Australian rugby league wooden spooners

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The Australian rugby league wooden spooners are the team that finished last in the premier top-grade rugby league competition in Australia, which is currently the National Rugby League, and was previously the New South Wales Rugby Football League (1908-1994), the Australian Rugby League (1995-1997), and Super League (1997). Each of these seasons is considered to represent one continuous line of competition dating back from the first season in 1908. The wooden spoon is an unofficial award, however, fans often bring "real" wooden spoons to taunt opposition sides who are struggling on the bottom of the ladder.

Since the Melbourne Storm's salary cap breach which saw them win the wooden spoon in 2010 (more below), betting agencies have instead placed wagers on who would suffer the most losses in a single season, rather than win the wooden spoon itself.

First grade[edit]

Team No. SP % Years
1 Western Suburbs Magpies 17 92 18.5% 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1916, 1933, 1940, 1942, 1953, 1955, 1971, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1998, 1999
2 Parramatta Eels 14 72 19.4% 1947, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1970, 1972, 2012, 2013, 2018
3 Sydney University 10 18 55.6% 1921, 1923, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937
4 North Sydney Bears 9 92 9.8% 1915, 1917, 1919, 1932, 1941, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1979
5 Newtown Jets 8 76 10.5% 1924, 1925, 1928, 1939, 1968, 1976, 1977, 1978
5 South Sydney Rabbitohs 8 109 7.3% 1945, 1946, 1962, 1975, 1990, 2003, 2004, 2006
6 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 5 84 6% 1943, 1944, 1964, 2002*, 2008
6 Sydney Roosters 5 111 4.5% 1949, 1963, 1965, 1966, 2009
7 Newcastle Knights 4 31 12.9% 2005, 2015, 2016, 2017
7 Balmain Tigers 4 92 4.3% 1911, 1974, 1981, 1994
7 Penrith Panthers 4 52 7.7% 1973, 1980, 2001, 2007
8 Gold Coast Chargers 3 11 27.3% 1991, 1992, 1993
8 Annandale 3 11 27.3% 1914, 1918, 1920
8 North Queensland Cowboys 3 24 12.5% 1995, 1997 (SL), 2000
8 Illawarra Steelers 3 17 17.6% 1985, 1986, 1989
8 St. George Dragons 3 78 3.8% 1922, 1926, 1938
8 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 3 52 5.8% 1967, 1969, 2014
9 South Queensland Crushers 2 3 66.7% 1996, 1997
9 Gold Coast Titans 2 13 100.0% 2011, 2019
10 Cumberland 1 21 4.8% 1908
10 Canberra Raiders 1 37 2.7% 1982
10 Melbourne Storm 1 12 8.3% 2010
11 Hunter Mariners 0 1 0.0%
11 Adelaide Rams 0 2 0.0%
11 Newcastle Rebels 0 2 0.0%
11 Northern Eagles 0 3 0.0%
11 Western Reds 0 3 0.0%
11 Wests Tigers 0 19 0.0%
11 St. George Illawarra Dragons 0 20 0.0%
11 Glebe 0 22 0.0%
11 New Zealand Warriors 0 24 0.0%
11 Brisbane Broncos 0 31 0.0%
11 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 0 72 0.0%

SP denotes seasons played. % refers to the percentage of seasons played that resulted in wooden spoons.

  • records accurate as of end of 2012 season.[1]

NRL Women's Premiership[edit]

Bold teams indicate that the club still exists in the present competition.

National Youth Competition (Holden Cup)[edit]

Team No. SP Years
1 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 3 10 2011[4], 2013, 2016
2 North Queensland Cowboys 1 10 2008
2 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 1 10 2009
2 Parramatta Eels 1 10 2010
2 Gold Coast Titans 1 10 2012
2 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 1 10 2014
2 South Sydney Rabbitohs 1 10 2015
2 New Zealand Warriors 1 10 2017
3 Brisbane Broncos 0 10
3 Canberra Raiders 0 10
3 Melbourne Storm 0 10
3 Newcastle Knights 0 10
3 Penrith Panthers 0 10
3 St. George Illawarra Dragons 0 10
3 Sydney Roosters 0 10
3 Wests Tigers 0 10
SP denotes seasons played

Canterbury Cup NSW[edit]

Team No. SP Years
1 Western Suburbs Magpies 2 7 2012, 2017
1 Newcastle Knights 2 7 2016, 2018
2 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 1 6 2011
2 Wyong Roos 1 7 2013
2 North Sydney Bears 1 7 2014
2 Wentworthville Magpies 1 7 2015
2 Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 1 3 2019
3 Mount Pritchard Mounties 0 7
3 Penrith Panthers 0 7
3 St. George Illawarra Dragons 0 1
3 Illawarra Cutters 0 6
3 Newtown Jets 0 7
3 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 2
3 Windsor Wolves 0 3
3 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0 3
3 South Sydney Rabbitohs 0 1
3 New Zealand Warriors 0 6
SP denotes seasons played, Bold denotes team is still in competition

Intrust Super Cup QLD[edit]

Bold teams indicate that the club still exists in the present competition.

Brisbane Rugby League premiership[edit]

Bold teams indicate that the club still exists in the present competition.

Ron Massey Cup[edit]

Team No. SP Years
1 Kingsgrove Colts 3 2013, 2015, 2016
2 Brothers Penrith 2 2018, 2019
3 Western Suburbs Magpies 1 2017
3 Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 1 2012
3 Burwood North Ryde 1 2014
4 Concord-Burwood-Glebe Wolves 0
4 Auburn Warriors 0
4 Wentworthville Magpies 0
4 St Marys Saints 0
4 The Entrance Tigers 0
4 St Johns Eagles 0
4 Windsor Wolves 0
4 Asquith Magpies 0
4 Guildford Owls 0
4 Cabramatta Two Blues 0
4 Newtown Jets 0
SP denotes seasons played, Bold denotes still in competition

Reversing fortunes[edit]

The Western Suburbs Magpies were the only team to finish last in a season (1933) and then back up with a premiership in the following year. In season 2009 the Sydney Roosters finished last, winning just five games, however conjured a remarkable turnaround on and off the field to make the Grand final the following season. In 2003, the Penrith Panthers won a premiership after finishing wooden spooners in 2001, and after finishing Round 2 of the 2003 season in last place (15th). In 2014 the Cronulla Sharks were the wooden spoon recipients. They went on to win the 2016 Premiership.

After winning the 1942 premiership, Canterbury-Bankstown then crashed to last place in season 1943. In 2010 the Melbourne Storm repeated this feat, albeit in unusual circumstances. The Storm then went on to win its first official minor premiership in the 2011 season, before finishing one game short of the Grand Final.

Avoiding the spoon[edit]

As of 2019, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have avoided the wooden spoon in their 70 completed seasons since entering the competition in 1947. They are the only current pre-1988 club to have avoided the wooden spoon. Four other current clubs have also never claimed the wooden spoon: Brisbane Broncos (31 seasons), New Zealand Warriors (24), St. George Illawarra (20), and Wests Tigers (19).

The Balmain Tigers enjoyed a sixty-two season wooden spoon drought from 1911-1974, and St. George Dragons had went 60 seasons (1939-1998) prior to the joint venture with the Illawarra Steelers

Spoon Bowl[edit]

In recent NRL seasons, the media had started to describe the matches between the two last placed sides as the "Spoon Bowl". One of the first instances the term being used was in 2011 when the Parramatta Eels and the Gold Coast Titans played against each other in the final match of the regular season with the loser receiving the wooden spoon. In 2014, the term was used again when Canberra played against Cronulla with both sides sitting on the bottom of the table. In 2015, Newcastle and Penrith played against each other in the third instance of the "Spoon Bowl" term to be used. In 2017, the Wests Tigers and Newcastle played in the fourth spoon bowl game with Wests defeating Newcastle and avoiding last place. In 2018, Parramatta who were in last place and Canterbury who were in second last faced off against each other in the fifth edition of the spoon bowl. There were fears before the match that it could have been the lowest crowd for an NRL game in 20 years. Parramatta went on to win the game 14-8. In Round 24 of the 2018 season, Parramatta played against North Queensland in the sixth edition of the spoon bowl. North Queensland won the match 44-6 in Townsville which was also Johnathan Thurston's final home game before retirement, the match was also Matt Scott's 250th game. The result ensured Parramatta finished with the wooden spoon, their 14th in total.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Notes[edit]

1 ^ The club has since merged with another club to form a joint venture.
2 ^ The Canterbury Bulldogs finished last after they received a 37 premiership points deduction for gross salary cap breaches. Despite their punishment, statistically South Sydney were the worst performing team of the 2002 season, finishing with 14 competition points and a win/loss ratio of 5/19 compared to the Bulldog's 20/4 result which, discarding their deduction, would have earned them 44 competition points.
3 ^ The Melbourne Storm finished last on zero points after they received an 8 premiership points deduction and were barred from receiving further premiership points for the rest of the season due to long-term gross salary cap breaches. Despite their punishment, statistically the North Queensland Cowboys were the poorest performing team of the 2010 season, finishing with 14 competition points and a win/loss ratio of 5/19 compared to Melbourne's 14/10 result which, discarding their ban, would have earned them 32 competition points.
4 ^ Whilst the first grade side won the 2011 premiership, their Toyota Cup counterparts endured a long season at the bottom of the ladder. The first grade side has never won the wooden spoon.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Premiership Records". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-29. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. ^ Walter, Brad (2015-09-04). "NRL warned against adopting promotion-relegation ahead of 'spoon bowl' clash". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  3. ^ Tuxworth, Jon (2016-08-05). "NRL: Honesty and accountability driving Canberra Riaders' finals surge". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  4. ^ "Tedesco out of 'Spoon Bowl' match against Knights". www.sportingnews.com. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  5. ^ "Eels beat Dogs to leave wooden spoon open". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  6. ^ https://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/johnathan-thurston-plays-last-home-game-as-cowboys-tackle-eels/news-story/81f1272e1f9c8c11923e38c21ae854f6
  7. ^ Badel, Peter (August 24, 2018). "North Queensland hammer Parramatta 44-6 in Johnathan Thurston's final home game". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2018-09-29.

External links[edit]