been able to determine the league's sponsorship name. There have been seven title sponsors since the league's formation:

Period Sponsor Name
1996–1997 Stones Bitter Stones Super League
1998–1999 JJB Sports JJB Super League
2000–2004 Tetley's Bitter Tetley's Super League
2005–2011 Engage Mutual Assurance Engage Super League
2012 Stobart Group Stobart Super League
2013 no sponsor Super League
2014–2016 First Utility First Utility Super League
2017-2021 Betfred Betfred Super League

As well as title sponsorship, Super League has a number of official partners and suppliers.[26] For the 2017 season these include Kingstone Press Cider, Dacia, Foxy Bingo, Batchelors and Specsavers.

The official rugby ball supplier is Steeden.[27]

Competition rulesEdit

Overseas quota and Federation-trained playersEdit

An overseas quota restricting the maximum number of foreign players at each club has existed since the inception of the Super League in 1996.[28] However, overseas players that hold a European Union passport or come under the Kolpak ruling do not count towards the quota. This resulted in the number of non-British players at some clubs greatly exceeding the quota.

In response to concerns over the growing number of foreign players in the league, in 2007, the RFL announced plans to introduce a "homegrown player" rule to encourage clubs to develop their own players.[29] As of 2017, Super League clubs are permitted to register no more than five overseas players. Additionally, squads are also limited to a maximum of seven non-Federation trained players.[30]

Salary capEdit

A salary cap was first introduced to the Super League in 1998, with clubs being allowed to spend up to 50 percent of their income on player wages. From the 2002 season onwards, the cap became a fixed ceiling of £1.8 million in order to increase parity within the league.[31]

The Super League operates under a real-time salary cap system that will calculate a club's salary cap position at the start of and throughout the season:[32]

  • The combined earnings of the top 25 players must not exceed £1.825 million.
  • Clubs will only be allowed to sign a new player if they have room under the cap.
  • Clubs are allowed to spend a maximum of £50,000 on players outside the top 25 earners who have made at least one first grade appearance for the club during the year.
  • Costs for players outside of the top 25 earners who do not make a first team appearance will be unregulated.
  • Any player who has played for the same club for at least 10 consecutive seasons will have half their salary excluded from the salary cap for his 11th and subsequent seasons. This is subject to a maximum of £50,000 for any one club.
  • Clubs are allowed one "Marquee Player" who can exceed a club's salary cap as long as they can afford the players wages.

In 2017, Super League clubs approved proposals to increase the salary cap over the next three seasons, eventually rising to £2.1 million by 2020. Clubs will also be allowed to sign a second marquee player.[33]

Squad announcement systemEdit

Before each Super League fixture, each club must announce the squad of 19 players it will choose from by 2:00 pm on the second day before the match day.[32]

Match officialsEdit

All Super League matches are governed by the laws set out by the RFL; these laws are enforced by match officials. Former Super League and International Referee Steve Ganson is the current Head of Match Officials and Technical Director. Former Hull F.C. player and Huddersfield Head Coach Jon Sharp was the previous Head of Match Officials. Sharp was sacked in July 2015 and took up the role of Head Coach at Featherstone Rovers. He assumed his role at the RFL following Stuart Cummings' departure in March 2013 having previously held the role of Match Officials Coach & Technical Director.


Big Four dominanceEdit

Results of the 'Big Four' during 1996-2009
Season   Bradford Bulls   Leeds Rhinos   St. Helens   Wigan Warriors
1996 3 10 Champions Runners up
1997 Champions 5 3 4
1998 5 Runners up 4 Champions
1999 Runners up 3 Champions 4
2000 3 4 Champions Runners up
2001 Champions 5 4 Runners up
2002 Runners up 4 Champions 3
2003 Champions 2 4 Runners up
2004 Runners up Champions 5 4
2005 Champions Runners up 1 7
2006 4 3 Champions 8
2007 3 Champions Runners up 6
2008 5 Champions Runners up 4
2009 9 Champions Runners up 6
Titles 4 4 5 1
Results of the 'Big Four' since 2010
Season   Leeds Rhinos   St. Helens   Wigan Warriors   Warrington Wolves
2010 4 Runners up Champions 3
2011 Champions Runners up 2 1
2012 Champions 3 1 Runners up
2013 3 5 Champions Runners up
2014 6 Champions Runners up 5
2015 Champions 4 Runners up 6
2016 9 4 Champions Runners up
2017 Champions 4 6 9
2018 9 1 Champions Runners up
2019 8 Champions 2 4
Titles 4 2 4 0

Since its formation in 1996 only four teams have won the Super League (Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, St. Helens and Wigan Warriors). Also, only eight teams have taken part in the Grand Final (Hull FC, Castleford, Warrington Wolves, and Salford Red Devils, being the other four). Seven teams have been the league leaders, however only one of these (Huddersfield Giants in 2013) is a different team to those that have appeared in the grand final, meaning that only nine teams have been involved in the grand final or topped the regular season table, however, 23 teams have taken part in Super League since its inception.

In comparison, in the same period, 12 teams have won the Australasian National Rugby League competition and 15 teams have appeared in the Grand Final.


Between 2009 and 2014 teams had to apply for a licence to play in Super League, this also meant there was no automatic promotion between Super League and the Championship. This was unpopular with Championship clubs because there was no fair and easy way for them to get promoted into Super League and it was seen as a closed shop.

Attendances in the lower divisions dropped as a result of this system because it was felt that there was little appeal in these leagues when there was no incentive for the clubs to win the Championship. Also the only time that lower division clubs got the chance to play Super League opposition was in the early rounds of the Challenge Cup. With no route to the Super League however, teams were unable to compete with top division opposition because there was no way that clubs could attract top talent when players would not be playing in top-level rugby league.

M62 CorridorEdit

Most of the teams that have competed in it have been in its heartlands of the M62 Corridor between Yorkshire and Lancashire. Catalans Dragons and the Toronto Wolfpack are the only teams currently playing in Super League who are outside its traditional headland in the North of England, and are considered a success compared to teams such as the North Wales Crusaders.

Expansion was a key policy of the Rugby Football League when Super League was created. Along with the above-mentioned teams, Paris Saint-Germain RL competed from the beginning of the competition but departed after just two seasons due to a lack of interest and investment. Another team to fail from outside the heartlands was Gateshead Thunder who now compete as Newcastle Thunder.

Expansion has taken place in the lower divisions and this is a continuing policy of the RFL. At present nine expansion clubs take part in the lower divisions with 1 in the Championship and 8 in the Championship 1. In 2015, it was announced that Toulouse Olympique had been granted entry into League 1, the third division of European rugby league; the team has previously competed in the Championship. This brought the total number of expansion teams across the top 3 divisions to 10 (out of 39 clubs). In 2016 it was announced that a team based in Toronto, Canada had also been granted access to League 1. Toronto Wolfpack began to play in the 2017 season, eventually qualifying for the 2020 Super League season, and take the number of expansion clubs to 11 (out of 40 clubs). This also means that teams taking part in the top 3 divisions come from 4 countries and 2 continents.

Media coverageEdit


Sky Sports have been the primary broadcast partner of Super League since its inaugural season in 1996. The current deal lasts until 2021 and covers 80 matches per season, rising to 100 from 2015. They currently have the rights to show live Super League games in both Ireland and the United Kingdom; two live matches are broadcast each week – one on Thursday nights at 7:30 pm (kick off 8 pm) and another at 7:30 pm on Friday nights (kick off 8 pm). From 2014, they also simulcast all of Catalans Dragons' home games.

Duration Broadcaster
1996–2021 Sky Sports

Detailed Sky coverage

  • Super League Thursday starts at 7:30 pm and consists of a preview of the weekends Super League fixtures before the first game of the weekend.
  • Super League Friday includes one game with coverage starting at 7:30 pm building up to the game.
  • Super League Saturday usually shows Catalans Dragons games kicking off at 5:00 pm with coverage starting from 4:55 pm. When the Super 8s begin other teams are shown with coverage starting at 2:30 pm for games kicking off at 5:00 pm.


In addition to Sky Sports' live coverage, BBC Sport broadcast a weekly highlights programme called the Super League Show, usually presented by Tanya Arnold. This is broadcast to the North West, Yorkshire & North Midlands, North East & Cumbria, and East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire regions on BBC 1 on Monday nights (after 11 pm) and is repeated nationally on BBC 2 on Tuesday afternoons.[34] A national repeat was first broadcast overnight during the week since February 2008 when the then BBC Director of Sport, Roger Mosey, commented that this move was in response to the growing popularity and awareness of the sport, and the large number of requests from people who want to watch it elsewhere in the UK. The end of season play-off series is shown nationwide in a highlights package. The Super League Show is also available for streaming or download using the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Highlights programme Duration Broadcaster
Super League Show 1999–Present BBC


Internationally, Super League is shown live by eight broadcasters in eight countries and regions.

Country/ Region Broadcaster
Middle East OSN
North Africa
  France beIn Sports
  New Zealand Sky Sport
Māori Television
  United States Fox Soccer Plus
  Canada Sportsnet World
TSN (Toronto Home Games Only)
  Brazil BandSports
  Russia NTV+
Balkans Sportklub
  Australia Fox League


Talksport is an official broadcaster of Super League, broadcasting commentaries and magazine programming on Talksport 2. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra covers more than 70 Super League games through 5 Live Rugby League each Thursday and Friday night.[35] Each 3 hour programme is presented by Dave Woods with a guest summariser (usually a Super League player or coach) and in addition to live commentary also includes interviews and debate. A 5 Live Rugby League podcast is available to download each week from the BBC website at

Super League is also covered extensively by BBC Local Radio:

Station Area
BBC Radio Humberside Hull
BBC Radio Leeds West Yorkshire
BBC Radio Manchester Salford, Wigan and Warrington.
BBC Radio Merseyside St Helens, Warrington and Widnes.

The competition is also covered on commercial radio stations:

  • Radio Yorkshire cover two matches per round featuring Yorkshire clubs.
  • BCB 106.6 (Bradford Community Broadcasting) have full match commentary on Bradford home and away.
  • Wish FM have full match commentary on Wigan and St Helens matches home and away.
  • Wire FM have full match commentary of Warrington matches home and away.
  • Grand Sud FM covers every Catalans Dragons Home Match (in French).
  • Radio France Bleu Roussillon covers every Catalans Dragons Away Match (in French).

All Super League commentaries on any station are available via the particular stations on-line streaming.


ESPN3, formerly ESPN360, has had worldwide broadband rights since 2007 when they broadcast the 2007 Grand Final.

Since 9 April 2009, all of the matches shown on Sky Sports have also been available live online via Livestation everywhere in the world excluding the US, Puerto Rico, UK, Ireland, France, Monaco, Australia and New Zealand.[36] In 2016 Livestation shut down, however these matches are also available online for UK users only through Sky Go and Now TV.

In the United Kingdom, a number of commercial radio stations, along with BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the local BBC radio stations simulcast commentary of Super League games on the internet. Additionally, the 5 Live Rugby League podcast is available to download each week from the BBC website at

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b BBC Sport (19 May 2005). "Super League set for 2009 changes". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b RFL. "Licensing". The Rugby Football League. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  3. ^ BBC Sport (22 May 2005). "Franchise system 'is way forward'". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  4. ^ Angela Powers. "Licence to thrill". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on 25 March 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  5. ^ Gary Slater (18 June 2008). "Super League to expand to 14". London: Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  6. ^ Sky Sports (17 June 2008). "Super League set to expand". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  7. ^ BBC Sport (16 July 2008). "Clubs confident over franchises". BBC. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  8. ^ Ian Laybourn. "Leigh blast for Super League". Sporting Life. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  9. ^ BBC Sport (8 October 2010). "Five clubs in Super League queue". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  10. ^ BBC Sport (3 December 2010). "Widnes, Halifax and Barrow meet Super League deadline". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Vikings awarded Super League licence". Super League Official. 31 March 2011. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Thirteen Super League licences awarded for 2012 to 2014". RFL. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  13. ^ a b c BBC Sport (26 July 2011). "Crusaders withdraw application for Super League place". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  14. ^ Super League to become a 12-team competition from 2015. (11 July 2013). Retrieved on 20 August 2013.
  15. ^ "RFL Chief Executive Policy Review" (PDF). RFL. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Super League: Competition restructures confirmed". BBC Sport. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  17. ^ Westmorland, Gareth (14 September 2018). "Explained: How Super League's 2019 structure works". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  18. ^ Shaw, Matthew (21 December 2018). "RFL usher in rule changes for 2019". Total Rugby League. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Calls grow for Super League to return to the fold". Rugby Leaguer & League Express (3, 224). 4 May 2020. p. 3.
  20. ^ BBC Sport (19 November 2018). "Super League: Golden-point extra time introduced for regular season from 2019". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  21. ^ Wilson, Andy (9 February 2013). "Debate continues over Super League and Championship dual registration". Retrieved 25 January 2017 – via The Guardian.
  22. ^ "Match Centre -". Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  23. ^ Catalans Dragons finished bottom, but were exempt from relegation
  24. ^ Wakefield defeated Bradford in the Million Pound game to retain Super League place
  25. ^ Championship campaign abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Toronto Wolfpack dropped out of Super League for the remainder of the 2020 season
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^
  28. ^ Hadfield, Dave (24 January 1996). "Tries to be given trial by television". The Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  29. ^ Hadfield, Dave (5 February 2007). "Overseas quotas on clubs' agenda". The Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  30. ^ "Operational Rules". The Rugby Football League. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  31. ^ Fisher, Michael (12 January 2001). "Salary cap to be squeezed to £1.8m". Telegraph. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Competition Structure". The RFL. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  33. ^ Bower, Aaron (5 April 2017). "Super League clubs vote for salary cap rise and second marquee player". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  34. ^ "BBC Super League Show: New series starts on 10 February". 7 February 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2017 – via
  35. ^ "Super League: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra to air new show". 4 February 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2017 – via
  36. ^ List of Super League games available on


  • Caplan, Phil; Doidge, Jonathan R. (2006). Super League – the first ten years. The History Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7524-3698-2.

External linksEdit