The National Rugby League or NRL is the premiere rugby league in Australia. Originally started with the NSW club competition, it has grown up into a national competition that even includes teams from New Zealand. The NRL Footy League has become one of the most watched regular sporting events in the southern hemisphere. Everyone has their favourite team, and the seasonal draw is much anticipated by all of its followers.
The NRL Draw
The sixteen team of the NRL play each other in a rotational system that means that each team plays all of the others. The schedule for all of the regular season games prior to the finals are called the "Draw". At the end of the previous season, the teams are divided into two pools according to their performance. Then during the regular season each team will play two games against each team in the opposite pool and one game with each team in their pool. In the end each team plays 24 games and has 2 byes (where no game is played that week) over the 26-week season. Games are played throughout Australia and New Zealand from March through to October each year.
The National Rugby League organises the draw and the finals matches, however when the draw itset at the beginning of the season, the teams are responsible for organising their own home games. Each club has its own organisational structure, but the NRL rules encompass all of the clubs.
The teams are awarded two points for each win, one for a draw, two for a bye and no points for a loss. By the end of the regular season, the minor premier is the team with the highest number of points. The finals round starts off from there, taking the top 8 teams from the points ladder and playing they off against each other in a sudden death series. Each team that loses is out, until just two teams are left in the competition. The season culminates in the grand spectacle that is the Grand Final at Stadium Sydney in early October, where the Premier Club of the season is decided.
Rugby League is fast becoming an international sport, with competitions being held in England, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the US and even Russia as well as countries throughout Europe. The World Cup competition is testament to the popularity of the sport and attracts millions of viewers each year. Once the NRL season is over, the winners of the NRL premiership play against the winners of the European Super League in the World Cup Challenge to add an international element to this already great game
One hundred years of Rugby League in Australia was celebrated last year with all the fanfare and excitement that you would expect for a national icon, and so now this 2009 season marks the dawn of a new century for this great and historical game.
The Sydney Rugby League club competition started in 1908 and eventually became the NRL 1997. There have been many changes over that time so that now there are actually only two of the original teams left from the early days. The Sydney Roosters have been transformed from the Eastern Suburbs Roosters, but remain basically the same club, and the South Sydney Rabbitohs are also somewhat in their original form. In 2000 scandal rocked the Rabbitohs, when they were ejected from the competition for their poor financial status to make way for the new nationalisation of the League. Finally after immense lobbying the Rabbitohs regained their status in the League and continue now into 2009. The Balmain Tigers were also one of the original teams but recently merged with the Wests Magpies to become the Wests Tigers.
New teams continue to join the league with the Gold Coast Titans recently coming in, while many teams wait in the wings for their opportunity to participate in the NRL. The Central Coast Bears and the Southern Orcas from Wellington New Zealand are both scheduled to start in the coming years.
Scandal rocked the League in 1997 when an opposition "Super League" was created by the News Corporation and was run parallel to the NRL. This was not at all popular, but gained News Corp a foot in the door, and they have now joined forces to be partners in the NRL, with just one streamlined competition.
The NRL is one of the great sporting leagues of the world, celebrating the might sport of rugby league, and involving millions of fans in the fervent competition. Many fans participate in the sport by placing bets on the outcomes of the games, and betting pools are immensely popular. Here punter study the draw each week and pick the winners, with the overall winner being the one who picks the most winners over the course of the season. Online betting provides all the opportunity to make your picks without the hassle of getting to the games, finding a bookmaker or jostling with crowds. Why not check it out today to show your support for your favourite team?
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