1980–81 Rugby Football League season

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1980–81 Rugby Football League season
League Slalom Lager Championship
Teams 16
Champions Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
Premiership winners HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers
Man of Steel Wolvescolours.svg Ken Kelly
Top point-scorer(s) Wolvescolours.svg Steve Hesford 310
Top try-scorer(s) Cascolours.png Terry Richardson 28
Promotion and relegation
Promoted from Second Division Balmain colours.svg York
Wigancolours.svg Wigan
Fulham
Haven colours.svg Whitehaven
Relegated to Second Division Faxcolours.svg Halifax
Redscolours.svg Salford
Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
Second Division
Champions Balmain colours.svg York
Top try-scorer(s) Balmain colours.svg John Crossley 35
Seasons

The 1980–81 Rugby Football League season was the 86th season of professional rugby league football in Britain. Sixteen teams competed from August 1980 until May 1981 for the Slalom Lager Championship.

Season summary[edit]

For the only time in their history, Wigan competed outside the top flight of Rugby League in this season. Fulham RLFC joined the competition in Division Two, later becoming the London Crusaders, London Broncos (twice), and Harlequins Rugby League.

Bradford Northern finished on top of the First Division table to claim their second championship, and Hull Kingston Rovers won the Rugby League Premiership competition.

Warrington beat Wigan 26–10 to win the Lancashire County Cup, and Leeds beat Hull Kingston Rovers 8–7 to win the Yorkshire County Cup.

League Tables[edit]

Challenge Cup[edit]

The 1980-81 State Express Challenge Cup was won by Widnes after defeating Hull Kingston Rovers 18-9 in the final.

The Final was played at Wembley before a crowd of 92,496.

New Zealand Kiwis Tour[edit]

September until November also saw the appearance of the New Zealand team in England on their 1980 tour. Other than the three test series against Great Britain, The Kiwis played matches club and county sides.

The 1980 Kiwis were coached by Ces Mountford and were captained by Mark Graham.

Dane O'Hara, who would join Hull F.C. following the tour was the leading try scorer with 6. Scrum half Gordon Smith (who would join Hull Kingston Rovers in 1982) was the tours leading point scorer with 33 from 1 try and 15 goals.

game Date Result Venue Attendance
1 28 September New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool Borough 23–5 Borough Park, Blackpool 1,312
2 5 October New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. Hullcolours.svg Hull 33–10 Boothferry Park, Hull 15,945
3 8 October Cumbria Cumbria def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 9–3 Recreation Ground, Whitehaven 4,070
4 12 October Saintscolours.svg St Helens def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 11–6 Knowsley Road, St Helens 6,000
5 14 October Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 15–10 Odsal Stadium, Bradford 4,553
6 18 October  Great Britain drew with  New Zealand 14–14 Central Park, Wigan 7,031
7 22 October New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 20–12 Craven Park, Hull 9,516
8 26 October New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 25–5 Headingley, Leeds 5,662
9 29 October Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 13–6 Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington 5,680
10 2 November  New Zealand def.  Great Britain 12–8 Odsal Stadium, Bradford 10,946
11 5 November New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. Great Britain colours.svg Great Britain U/24 18–14 Craven Cottage, London 2,397
12 9 November Widnes colours.svg Widnes def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 13–7 Naughton Park, Widnes 6,416
13 11 November New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. Leigh colours.svg Leigh 22–5 Hilton Park, Leigh 3,166
14 15 November  Great Britain def.  New Zealand 10–2 Elland Road, Leeds 8,210

Sources[edit]