2008 in rugby league
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2008 was celebrated in Australia as the centenary of rugby league football, as in Australia it was in 1908 that the code broke away from rugby. The highlight of the year was the World Cup, which was held in Australia in October and November 2008.
- 26 January – Jacksonville, USA: The Leeds Rhinos defeat the South Sydney Rabbitohs 26–24 in a pre-season trial match at the University of North Florida before over 12,000.
- 8 February – Warrington, England: The 2008 Super League XIII season starts with the Warrington Wolves defeating Hull 32–20 at Halliwell Jones Stadium before 14,827.
- 29 February – Leeds, England: The 2008 World Club Challenge is won by the Leeds Rhinos who defeat the Melbourne Storm 11 – 4 at Elland Road before 33,204.
- 14 March – Sydney, Australia: The National Rugby League's 2008 Telstra Premiership kicks off at ANZ Stadium with the Sydney Roosters defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 34–20 before 29,386.
- 17 April – Sydney, Australia: The Australian rugby league team of the century is announced.
- 2 May – The 75th annual City vs Country Origin match was played at WIN Stadium, Wollongong before a crowd of 11,365. The game was refereed by Jared Maxwell and kicked off at 8:00pm and finished in an unexpected draw of 22-all. The first known draw in City-Country representative history since 1933, which then was 17 all.
- 9 May – The 2008 Centenary ANZAC Test took place on Friday 9 May at Sydney Cricket Ground, commemorating the first ever trans-Tasman test match which was played precisely one hundred years earlier to the day. Prior to the match the Australian national anthem was performed bysinger and songwriter Julia Messenger, great granddaughter of Dally Messenger who played in the 1908 game. There was some controversy regarding the release of two Super League players, Leeds Rhinos' Brent Webb and Wigan Warriors' Thomas Leuluai as the Test clashed with the 5th round of the 2008 Challenge Cup.
|Try: Gasnier 6', 13'
C. Smith 22'
Goal: Thurston (4)
|Try: Soliola 42'
Goal: J. Smith
- Australia won their 7th straight match over New Zealand with a 28–12 win in the 9th ANZAC Test. The Kangaroos, wearing the original sky blue and maroon hooped jersey from the days before the green & gold, got out to a 22–0 lead (including a remarkably acrobatic try involving Greg Inglis and Mark Gasnier) in only 23 minutes into the match and it remained that scoreline going into the break. New Zealand scored first in the second half only two minutes in bringing it back to 22–6. However Australia put the game beyond doubt when they scored in the 64th minute regaining their margin of 22 points with the New Zealand side scoring a late consolation try finalising the score 28–12.
- 17 May – Béziers, France: Elite One Championship V culminates in Lezignan Sangliers' 26 – 16 win against Pia Donkeys in the final at Stade de la Méditerranée before 8,233.
- 21 May – Game one of the 2008 State of Origin series was played at Sydney's ANZ Stadium before a crowd of 67,620. The game kicked off at 8:00pm and was refereed by Tony Archer. New South Wales defeated Queensland 18 – 10.
11 June 2008
|Queensland||30–0||New South Wales|
|Johnathan Thurston (14 – 7g)
Darius Boyd (8 – 2t)
Ben Hannant (4 – 1t)
Israel Folau (4 – 1t)
27 June 2008
|Tries: Wynne 8'
Goals: Bosc (2/2)
|Report||Tries: Pryce 14'
Gleeson (3) 19', 57', 61'
Goals: Sinfield (5/6)
- 2 July – Sydney, Australia: The 2008 State of Origin is won by Queensland in the third and deciding match of the series against New South Wales at ANZ Stadium before 78,751.
- 26 July – Sydney, Australia: New Zealand international, Sonny Bill Williams departed Australia from Sydney Airport, leaving the NRL for an immediate switch to French rugby union club Toulon, walking out 18 months into a 5-year contract with the Bulldogs club.
- 30 August – London, England: The 2008 Challenge Cup culminates in St. Helens' 28 – 16 win against Hull in the final at Wembley Stadium before 82,821.
- 9 September – Sydney, Australia: The 2008 Dally M Awards are held with Matt Orford being named NRL player of the season.
- 13 September – Ipswich, Australia: The 2008 Queensland Cup culminates in the Ipswich Jets' 24 – 18 win against the Souths Logan Magpies in the grand final.
- 28 September – Auckland, New Zealand: The 2008 Bartercard Premiership culminates in the Canterbury's 38 – 10 win against Auckland in the grand final.
- 4 October – Manchester, England: Super League XIII culminates in the Leeds Rhinos' 24–16 win against St Helens in the final at Old Trafford before 68,810.
- 5 October – Sydney, Australia: The 2008 NRL season culminates in the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles' record-breaking 40 – 0 win against the Melbourne Storm in the grand final at ANZ Stadium before 80,388.
- 10 October - Doncaster, England: In the weeks before the World Cup began nearly half of the teams played warm up matches to prepare themselves for the tournament and to help select their squads.
|England||74 – 0||Wales|
|Try: Briscoe (2)
Goal: Purdham (9)
- 12 October - New Plymouth, New Zealand: In the weeks before the World Cup began nearly half of the teams played warm up matches to prepare themselves for the tournament and to help select their squads.
|All Golds||44 – 10||Māori|
|Try: Vatuvei (2)
Goal: Luke (3)
- 12 October - Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: In the weeks before the World Cup began nearly half of the teams played warm up matches to prepare themselves for the tournament and to help select their squads.
12 October 2008
|PNG Residents||12 – 22||PNG Internationals|
Goal: J. Joe
Goal: Wilshere (3)
- 18 October – Auckland, New Zealand: In the weeks before the World Cup began nearly half of the teams played warm up matches to prepare themselves for the tournament and to help select their squads.
|New Zealand||56 – 8||Tonga|
|Try: Ropati (3)
Goal: Inu (6)
- 24 October – Townsville, Australia: The 2008 Rugby League World Cup tournament commences with a match between England and Papua New Guinea at the Dairy Farmers Stadium.
- 6th – Sydney, Australia: The 10th annual Tom Brock Lecture, entitled From a Federation Game to a League of Nations is delivered by Lex Marinos, OAM.
- 19th – Sydney, Australia: The 2008 Golden Boot award for best international player is given by Australia's Billy Slater.
- 22nd – Brisbane, Australia: The 2008 World Cup tournament culminates in New Zealand's 34 – 20 win against Australia in the final at Suncorp Stadium before 50,599.
- 11th - Sydney, Australia: The National Rugby League announces that the number of on-field referees in premiership matches would increase from one to two from the 2009 season.
- David Riccio (26 July 2008). "Sonny Bill Williams leaves Bulldogs for France". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
- "Sonny Bill Williams to play in Japan before likely switch to NRL". The Daily Telegraph. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- news.bbc.co.uk (11 December 2008). "NRL approves dual referees system". BBC Spoer. Retrieved 25 August 2012.