1998 NRL season

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1998 National Rugby League
Teams 20
Premiers Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane (3rd title)
Minor premiers Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane (2nd title)
Matches played 253
Points scored 10131 (total)
40.043 (per match)
Attendance 2,937,741 (total)
11,612 (per match)
Top point scorer(s) Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Ivan Cleary (284)
Top try scorer(s) Brisbane colours.svg Darren Smith (23)

The 1998 NRL season was the 91st season of professional rugby league football in Australia, and the inaugural season of the newly formed National Rugby League (NRL). After the 1997 season, in which the Australian Rugby League and Super League organisations ran separate competitions parallel to each other, they joined to create a reunited competition in the NRL. The first professional rugby league club to be based in Victoria, the Melbourne Storm was introduced into the League, and with the closure of the Hunter Mariners, Western Reds and South Queensland Crushers, twenty teams competed for the premiership, which culminated in the 1998 NRL grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs.

Pre-season[edit]

The National Rugby League was formed after an agreement was reached between the two rivaling competitions from 1997, the Australian Rugby League and the Super League. In December 1997, the two parties formed a joint board to run the new Australian rugby league club competition. The vast majority of the 22 clubs that contested in 1997 across the split competitions also contested the first season of the National Rugby League, with the exception of the Hunter Mariners, the Western Reds and South Queensland.

The National Rugby League imposed a $3M salary cap on each of the clubs.[1]

Advertising[edit]

Super League's ad agency VCD in Sydney successfully kept the account post-reunification. The 1998 ad featured the song "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba with its theme of rising against adversity:

I get knocked down! But I get up again; you're never gonna keep me down.

There was no visual performance of the song in the ad which returned to the standard rugby league imagery of big hits and crunching tackles to accompany the track.

Teams[edit]

The closure of the Hunter Mariners, Western Reds and South Queensland Crushers, and the introduction of the Melbourne Storm meant that a total of twenty clubs contested the 1998 Premiership. Eleven of these clubs were from Sydney, the traditional home of the competition, but an agreement between the Australian Rugby League and Super League meant that many of these clubs were in danger of being cut from the competition by the 2000 season when, it was decided, only 14 clubs would be invited to contest the premiership.

Adelaide Rams
2nd season
Ground: Adelaide OvalHindmarsh Stadium
Coach: Rod ReddyDean Lance
Captain: Kerrod Walters
Auckland Warriors
New Zealand home jersey 1997.svg
4th season
Ground: Ericsson Stadium
Coach: Frank Endacott
Captain: Matthew Ridge
Balmain Tigers
Balmain home jersey 1908.svg
91st season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Wayne Pearce
Captain: Darren Senter
Brisbane Broncos
11th season
Ground: ANZ Stadium
Coach: Wayne Bennett
Captain: Allan Langer
Canberra Raiders
17th season
Ground: Bruce Stadium
Coach: Mal Meninga
Captain: Laurie Daley
Canterbury Bulldogs
Canterbury Bulldogs home jersey 1997.svg
64th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Steve Folkes
Captain: Simon GilliesDarren Britt
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
32nd season
Ground: Shark Park
Coach: John Lang
Captain: Andrew Ettinghausen
Gold Coast Chargers
11th season
Ground: Carrara Stadium
Coach: Phil Economidis
Captain: Jamie Goddard
Illawarra Steelers
17th season
Ground: WIN Stadium
Coach: Andrew Farrar
Captain: Paul McGregor
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
52nd season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Bob Fulton
Captain: Geoff Toovey
Melbourne Storm
1st season
Ground: Olympic Park Stadium
Coach: Chris Anderson
Captain: Glenn Lazarus
Newcastle Knights
Newcastle Knights home jersey 1997.svg
11th season
Ground: Marathon Stadium
Coach: Mal Reilly
Captain: Paul Harragon
North Queensland Cowboys
4th season
Ground: Stockland Stadium
Coach: Tim Sheens
Captain: Ian Roberts & John Lomax
North Sydney Bears
91st season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Peter Louis
Captain: Jason Taylor
Parramatta Eels
52nd season
Ground: Parramatta Stadium
Coach: Brian Smith
Captain: Dean Pay
Penrith Panthers
32nd season
Ground: Penrith Stadium
Coach: Royce Simmons
Captain: Steve Carter
Sydney City Roosters
91st season
Ground: Sydney Football Stadium
Coach: Phil Gould
Captain: Brad Fittler
South Sydney Rabbitohs
91st season
Ground: Sydney Football Stadium
Coach: Steve MartinCraig Coleman
Captain: Sean Garlick
St. George Dragons
78th season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Coach: David Waite
Captain: Mark Coyne
Western Suburbs Magpies
91st season
Ground: Campbelltown Stadium
Coach: Tommy Raudonikis
Captain: Paul Langmack

Regular season[edit]

Rounds 5 and 7: Brisbane Broncos set a new record for their biggest win, firstly 58-4 against North Queensland Cowboys, then 60-6 against North Sydney Bears, both games being played at Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre.
Round 8: 1997 ARL premiers, the Newcastle Knights played the 1997 Super League premiers, the Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane won 26-6 in Newcastle before a crowd of 27,119, cementing their position at the top of the ladder.
Round 12: The record for the biggest comeback in premiership history was re-set by the North Queensland Cowboys who trailed 26–0 at half-time and came back to beat the Penrith Panthers 36–28.
Round 24: Ivan Cleary's tally of 284 points set a new individual record for most points scored in a season in Australian club rugby league history; it has since been beaten.

Ladder[edit]

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 24 18 1 5 688 310 +378 37
2 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 24 18 1 5 562 381 +181 37
3 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 24 17 1 6 546 372 +174 35
4 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 24 17 1 6 468 349 +119 35
5 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 24 17 0 7 663 367 +296 34
6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 24 16 0 8 680 383 +297 32
7 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 24 15 0 9 564 429 +135 30
8 St. George colours.svg St. George Dragons 24 13 1 10 486 490 -4 27
9 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 24 13 0 11 489 411 +78 26
10 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24 13 0 11 503 473 +30 26
11 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 12 1 11 438 387 +51 25
12 Illawarra colours.svg Illawarra Steelers 24 11 1 12 476 539 -63 23
13 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers 24 9 1 14 381 463 -82 19
14 Panthers colours.svg Penrith Panthers 24 8 2 14 525 580 -55 18
15 Auckland colours.svg Auckland Warriors 24 9 0 15 417 518 -101 18
16 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Cowboys 24 9 0 15 361 556 -195 18
17 Adelaide colours.svg Adelaide Rams 24 7 0 17 393 615 -222 14
18 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 5 0 19 339 560 -221 10
19 Gold Coast Chargers colours.svg Gold Coast Chargers 24 4 0 20 289 654 -365 8
20 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Magpies 24 4 0 20 371 802 -431 8

Ladder progression[edit]

  • Numbers highlighted in green indicate that the team finished the round inside the top 10.
  • Numbers highlighted in blue indicates the team finished first on the ladder in that round.
  • Numbers highlighted in red indicates the team finished in last place on the ladder in that round
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
1 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 2 4 6 8 10 10 12 14 14 14 16 16 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 29 31 33 35 37
2 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 2 4 6 8 10 10 12 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 24 26 27 29 31 31 31 33 35 37
3 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 2 4 6 8 8 10 12 14 14 16 17 19 21 23 25 25 25 27 27 29 31 33 33 35
4 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 2 4 4 6 8 8 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 24 24 26 28 28 30 32 34 35
5 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 0 2 4 4 6 8 8 10 12 12 14 14 16 18 18 20 22 22 24 26 28 30 32 34
6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 2 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 16 16 18 20 20 22 24 24 26 26 26 28 30 32
7 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 0 0 2 2 4 4 6 8 10 12 12 14 16 16 18 18 20 20 22 24 26 28 30 30
8 St. George colours.svg St. George Dragons 2 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 20 22 22 22 22 24 24 26 26 26 26 27
9 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 2 2 2 2 2 4 6 8 10 10 10 12 12 12 14 14 16 18 18 18 20 22 24 26
10 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 0 2 2 2 2 4 6 6 6 6 8 8 8 8 10 12 14 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
11 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 2 2 2 4 4 6 8 10 10 12 14 14 14 16 18 18 18 19 21 23 23 23 25
12 Illawarra colours.svg Illawarra Steelers 0 2 2 2 2 4 6 6 8 8 9 11 13 13 15 17 19 19 19 19 21 21 23 23
13 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers 2 2 4 6 8 10 10 10 10 10 12 12 12 14 16 16 16 18 18 19 19 19 19 19
14 Panthers colours.svg Penrith Panthers 0 2 2 4 4 4 4 6 6 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 11 12 14 14 14 16 18
15 Auckland colours.svg Auckland Warriors 0 0 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 6 8 8 10 10 12 14 14 14 16 16 18 18 18 18
16 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Cowboys 2 4 6 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 12 14 14 14 14 16 16 18 18 18 18 18 18
17 Adelaide colours.svg Adelaide Rams 0 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 4 4 6 6 6 8 10 12 12 14 14 14 14 14
18 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 2 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 6 6 6 6 8 8 10 10 10
19 Gold Coast Chargers colours.svg Gold Coast Chargers 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 6 6 6 6 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
20 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Magpies 0 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 4 4 6 6 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8


Finals series[edit]

The biggest surprise of the season was when the Melbourne Storm finished 3rd after the regular season in their first ever year, only to be knocked out by the Brisbane Broncos in the Semi Final. The Canterbury Bulldogs became the lowest placed team ever to make the Grand Final, after finishing 9th after the regular season. The Bulldogs did it tough though, coming from 16 points down twice in as many weeks. They came from 16-0 down to win 28-16 against the Newcastle Knights in the Semi Final, then 18-2 down with 11 minutes to go to make it 18-18 after regulation time, then going on to win 32-20 in extra time against the Parramatta Eels in the Preliminary Final.

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Qualifying Finals
Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 17–4 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 28 August 1998 Bruce Stadium Bill Harrigan 15,953
St. George colours.svg St. George Dragons 12–20 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 29 August 1998 Jubilee Oval Steve Clark 16,833
Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 25–12 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 29 August 1998 Parramatta Stadium Kelvin Jeffes 16,033
Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 12–26 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 30 August 1998 Olympic Park Paul McBlane 18,247
Semi Finals
North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 2–23 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 4 September 1998 North Sydney Oval Bill Harrigan 18,718
Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 24–10 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 5 September 1998 Olympic Park Steve Clark 12,592
Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 15–26 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 5 September 1998 Marathon Stadium Kelvin Jeffes 26,482
Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 10–15 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 6 September 1998 ANZ Stadium Paul McBlane 21,172
Preliminary Finals
Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 16–28 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 12 September 1998 Sydney Football Stadium Steve Clark 24,449
Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 30–6 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 13 September 1998 Sydney Football Stadium Bill Harrigan 20,354
Finals
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 18–46 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 19 September 1998 ANZ Stadium Steve Clark 28,374
Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 20–32 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 20 September 1998 Sydney Football Stadium Bill Harrigan 36,841

Grand final[edit]

Main article: 1998 NRL grand final
27 September
Brisbane Broncos 38 - 12[2] Canterbury Bulldogs home jersey 1997.svg Canterbury Bulldogs
7 Tries:
Michael De Vere, Kevin Campion, Tonie Carroll, Wendell Sailor, Gorden Tallis, Phil Lee, Darren Smith
5 Goals:
Darren Lockyer (5/7)
2 Tries:
Tony Grimaldi, Willie Talau

2 Goals:
Darryl Halligan (2/3)

Sydney Football Stadium[3]
Attendance: 40,857[4]
Referee/s: Bill Harrigan[5]
Man of the Match: Gorden Tallis

Post season[edit]

Brisbane's consistent dominance over other teams at this period of time contributed to the National Rugby League's plans to cut the number of teams down to 14 in order to ensure competitiveness and the long-term financial success of the game.[citation needed]

Despite the inclusion of "national" in the new competition's name, both the Gold Coast and Adelaide clubs folded at the end of the 1998 season. A new Gold Coast side re-entered the competition nine years later in 2007.

1998 was the last season for the seventy-eight-year-old St. George Dragons and seventeen-year-old Illawarra Steelers clubs, which merged to form the NRL's first joint-venture team at the conclusion of the season, the St George Illawarra Dragons, for inclusion in the 1999 Premiership.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Toby Miller, Geoffrey A. Lawrence, Jim McKay (2001). Globalization and sport: playing the world. SAGE. p. 82. ISBN 9780761959694. 
  2. ^ Harms, John (2005). The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story. Australia: University of Queensland Press. p. 196. ISBN 9780702235368. 
  3. ^ NRL 1998 - Grand Final at rugbyleagueproject.org
  4. ^ Brisbane 38 v Canterbury 12 - Grand Final, 1998 at stats.rleague.com
  5. ^ 1998 National Rugby League Grand Final at rleague.com