National Rugby League
The National Rugby League, or NRL as it's more widely known, is a rugby league competition for clubs from Australia and New Zealand. Started in 1998, the NRL is Australia's primary rugby league competition.
There has been much re-organisation in NRL competition history. There was the New South Wales Rugby League (dating back to 1908), the Australian Rugby League, Super League and then finally the NRL.
In 1908, the New South Wales Rugby League Premiership was comprised of 8 Sydney teams and 1 Newcastle team. Nowadays the NRL is made up of 15 teams from all over Australia and from Auckland, New Zealand. The NRL will welcome a 16th team in 2007, as the Gold Coast Titans join the premiership.
The competition has been won by 7 of the 15 teams, over 9 seasons. The Brisbane Broncos have taken out 3 premierships, while other winners are the Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, Canterbury Bulldogs, West Tigers, Penrith Panthers and the Sydney Roosters.
In 2007 the teams will play 8 games to a round, over 25 rounds. The winner of each game will be awarded 2 points on the NRL ladder. The season will commence mid-March and carry through till September. At the end of the season the top 8 teams on the NRL ladder qualify for the finals series. The finals involves a series of knock-out games which will leave two teams remaining - the remaining two will play each other in the Grand Final in October.
Crowd numbers have risen considerably in the last 2 years and continue to illustrate the popular nature of Rugby League in Australia today.