Super League XVI
|Duration||27 Rounds (Followed by 4 round playoffs)|
|Number of teams||14|
Magic Weekend Day 1 (12 February)
Harlequins RL vs. Crusaders (20 February)
|Broadcast partners||Sky Sports|
|League Leaders||Warrington Wolves|
|Man of Steel||Rangi Chase|
|Top point-scorer(s)||Jamie Foster (330)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Ryan Hall (28)|
The 2011 Super League season (known as the Engage Super League XVI for sponsorship reasons) was the sixteenth season of rugby league football since the Super League format was introduced in 1996. Fourteen teams competed for the League Leader's Shield over 27 rounds (including the Magic Weekend at Millennium Stadium), after which the highest finishing teams entered the play-offs to compete for a place in the Grand Final and a chance to win the championship and the Super League Trophy. Leeds Rhinos claimed their fifth Super League crown, tying the record previously held by St Helens, whilst Warrington Wolves lifted the League Leader's Shield.
The season kicked off on 12 February with the Annual "Millennium Magic Weekend", which was brought forward from its usual slot in May. All clubs also participated in the 2011 Challenge Cup tournament.
The first game of the new season was Warrington Wolves vs Huddersfield Giants, a repeat of the 2009 Challenge Cup Final and a repeat of the classic play-off match between the two sides. Former Giants captain and Warrington Full Back Brett Hodgson made his debut for his new club against his old one.
The 2011 season included the introduction of the Rugby League International Origin Match, wherein the England national rugby league team played the RL Exiles, an outfit made up of Australians and New Zealanders playing for Super League clubs. This contest is intended to henceforth become an annual fixture to replace the previously existing annual test against the France national rugby league team, due to the onesidedness of such contests in recent years.
Super League XVI was the third year of a licenced Super League. Under this system, promotion and relegation between Super League and Championship was abolished, and 14 teams were granted licences subject to certain criteria. All twelve teams from Super League XIII were given places, as well as former Super League team Salford City Reds and Crusaders. This was the final year of the initial licencing cycle; a new set of licences would be awarded for 2012–14.
Geographically, the vast majority of teams in Super League are based in the north of England, four teams – Warrington, St Helens, Salford and Wigan – to the west of the Pennines in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and seven teams to the east in Yorkshire – Huddersfield, Bradford, Wakefield, Leeds, Castleford, Hull and Hull KR. Catalans Dragons are the only team based in France and are outside of the UK, Crusaders are the only team in Wales, and Harlequins RL are the only team to be based in a capital city (London).
The maps below indicate the locations of teams that competed in Super League XVI.
|Reigning Super League champions|
|Defending Challenge Cup Champions|
- A new stricter variation on the ruck and holding down was introduced in 2011. When the referee calls "held" and "move", the tackle is deemed to be completed, and any further infringement from that point on in the ruck is penalised.
- All Super League clubs agreed to operate within the £1.7million salary cap for their top 25 first-tier players.
- Quota spots were reduced to 5, meaning only 5 players could be from abroad. However, players from France, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea all count as federation-trained and thus do not count against the quota.
Super League XVI
|3||St Helens RLFC||27||17||3||7||782||515||267||37|
|7||Hull Kingston Rovers||27||14||0||13||713||692||21||28|
|11||Salford City Reds||27||10||0||17||542||809||−267||20|
|13||Wakefield Trinity Wildcats*||27||7||0||20||453||957||−504||10|
|Teams qualifying for the Play-offs|
Classification: 1st on competition points; 2nd on match points difference.
Competition points: for win = 2; for draw = 1; for loss = 0.
The play-offs commenced following the conclusion of the 27-round regular season. To decide the grand finalists from the top eight finishing teams, Super League uses its unique play-off system. The finals concluded with the 2011 Super League Grand Final.
|Date and Time (Local)||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|QUALIFYING AND ELIMINATION FINALS|
|Warrington Wolves||47 – 0||Huddersfield Giants||16 September 2011, 20:00||Halliwell Jones Stadium||Steve Ganson||10,006|
|Catalans Dragons||56 - 6||Hull KR||17 September 2011, 19:45||Stade Gilbert Brutus||James Child||8,413|
|Leeds Rhinos||42 – 10||Hull FC||18 September 2011, 17:15||Headingley Stadium||Ben Thaler||9,075|
|Wigan Warriors||18 - 26||St Helens||18 September 2011, 14:45||DW Stadium||Phil Bentham||12,893|
|Huddersfield Giants||28 – 34||Leeds Rhinos||23 September 2011, 20:00||Galpharm Stadium||Phil Bentham||7,872|
|Wigan Warriors||44 – 0||Catalans Dragons||25 September 2011, 17:00||DW Stadium||Steve Ganson||6,790|
|Warrington Wolves||24 – 26||Leeds Rhinos||30 September 2011, 20:00||Halliwell Jones Stadium||Steve Ganson||12,074|
|St Helens||26 - 18||Wigan Warriors||1 October 2011, 18:00||Stobart Stadium||Phil Bentham||9.421|
|Leeds Rhinos||32 – 16||St Helens||8 October 2011, 18:00||Old Trafford, Manchester||Phil Bentham||69,107|
|2011 Super League play-offs bracket|
Week 1. Qualifying/Elimination play-offs: Fixtures decided by regular reason finishing positions. Higher ranked teams play lower ranked teams. Higher ranked teams receive home ground advantage.
The following are the top points scorers in the Super League during the 2011 season. Statistics also include tries and goals scored in the play-offs.
|Jamie Foster||St Helens||21||123||0||330|
|Brett Hodgson||Warrington Wolves||18||121||0||314|
|Pat Richards||Wigan Warriors||21||115||0||314|
|Kevin Sinfield||Leeds Rhinos||2||138||2||286|
|Scott Dureau||Catalan Dragons||11||92||5||233|
|Patrick Ah Van||Bradford Bulls||9||87||0||210|
|Danny Brough||Huddersfield Giants||8||82||1||197|
|Kirk Dixon||Castleford Tigers||7||84||0||196|
|Luke Gale||Harlequins RL||8||75||2||184|
Awards were presented for outstanding contributions and efforts to players and clubs:
- Man of Steel: Rangi Chase
- Coach of the year: Trent Robinson
- Engage Super League club of the year: Huddersfield Giants
- Young player of the year: Jonny Lomax
- Carnegie community player of the year: Lee Radford
- Frontline Fairplay Index winners: Hull FC
- Metre-maker: James Roby
- Hit Man: Danny Houghton
- Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award: Steve Prescott
This season the Engage Mutual Charity Man of the Match Award sceheme was undertaken as well.
2011 was the last year of a three-year broadcasting agreement between the RFL and BSkyB for Sky Sports to screen matches exclusively live within the United Kingdom. The deal for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 season was worth in excess of £50 million.
Sky Sports continued coverage in the UK that saw two live matches broadcast each week – one on Friday night at 7:30 pm and another usually on Saturday evenings. Regular commentators were Eddie Hemmings and Mike Stephenson with summarisers including Phil Clarke, Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor. Highlights were shown on Boots N' All, shown on Sky Sports and rebroadcast on the Internet.
BBC Sport broadcast a highlights programme called the Super League Show, usually presented by Harry Gration. The BBC elected to broadcast this only to the North West, Yorkshire & North Midlands, North East & Cumbria, and East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire regions on a Sunday. A national repeat was broadcast overnight during the week; the BBC Director of Sport, Richard Moseley, commented that this move was in response to the growing popularity and awareness of the sport, and the large number of requests from people who want to watch it elsewhere in the UK. End of season play-offs are shown across the whole country in a highlights package. Super League Show is available for streaming or downloaded using the BBC iPlayer in the UK.
Orange Sport TV in France aired every Catalans Dragons home match either live or via tape delay.
- BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra (National DAB Digital Radio) normally carry one Super League commentary a week on Friday Nights.
- BBC Manchester will carry commentary of Wigan and Salford whilst sharing commentary of Warrington with BBC Merseyside.
- BBC Humberside will have full match commentary of all Hull KR and Hull matches.
- BBC Leeds carry commentaries featuring Bradford, Leeds, Castleford, Wakefield and Huddersfield.
- BBC Merseyside (AM/DAB only) will have commentary on every St Helens match whilst sharing commentary of Warrington with BBC Manchester.
- BBC London 94.9 airs all Harlequins games home & away, mainly via online streaming only.
Commercial Radio Coverage:
- Wish FM will carry commentaries of Wigan & St Helens matches.
- Wire FM will do full match commentary on Warrington Home & Away.
- BCB 106.6 (Bradford Community Broadcasting) have full match commentary of Bradford Bulls home and away.
- Yorkshire Radio increases its coverage to air 50 games in the 2011 season.
- Radio Warrington (Online Station) all Warrington home games and some away games.
- Radio Marseillette covers every Catalans Dragons Home Match (in French).
- Radio France Bleu Roussillon covers every Catalans Dragons Away Match (in French).
- KCFM Hull will no longer be offering commentary of Hull KR and Hull matches.
All Super League commentaries on any station are available via the particular stations on-line streaming.
ESPN3 has worldwide broadband rights.
Starting from Thursday 9 April 2009, all of the matches shown on Sky Sports will also be available live online via Livestation everywhere in the world excluding the US, Puerto Rico, UK, Ireland, France, Monaco, Australia and New Zealand. List of Super League games available on Livestation.com
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- "RFL docks Wakefield Trinity Wildcats four points". BBC. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
- BBC Sport (26 September 2011). "St Helens opt for Huddersfield Giants in Club Call". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Tim Butcher; Daniel Spencer. Gillette Rugby League Yearbook 2011-12. League Publications Limited. ISBN 978-1-901347-24-1.
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- James Chapelard (2008-07-28). "Licence is Wilkinson's reward for years of support". Crain's Manchester Business. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- John Ledger (2007-11-27). "Super League cashes in". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- engage Super League (Press Release) (2008-11-15). "Channel Nine to show English Super League and Challenge Cup". RLeague.com. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
- SportBusiness (2008-11-17). "Channel Nine inks RFL deals". SportsBusiness. Retrieved 2009-07-26.