The National Rugby League, or NRL, is the premier rugby league competition, not just in Australia, but in the world. Only the best talent from across the globe can handle the ferocity and speed of the NRL. Originating as the NSWRL (New South Wales Rugby League) in 1908, the NRL was formed following the end of the Super League War, which saw two separate competitions, the ARL and Super League, broker a deal. It brought rugby league back together under one umbrella in 1998 and a major competition was born.
The NRL features teams from not only Australia, but New Zealand. While the majority of teams are based in New South Wales, teams like the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos represent Victoria and Queensland, while the New Zealand Warriors are the toast of league fans across the Tasman. During the 20th century, many teams have folded, rebranded or merged to survive. The South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters are the last remaining foundation clubs, while the Wests Tigers are a merged entity of two former foundation clubs, the Balmain Tigers and the Western Suburb Magpies.
The season consists of a preseason, a regular season and a finals series. In the preseason, teams play upwards of eight games, including the Auckland Nines tournament and the World Club Series, while representative players play a one-off All Stars game before the regular season kicks off. During the regular season, teams play 24 matches and have two byes, before the finals series. Representative players regularly play up to an extra five matches each year, with the Trans-Tasman test, State of Origin (three games) and the City-Country fixture also scheduled. The Finals Series is the business end of the season, with the best team of the year winning the Provan-Summons trophy in the Grand Final.
While the Rabbitohs hold the record for most first grade premierships (21), the Brisbane Broncos have won the most titles (1998, 2000 and 2006) since the inception of the NRL in 1998. The Melbourne Storm would have taken the mantle having won the premiership on four separate occasions (1999, 2007, 2009 & 2012), but due to a salary cap scandal, their 2007 & 2009 trophies were stripped and their victories wiped from the record books.
|2016||CRONULLA SHARKS||MELBOURNE STORM||14-12|
|2015||NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS||BRISBANE BRONCOS||17-16|
|2014||SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS||CANTERBURY BULLDOGS||30-6|
|2013||SYDNEY ROOSTERS||MANLY SEA EAGLES||26-18|
|2012||MELBOURNE STORM||CANTERBURY BULLDOGS||14-4|
|2011||MANLY SEA EAGLES||NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS||24-10|
|2010||ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS||SYDNEY ROOSTERS||32-8|
|2009||MELBOURNE STORM*||PARRAMATTA EELS||23-16|
|2008||MANLY SEA EAGLES||MELBOURNE STORM||40-0|
|2007||MELBOURNE STORM*||MANLY SEA EAGLES||34-8|
|2006||BRISBANE BRONCOS||MELBOURNE STORM||15-8|
|2005||WEST TIGERS||NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS||30-16|
* Melbourne Storm had their titles stripped following a salary cap scandal