Rugby League in Australia was born during the 1907 season with the formation of the New South Wales Rugby League in Sydney. The success of this league was largely down to one man, the legendary Dally Messenger, who starred in the 1907 ‘All Golds’ tour of Great Britain, when he defected from the Australian Rugby Union association to join the newly formed league. Since then, Rugby League has been considered one of the premier sports in Australia.
Australia then made their first Impact on the International Rugby League scene in 1908, when ‘The Kangaroos’, captained by Messenger toured Great Britain for the very first time to play against the Northern Union. They played their first ever international Test against a Northern Union representative side, which finished 22 all.
Australia’s pedigree within the sport is renowned throughout the world and they have produced some of the greatest players ever to have graced the field, from the late great Dally Messenger through to World Cup record points scorer Michael Cronin and modern legends such as the enigmatic Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer.
The Kangaroos are the most successful team in Rugby League World Cup history. They have appeared in all 13 World Cups contested, winning 9 of them. Such has been their dominance of the sport that they have only failed to make the final in one World Cup, in the very first tournament played in 1954.
Having lost the title of World Cup winners to local rivals New Zealand for the first time since 1975 in the last World Cup in 2008, the Australians will be keen to regain the title they held a stranglehold on for over 30 years. With players such as Greg Inglis, Jamie Lyon and Jonathon Thurston at their disposal, the Australians are sure to mount a tough challenge for the title.
Nation Fact File
Area: 7,617,930 km2
Population: 22.4 million
National Rugby League
The National Rugby League was formed in 1998 under a partnership arrangement between the Australian Rugby League and News Ltd to administer the National Competition.
The National Rugby League competition, titled the Telstra Premiership, is the senior club competition within Australasia, with 16 clubs from Australia and New Zealand battling it out over 25 weeks.
To find out more about the Telstra Premiership and National Rugby League please visit www.nrl.com