League Leader's Shield
The League Leader’s Shield, often called The Hubcap is a trophy awarded to the team finishing the season top of Super League in the sport of rugby league football. Currently (and for much of its history) the championship is decided on the basis of a play-off series, and the Shield is thus regarded as a lesser prize. Due to it being decided by a 27-game, round-robin league system, some people regard "the Hubcap" as the hardest honour to win in British rugby league.
British rugby league has been using a play-off series rather than simply awarding the title to the top-placed team for the majority of its history due to a lop-sided fixture list that saw some clubs play other clubs twice and the rest of the clubs only once. From 1907 until 1973 the Championship was awarded to the team winning a top-four play-off (excluding the 2 seasons 1962–63 and 1963–64, when the championship was awarded to the top placed team). From 1907 to 1962 no prize was awarded to the actual team finishing top. From 1965 to 1973 a 'League Leaders Trophy' was introduced to reward the team finishing top.
In 1973, the Championship was split into two divisions (see Second Division), and a new playoff type competition, the Premiership was introduced. The title of "champion" was awarded not to the Premiership winner but the top-placed team.
With the advent of Super League, rugby league again returned to a play-off structure for the championship. Initially, the practice of awarding no prize to the top-placed team was re-introduced. The League Leader's Shield was introduced only in 2003. In 2013 Huddersfield Giants finished top of the highest league in English rugby league for the first time in 81 years.
Shield and Minor Premiership winners
The League Leaders Shield was first awarded in 2003, between 1998 and 2002 the league leaders were the Minor Premierships but were awarded no trophy. The League Leaders of the first 2 Super League seasons were awarded the Super League trophy and crowned the Champions as there was no playoff system before 1998.
- Bold- Minor Premiership winner
Most League Leaders
|1||St Helens||6||2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014|
|2||Wigan Warriors||4||1998, 2000, 2010, 2012|
|3||Bradford Bulls||3||1999, 2001, 2003|
|4||Leeds Rhinos||2||2004, 2009|
- Bold- Minor Premierships
- Wilson, Andy (2009-07-16). "Battle for Super League play-offs can pull in the fans". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2010-07-12. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
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