League Leader's Shield

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The League Leader’s Shield, often called The Hubcap[1] is a trophy awarded to the team finishing the season top of Super League in the sport of rugby league football. Currently (and for much of its history) the championship is decided on the basis of a play-off series, and the Shield is thus regarded as a lesser prize. Due to it being decided by a 27-game, round-robin league system, some people regard 'the Hubcap' as the hardest honour to win in British rugby league.[citation needed]

British rugby league has been using a play-off series rather than simply awarding the title to the top-placed team for the majority of its history due to a lop-sided fixture list that saw some clubs play other clubs twice and the rest of the clubs only once. From 1907 until 1973 the Championship was awarded to the team winning a top-four play-off (excluding the 2 seasons 1962-63 and 1963–64, when the championship was awarded to the top placed team). From 1907 to 1962 no prize was awarded to the actual team finishing top. From 1965 to 1973 a 'League Leaders Trophy' was introduced to reward the team finishing top.

In 1973, the Championship was split into two divisions (see Second Division), and a new play-off type competition, the Premiership was introduced. The title of "champion" was awarded not to the Premiership winner but the top-placed team.

With the advent of Super League, rugby league again returned to a play-off structure for the championship. Initially, the practice of awarding no prize to the top-placed team was re-introduced. The League Leader's Shield was introduced only in 2003.In 2013 Huddersfield Giants finished top of the highest league in English rugby league for the first time in 81 years.

Shield and Minor Premiership Winners[edit]

The League Leaders Sheild was first awarded in 2003, between 1998 and 2002 the league leaders were the Minor Premierships but were awarded no trophy. The League Leaders of the first 2 Super League seasons were awarded the Super League trophy and crowned the Champions as their was no playoff system before 1998.

Year League Leaders
1998 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
1999 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
2000 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
2001 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
2002 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2003 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
2004 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
2005 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2006 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2007 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2008 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
2009 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
2010 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
2011 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves
2012 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
2013 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants
2014 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
  • Bold- Minor Premiership winner

Most League Leaders[edit]

Club Wins Winning Years
1 Saintscolours.svg St Helens 6 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014
2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 4 1998, 2000, 2010, 2012
3 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 3 1999, 2001, 2003
4 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 2 2004, 2009
5= Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Giants 1 2013
Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 2011
  • Bold- Minor Premierships

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, Andy (2009-07-16). "Battle for Super League play-offs can pull in the fans". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2010-07-12. Retrieved 12 July 2010.