Adelaide Rams

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Adelaide Rams
Adelaide 1998.jpg
Club information
Full name Adelaide Rugby League Football Club
Founded 13 December 1995 (first season: 1997)
Departed 1998
Former details
Ground(s) Adelaide Oval (1997-1998) (30,000)
Hindmarsh Stadium (1998) (16,500)
CEO(s) Tim Pickup (1995-96)
Liz Dawson (1996-98)
Coach(s) Rod Reddy (1995–98)
Dean Lance (1998)
Captain(s) Kerrod Walters (1997–98)
Competition Super League and NRL
1997
1998
9th of 10
17th of 20
Records
Most capped 41 - Kerrod Walters
Most points 116 - Graham Appo

The Adelaide Rams were an Australian professional rugby league football club based in Adelaide, South Australia. The team was formed in 1995 for the planned rebel Super League competition, which eventually ran parallel to the rival Australian Rugby League (ARL) competition in 1997. The Rams lasted two seasons, the first in the Super League competition in 1997 and the second in the first season of the National Rugby League (NRL) in 1998. The Rams were not a successful club, winning only 13 out of 42 games. However crowd numbers in the first season were the fifth highest of any first-grade club that year, but dwindled to sixteenth in the second season. The Adelaide club was shut down at the end of the 1998 season as a result of poor on-field performances, dwindling crowd numbers, financial losses and a reduction in the number of teams in the NRL. They remain the only team from the state of South Australia to have participated in top-level rugby league in Australia.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

The Australian rules football code, with origins as far back as 1843,[1] had long dominated sport in the state. South Australia had two teams competing in the national Australian rules competition, the Australian Football League (AFL) (the Adelaide Crows and Port Power, the latter starting in the AFL in the same year as the Rams first season in Super League while the Crows won their first two AFL premierships in the same two years the Rams played. The new team from Port Adelaide, who already had a large fan base in the local South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, and the Crows successes in 1997-98 made it much harder for the Rams to compete for fan support. Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, was considered an Aussie rules stronghold, and in the SANFL had the oldest Aussie Rules Football league, and indeed the oldest league of any code, in Australia; and a viable Rugby Union competition since 1932 [1] The South Australian Rugby League (SARL) also had a First Grade Premiership competition in place since 1976, while league been played competitively in Adelaide since the late 1940s.[2]

The New South Wales Rugby League premiership (NSWRL) begun in 1908, as a rugby league competition mostly for clubs in the Sydney region of Australia (a team from Newcastle competed in 1908-09), a situation that lasted until 1982. The competition then expanded outside of NSW to Canberra, and to outside of Sydney with a team from Wollongong, and eventually in 1988 to Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Queensland. In 1992 the NSWRL decided to extend the competition further, by admitting four new teams for the 1995 competition from Western Australia, New Zealand and Queensland. The NSWRL also decided to test the viability of a rugby league team from the South Australian capital, and between 1991 and 1995 programmed five matches to be played in Adelaide at the famous Adelaide Oval. In 1991, the St. George (whose primary sponsor was Adelaide-based winery Penfolds) and Balmain match attracted 28,884 people, the largest attendance for any rugby league game in South Australia and the largest of the entire minor round of the 1991 NSWRL season.[3] Around 20,000 attended the two matches in 1992 and 1993, and around 10,000 in 1994 and 1995.[3] Despite this evidence of popular appeal, the NSWRL, already in the process of setting up a 20-team competition, could not see their way to admitting a team from Adelaide and their preferred option was a team from Melbourne instead (the Melbourne Storm would be formed in 1998).[4]

Some Adelaide fans still see the unofficial reason for the Rams eventual and early demise being that the Rams were a team made for Super League and therefore were not really wanted by those from the traditional Sydney-based competition. It had long been known that the Australian Rugby League (ARL) administration were much more interested in gaining a stronghold in Melbourne rather than Adelaide (the ARL's dominance in Sydney and Brisbane had been threatened when VFL club South Melbourne had moved to Sydney in 1982 to become the Sydney Swans, while the Brisbane Bears had formed to join the VFL in 1987). It was felt that the Rams were a sacrificial trade off in order to keep the Storm in the new competition from 1999. Ironically, the Melbourne Storm would win the 1999 NRL Grand Final. Another unofficial rumour was that Adelaide was being punished for the SARL's decision to sign with Super League in 1995 rather than stay loyal to the ARL, while the Melbourne based Victorian Rugby League had stayed loyal to the establishment.

Formation[edit]

In 1994 the media company News Limited began developing a rival competition to the long-established NSWRL premiership: the "Super League" premiership. In response to this move the Australian Rugby League (ARL), the governing body of rugby league in Australia, took over the NSWRL. After 8 of the 20 teams in the ARL competition signed with News Limited (to play in their proposed Super League competition in 1996) the organization began looking for further teams to make the new competition viable. In June 1995 the South Australian Rugby League (SARL), which governs the game of rugby league in South Australia, officially signed with Super League, who subsequently gave them a licence to form a franchise which would allow the SARL to create a Super League team.[4]

The team was owned and supported by News Limited. Former Australian representatives Tim Pickup and Rod Reddy were named inaugural CEO and head coach respectively. Pickup played a major role in assembling the playing roster as well as establishing training headquarters and was the Rams delegate for all of the Super League court hearings. No expense was spared converting a former sanitarium into a world-class sporting complex that was home to the largest weight-lifting gym in the southern hemisphere.

On 13 December 1995 the SARL officially launched the 'Adelaide Rams',the tenth and final team to join the Super League competition. In early March the ARL were successful in gaining an injunction, a legal ruling that prevented the Super League from beginning competition in 1996, and the Rams were put on hold and Tim Pickup stood down from his post in the ensuing months. In mid-1996 News Limited successfully appealed this ruling, which enabled the competition to proceed. George Gregan was approached to be the starting halfback for the new team for "seriously more money than" he would earn playing rugby union, but he opted to remain in the 15-man code.[5] The first, and only Super League season, was held in 1997,[4] and the Rams were part of it.

Inaugural season[edit]

SARL appointed the former Auckland Warriors marketing manager Liz Dawson as Pickup's replacement as the Rams' chief executive – the first female chief executive of any rugby league club in either the ARL or the Super League. The club had appointed St. George Dragons international back rower Rod Reddy to be their inaugural coach, along with two-time NSWRL premiership-winning hooker Kerrod Walters from the Brisbane Broncos to be the first captain of the team. Most of the junior players were drawn from the SARL's lower grade competitions in the region.[4]

The club played its first premiership match against the North Queensland Cowboys and, after leading 16–4 at half time, eventually lost 24–16.

Their first home match, against the Hunter Mariners, was also the Rams' first win, and drew their record home attendance of 27,435 to the Adelaide Oval, one of only two home wins for the season. The Rams also won four away games with their first being in Round 4 against the Auckland Warriors at the Ericsson Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, but their overall record of 6 wins, 11 losses and 1 draw placed them second last on the Super League premiership ladder, one win ahead of North Queensland.[4]

Adelaide Rams 1997 Super League season results[6]
Round Home Scoreline Away Date Venue Crowd
1 North Queensland Cowboys 24 - 16 Adelaide Rams 1 March Dairy Farmers Stadium 17,738
2 Brisbane Broncos 28 - 12 Adelaide Rams 9 March ANZ Stadium 16,279
3 Adelaide Rams 10 - 8 Hunter Mariners 14 March Adelaide Oval 27,435
4 Auckland Warriors 12 - 16 Adelaide Rams 21 March Ericsson Stadium 13,000
5 Adelaide Rams 16 - 18 Perth Reds 27 March Adelaide Oval 16,294
6 Canterbury Bulldogs 34 - 22 Adelaide Rams 6 April Belmore Sports Ground 7,234
7 Adelaide Rams 10 - 20 Brisbane Broncos 13 April Adelaide Oval 17,633
8 Cronulla Sharks 18 - 29 Adelaide Rams 19 April Shark Park 10,112
9 Penrith Panthers 16 - 22 Adelaide Rams 27 April Penrith Football Stadium 5,815
10 Adelaide Rams 14 - 14 North Queensland Cowboys 2 May Adelaide Oval 15,970
11 Adelaide Rams 22 - 42 Canterbury Bulldogs 23 May Adelaide Oval 15,022
12 Adelaide Rams 18 - 34 Canberra Raiders 1 June Adelaide Oval 13,894
13 Perth Reds 4 - 28 Adelaide Rams 29 June W.A.C.A 7,204
14 Hunter Mariners 10 - 2 Adelaide Rams 5 July Topper Stadium 2,345
15 Adelaide Rams 8 - 18 Auckland Warriors 11 July Adelaide Oval 13,278
16 Adelaide Rams 6 - 28 Cronulla Sharks 8 August Adelaide Oval 7,231
17 Canberra Raiders 58 - 16 Adelaide Rams 17 August Canberra Stadium 7,960
18 Adelaide Rams 36 - 16 Penrith Panthers 22 August Adelaide Oval 11,211

The Rams did not achieve much greater success in the 1997 World Club Championship, a newly formatted tournament involving teams from both the Australian and European Super League competitions. The Rams won all their matches played in Australia but lost two of their three matches in Europe, which meant that they failed to reach the series finals.[4][7]

Following the unification of the Super League and ARL competitions after the 1997 season, a new National Rugby League (NRL) competition was formed. This meant that three teams would be demised, as part of the rationalisation process aimed at reducing teams to an optimal number. With the introduction of the Melbourne Storm, and an agreement between Super League and the ARL to have a competition limited to 14 teams by 2000, the future for the Rams looked bleak. However, the Rams' home ground support, which averaged 15,330 fans each week, ensured that they remained in the unified 1998 competition.[4][8]

Final season[edit]

The demise of three clubs from the Super League and ARL (Western Reds and Hunter Mariners (SL), and South Queensland Crushers (ARL)) saw some player re-shuffling, and brought Noel Goldthorpe, Tony Iro and Matt Daylight to the Adelaide club.[7] However, after the Rams lost nine of their first ten games, coach Reddy and the entire coaching staff were sacked by the Rams' administration. Reddy was replaced by former Perth Reds coach Dean Lance and mid-season saw the arrival of Canberra Raiders utility back Graham Appo.

In June the club changed home grounds from the Adelaide Oval to Hindmarsh Stadium, celebrating the move with a record 52 - 0 win over the Balmain Tigers.[9]

The club went on to win six of their last fourteen games after Lance's arrival, enough to avoid the wooden spoon awarded to the team finishing lowest on the competition ladder. Their overall results were comparable to those of their first season, coming fourth last in the 20–team competition. Appo broke several team records in his 14 games with the Rams. Throughout the 1998 season, the Rams attempted to build a stronger supporter base, to avoid removal from the competition in 1999 or 2000; however, average home attendance dwindled to 7,472 over the course of the season.[4][8]

Adelaide Rams 1998 NRL season results[6]
Round Home Scoreline Away Date Venue Crowd
1 Adelaide Rams 8 – 18 North Queensland Cowboys 13 March Adelaide Oval 11,289
2 Manly Sea Eagles 22 - 6 Adelaide Rams 22 March Brookvale Oval 6,434
3 Adelaide Rams 22 - 20 Canterbury Bulldogs 27 March Adelaide Oval 8,390
4 Penrith Panthers 54 - 12 Adelaide Rams 5 April Penrith Football Stadium 6,637
5 Adelaide Rams 8 - 16 Gold Coast Chargers 9 April Adelaide Oval 7,058
6 Sydney City Roosters 50 - 12 Adelaide Rams 17 April Sydney Football Stadium 6,200
7 Adelaide Rams 12 - 22 Cronulla Sharks 25 April Adelaide Oval 8,472
8 Canterbury Bulldogs 30 - 4 Adelaide Rams 3 May Belmore Sports Ground 5,041
9 Adelaide Rams 18 - 24 Canberra Raiders 8 May Adelaide Oval 6,500
10 Parramatta Eels 18 - 2 Adelaide Rams 16 May Pioneer Oval 7,514
11 Adelaide Rams 35 - 18 Penrith Panthers 23 May Adelaide Oval 5,000
12 Western Suburbs Magpies 36 - 24 Adelaide Rams 31 May Campbelltown Stadium 6,392
13 Adelaide Rams 22 - 20 St. George Dragons 6 June Adelaide Oval 8,506
14 Melbourne Storm 24 - 4 Adelaide Rams 13 June Olympic Park 8,293
15 Adelaide Rams 4 - 39 Illawarra Steelers 20 June Bennett Oval 5,153
16 Gold Coast Chargers 12 - 40 Adelaide Rams 27 June Carrara Stadium 3,897
17 Adelaide Rams 52 - 0 Balmain Tigers 3 July Hindmarsh Stadium 7,351
18 South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 - 34 Adelaide Rams 12 July Sydney Football Stadium 4,060
19 North Queensland Cowboys 14 - 10 Adelaide Rams 18 July Dairy Farmers Stadium 11,340
20 Adelaide Rams 22 - 20 Auckland Warriors 26 July Hindmarsh Stadium 7,445
21 Brisbane Broncos 46 - 12 Adelaide Rams 1 August ANZ Stadium 13,858
22 Adelaide Rams 10 - 32 Manly Sea Eagles 7 August Hindmarsh Stadium 7,459
23 Adelaide Rams 0 - 36 North Sydney Bears 15 August Hindmarsh Stadium 7,035
24 Newcastle Knights 34 - 20 Adelaide Rams 22 August Marathon Stadium 17,281

The NRL had planned to continue a 20–team competition in 1999, with a reduction to 14 teams in 2000. The Rams' management had their minds set on a place in the reduced competition, and went on a buying spree, obtaining rights for players that they hoped would be productive enough for the team to survive the cut in 2000. However, after the merger between rugby league clubs St. George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers, News Limited told the Rams they would no longer receive funding. The cost of building and sustaining an uncompetitive rugby league team in an area dominated by another football sport had resulted in News Limited incurring heavy financial losses. Subsequent attempts to merge with a Sydney club failed, and the NRL demised the Rams on 1 December 1998.[4] There was disappointment in the lack of commitment shown to the Adelaide club.

You cannot expect the Rams to have won over South Australians after just two seasons in such an Aussie Rules stronghold, especially given the extraordinary nature of those seasons.

— South Australian Opposition Leader, Mike Rann, 1998[10]

Future[edit]

While the Adelaide Rams have folded, numbers in junior rugby league in Adelaide have risen, and the SARL has begun again to promote the idea of a team based in Adelaide.[11] Due to its efforts, NRL teams have been brought to the city to revive interest; in 2006 the Penrith Panthers scheduled a home game at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium while their home ground was under renovation.[12] The NRL helped with the promotion of the match, although the SARL were disappointed with the small crowd of 7,017.[13] In 2008, Sydney based club the Cronulla Sharks announced they would play three matches over the next three years at Adelaide, with coach Ricky Stuart saying he wanted Adelaide to become the Sharks' second home. SARL general manager Bruce Walker has suggested that the NRL itself should take more responsibility for scheduling games in Adelaide.[14] The 2009 match against North Queensland Cowboys attracted 8,547 people.[15] However, at the end of the 2008 NRL season, the leagues Centenary year, the Sharks decided to concentrate on their home fans and were allowed out of their contract to play in Adelaide after just one game.

In 2010, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs took their home match against the Melbourne Storm to Adelaide in which Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs defeating the Melbourne Storm 20-18 where the game attracted 10,350 people at Adelaide Oval.

In 2008, several NRL club bosses expressed the view that the NRL should be a "national" competition,[16] since it now had teams from all around Australia rather than just on the eastern seaboard. Such a move would increase the competition's revenue. Peter Parr, the CEO of the North Queensland Cowboys and former assistant coach for the Rams in 1998, said that if the NRL had stuck with the Adelaide Rams, then rugby league in Adelaide might have flourished, making comparisons with the Melbourne Storm, a team performing successfully on and off the field in the AFL's heartland.[16]

Colours, emblem and stadium[edit]

The emblem of the team was a ram (a male sheep). The ram was chosen, according to Super League chief executive John Ribot, because it was "readily identifiable with strength and hardness".[7] This name was considered a better alternative to the first choice, the Adelaide Aces (through a proposed sponsorship link with the Adelaide Casino), which Ribot believed was too soft a name and did not work well as a brand for a Super League team. The main colours of the Adelaide Rams were red and blue, although there was yellow in their emblem to reflect South Australia's traditional sporting colours. Their jerseys remained red and blue until the last game they played in 1998, when they used a mainly yellow jersey to avoid a colour clash with the similar jerseys of the Newcastle Knights (who were the home team).[7]

The Rams' initial home ground was Adelaide Oval, a round park that had been used for cricket and Australian Rules Football for over a century. For their first season they had average home attendances of 15,330, the fourth highest of the Super League teams and fifth highest of all 22 teams in both competitions.[4][17] In 1998, however, the Rams' home attendances diminished, dropping to an average of about 7,500, the fourth lowest of any team in the 20–team competition.[4][8][17]

During 1998, the South Australian Cricket Association had ongoing problems with the SARL and the Rams' use of their stadium, Adelaide Oval. The Rams then moved to Hindmarsh Stadium, a rectangular stadium more suited to rugby league and owned by the South Australian Soccer Association. They celebrated with a 52-0 defeat over Balmain in the their first match at the stadium. However, attendances did not improve after the move, falling below 7,500.[4][8]

The Rams highest attendance at Adelaide Oval was 27,435 set in their inaugural home game against the Hunter Mariners. Their record attendance at Hindmarsh was 7,459 for their clash with 1997 ARL Grand Finalists, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

Records and statistics[edit]

Most games for club[edit]

Most points for club[edit]

Most tries for club[edit]

  • 12, Graham Appo (1998)

Most goals for club[edit]

Most points in a season[edit]

  • 116 (12 tries, 34 goals), Graham Appo in 1998

Most tries in a season[edit]

  • 12, Graham Appo in 1998

Most goals in a season[edit]

  • 34, Graham Appo in 1998

Most points in a match[edit]

Most tries in a match[edit]

  • 3, Graham Appo against Gold Coast Chargers on 27 June 1998

Most goals in a match[edit]

  • 8, Graham Appo vs Balmain Tigers on 3 July 1998

Highest Attendance (home)[edit]

Highest Attendance (away)[edit]

Lowest Attendance (home)[edit]

Lowest Attendance (away)[edit]

Club Records[edit]

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Effective 3 April 2014
Biggest Win 52-0 vs Balmain Tigers (1998)
Biggest Loss 16-58 vs Canberra Raiders (1997)
12-54 vs Penrith Panthers (1998)
Consecutive Wins 3 - (1998)
Consecutive Losses 7 - (1998)
Clubs (Most Wins Against) Auckland Warriors - 3
Clubs (Most Losses To) Cronulla Sharks - 3
Adelaide Oval Record Played 16 - (W) 5 / (L) 10 / (D) 1
Hindmarsh Stadium Record Played 4 - (W) 2 / (L) 2 / (D) 0

Biggest Wins[edit]

Margin Score Opposition Venue Date
52 52-0 Balmain Tigers Hindmarsh Stadium 3 July 1998
28 40-12 Gold Coast Chargers Carrara Stadium 27 June 1998
24 28-4 Western Reds WACA 29 June 1997

Biggest Loses[edit]

Margin Score Opposition Venue Date
42 16-58 Canberra Raiders Bruce Stadium 17 August 1997
42 12-54 Penrith Panthers Penrith Football Stadium 5 April 1998
38 12-50 Sydney City Roosters Sydney Football Stadium 17 April 1998

Team performance summary[edit]

The Rams did not win any premierships, minor premierships or wooden spoons in their two seasons. Their biggest win was 52-0 over the Balmain Tigers in 1998 and their biggest losing margin was 42 points, which occurred twice: against the Canberra Raiders in 1997 and the Penrith Panthers in 1998.[4] The Rams had a 32.14% win percentage for all of their premiership games, which made them statistically the sixth worst team in first grade rugby league in Australia, out of 33 teams.[18]

Inaugural Team[edit]

North Queensland Cowboys 24 def. Adelaide Rams 16
Date: 1 March 1997
Venue: Stockland Stadium (Townsville)
Attendance: 17,738
Referee: Brian Grant

No. Position Player
3 Australia FB Michael Maguire
22 Australia WG Wayne Simonds
25 New Zealand CE Solomon Kiri
4 Papua New Guinea CE Elias Paiyo
44 Fiji WG Joe Tamani
33 Australia FE Kurt Wrigley
7 Australia HB Stuart Topper
11 Australia PR Andrew Hick
27 Australia HK Kerrod Walters (c)
No. Position Player
10 Australia PR Marty McKenzie
13 Australia SR Dave Boughton
12 Australia SR Brett Galea
8 Australia LK Cameron Blair
36 Australia RE Kevin Campion
6 Australia RE Chris Quinn
9 Australia RE Steve Stone
17 Papua New Guinea RE Bruce Mamando

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "History of the SANFL". SANFL. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  2. ^ SARL History
  3. ^ a b Jeffs, Paul. "Rugby League Tables / Attendances Adelaide". Rleague. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Whiticker, Alan & Collis, Ian (2004). The History of Rugby League Clubs. New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-74110-075-5. 
  5. ^ Gregan, George (2008). Halfback, Half Forward. Australia: Pan Macmillan. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-4050-3861-4. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Jeffs, Paul. "Rugby League Tables / All Games / Adelaide". Rleague. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  7. ^ a b c d Fagan, Sean. "Rugby League History – RL1908.com – Adelaide Rams". RL1908. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  8. ^ a b c d Jeffs, Paul. "Rugby League Tables / Attendances / Adelaide". Rleague. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  9. ^ AP (1998-07-05). "Newcastle stay top despite tie". sportsillustrated.cnn.com (Australia: CNN/SI). Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  10. ^ AAP Sports News (1998-12-02). "Rams deserved better says Rann". Australia. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  11. ^ Read, Brent (8 February 2007). "Tigers spread word in Adelaide". The Australian. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  12. ^ "Panthers travel to City of Churches, praying to keep run going". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  13. ^ "NRL should stick with SA, says Kidwell". The Age. 16 April 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  14. ^ Wills, Daniel (2 October 2008). "Sharks to play in Adelaide". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  15. ^ Brettig, Daniel (14 April 2009). "North Queensland finally click into gear to defeat Cronulla 34-10 in Adelaide". FoxSports. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  16. ^ a b Read, Brett (21 June 2008). "Keep Adelaide, Perth on radar". The Australian. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  17. ^ a b Jeffs, Paul. 1997 ARL Attendances and 1997 SL Attendances. Rleague Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  18. ^ Jeffs, Paul. "Rugby League Tables / Win – Loss Records / All Teams". Rleagues. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 

References[edit]

  • Mike Colman, Super League : The Inside story. Pan Macmillan Publishing 1996

External links[edit]