The National Rugby League (NRL) is one of the two premier Rugby league competitions in the world, and arguably the toughest. It is played in Australia and New Zealand. Each club represents its geographic area, with the majority of teams based in NSW (where the sport is most popular), 3 in QLD, one each from A.C.T and Victoria, and one team representing New Zealand. (At one point there were also teams from Western and South Australia)

The league in its current form, began in 1998. Prior to that, the top grade competition in Australia was run by the NSWRL (1908-1994) then ARL (1995-1998); who were the governing bodies of the sport at State and National level respectively.

During the 1997 season, a rival competition set-up by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. ran parallel to the ARL premiership. The new competition was called Super League. It consisted for 8 teams that had defected from the ARL, plus 2 newly created franchises. This left the ARL with 12 clubs. Players, sponsorships and crowds were spread thinly across the two, and it became clear the model was not sustainable for either party. By the end of that year, the ARL and News Corp. had agreed on a jointly owned competition for the 1998 season. This was the formation of the NRL.

In its first season, 20 clubs competed. Over the following years, clubs faced rationalisation, expansion and financial issues. This led to some mergers, closures and establishment of new franchises. As of 2009, the NRL is contested by the following 16 teams.

From NSW:

  • Sydney Bulldogs

  • Cronulla Sharks

  • Manly Sea Eagles

  • Newcastle Knights

  • Parramatta Eels

  • Penrith Panthers

  • St. George-Illawara Dragons

  • South Sydney Rabbitohs

  • Sydney Roosters

  • Wests Tigers

From QLD:

  • Brisbane Broncos

  • Gold Coast Titans

  • North QLD Cowboys

From A.C.T:

  • Canberra Raiders

From VIC:

  • Melbourne Storm

From NZ:

  • NZ Warriors

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