Australian rugby league wooden spooners

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The Australian rugby league wooden spooners are the teams which finished last in the premier top-grade rugby league competition in Australia, which is currently the National Rugby League, and was previously the New South Wales Rugby Football League (1908-1994), the Australian Rugby League (1995-1997), and Super League (1997). Each of these seasons is considered to represent one continuous line of competition dating back from the first season in 1908. The wooden spoon is an unofficial award, however, fans often bring "real" wooden spoons to taunt opposition sides who are struggling on the bottom of the ladder.

Since the Melbourne Storm's salary cap breach which saw them win the wooden spoon in 2010 (more below), betting agencies have instead placed wagers on who would suffer the most losses in a single season, rather than win the wooden spoon itself.

First grade[edit]

Team No. SP  % Years
1 Western Suburbs Magpies 17 92 18.5% 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1916, 1933, 1940, 1942, 1953, 1955, 1971, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1998, 1999
2 Parramatta Eels 13 67 19.4% 1947, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1970, 1972, 2012, 2013
3 University 10 18 55.6% 1921, 1923, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937
4 North Sydney Bears 9 92 9.8% 1915, 1917, 1919, 1932, 1941, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1979
5 Newtown Jets 8 76 10.5% 1924, 1925, 1928, 1939, 1968, 1976, 1977, 1978
6 South Sydney Rabbitohs 8 100 8.0% 1945, 1946, 1962, 1975, 1990, 2003, 2004, 2006
7 Canterbury Bulldogs 5 75 6.7% 1943, 1944, 1964, 2002*, 2008
8 Sydney Roosters 5 102 4.9% 1949, 1963, 1965, 1966, 2009
8 Balmain Tigers 4 92 4.3% 1911, 1974, 1981, 1994
8 Penrith Panthers 4 43 9.3% 1973, 1980, 2001, 2007
12 Gold Coast Chargers 3 11 27.3% 1991, 1992, 1993
12 Annandale 3 11 27.3% 1914, 1918, 1920
12 North Queensland Cowboys 3 19 20.0% 1995, 1997 (SL), 2000
12 Illawarra Steelers 3 17 17.6% 1985, 1986, 1989
12 St. George Dragons 3 78 3.8% 1922, 1926, 1938
17 South Queensland Crushers 2 3 66.7% 1996, 1997
17 Cronulla Sharks 2 43 4.7% 1967, 1969
19 Cumberland 1 1 100.0% 1908
19 Melbourne Storm 1 12 8.3% 2010*
19 Newcastle Knights 1 22 4.5% 2005
19 Canberra Raiders 1 28 3.6% 1982
23 Gold Coast Titans 1 8 12.5% 2011
24 Hunter Mariners 0 1 0.0%
25 Adelaide Rams 0 2 0.0%
26 Newcastle Rebels 0 2 0.0%
27 Northern Eagles 0 3 0.0%
28 Western Reds 0 3 0.0%
29 Wests Tigers 0 10 0.0%
30 St George Illawarra Dragons 0 11 0.0%
31 New Zealand Warriors 0 19 0.0%
32 Brisbane Broncos 0 22 0.0%
33 Glebe 0 22 0.0%
34 Manly Sea Eagles 0 60 0.0%

SP denotes seasons played. % refers to the percentage of seasons played that resulted in wooden spoons.

  • records accurate as of end of 2012 season.[1]

National Youth Competition (Holden Cup)[edit]

Bold teams indicate that the club still exists in the present competition.

Team No. SP Years
1 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 2 6 2011[4], 2013
2 North Queensland Cowboys 1 6 2008
2 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 1 6 2009
2 Parramatta Eels 1 6 2010
2 Gold Coast Titans 1 6 2012
3 Brisbane Broncos 0 6
3 Canberra Raiders 0 6
3 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0 6
3 Melbourne Storm 0 6
3 New Zealand Warriors 0 6
3 Newcastle Knights 0 6
3 Penrith Panthers 0 6
3 South Sydney Rabbitohs 0 6
3 St. George Illawarra Dragons 0 6
3 Sydney Roosters 0 6
3 Wests Tigers 0 6
SP denotes seasons played

Reversing fortunes[edit]

The Western Suburbs Magpies were the only team to finish last in a season (1933) and then back up with a premiership in the following year. In season 2009 the Sydney Roosters finished last, winning just five games, however conjured a remarkable turnaround on and off the field to make the Grand final the following season. In 2003, the Penrith Panthers won a premiership after finishing wooden spooners in 2001, and after finishing Round 2 of the 2003 season in last place (15th).

After winning the 1942 premiership, Canterbury-Bankstown then crashed to last place in season 1943. In 2010 the Melbourne Storm repeated this feat, albeit in unusual circumstances. The Storm then went on to win its first official minor premiership in the 2011 season, before finishing one game short of the Grand Final.

Avoiding the spoon[edit]

Manly have avoided the wooden spoon in their sixty-four completed seasons since entering the competition in 1947 (this period includes the three-year merger period with the North Sydney Bears when the club was part of the Northern Eagles). The closest the club came was in its first year of 1947 and in 2003 with second last placings. The Balmain Tigers also enjoyed a sixty-two season wooden spoon drought from 1911-1974.

None of the merged clubs (Wests Tigers, Northern Eagles or St. George Illawarra) have ever won a wooden spoon.

Notes[edit]

1 ^ The club has since merged with another club to form a joint venture.
2 ^ The Canterbury Bulldogs finished last after they received a 37 premiership points deduction for gross salary cap breaches. Despite their punishment, statistically South Sydney were the worst performing team of the 2002 season, finishing with 14 competition points and a win/loss ratio of 5/19 compared to the Bulldog's 20/4 result which, discarding their deduction, would have earned them 44 competition points.
3 ^ The Melbourne Storm finished last on zero points after they received an 8 premiership points deduction and were barred from receiving further premiership points for the rest of the season due to long-term gross salary cap breaches. Despite their punishment, statistically the North Queensland Cowboys were the poorest performing team of the 2010 season, finishing with 14 competition points and a win/loss ratio of 5/19 compared to Melbourne's 14/10 result which, discarding their ban, would have earned them 32 competition points.
4 ^ Whilst the first grade side won the 2011 premiership, their Toyota Cup counterparts endured a long season at the bottom of the ladder. The first grade side has never won the wooden spoon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Premiership Records". nrl.com. Retrieved 22 October 2012.