League Leaders' Shield
|League Leaders' Shield|
|Presented by||Super League|
|Most wins||St. Helens (6 Titles)|
|Most recent||Castleford Tigers (1st Title)|
The League Leaders' Shield 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 30-game, round-robin league system, some people regard the Shield 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 1996, Super League was formed but continued to use first past the post to decide the champions unitil 1998 when they adopted a play-off structure for the championship. The League Leaders' Shield however 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.
In 2015, it was announced that the League Leaders would qualify to take part in the expanded World Club Challenge and the prize money would raise from £50,000 to £100,000. In 2016, the League Leaders were awarded medals for the first time.
In 2017, Castleford Tigers finished top of the league fir the first time in their 91 year history and became the 7th team in as many years to win the shield.
Qualification for World Club Series
In 2015 it was announced that the League Leaders would qualify for the 2016 World Club Series. In the event of a team winning both League Leaders' Shield and Challenge Cup then the Grand Final runners up would be the second team to qualify for World Club Series.
|Year||League Leaders||Pts||Runners up||Pts|
|1998||Wigan Warriors||42||Leeds Rhinos||38|
|1999||Bradford Bulls||51||St Helens||46|
|2000||Wigan Warriors||49||St Helens||46|
|2001||Bradford Bulls||45||Wigan Warriors||45|
|2002||St. Helens||46||Bradford Bulls||46|
|2003||Bradford Bulls||44||Leeds Rhinos||41|
|2004||Leeds Rhinos||50||Bradford Bulls||41|
|2005||St. Helens||47||Leeds Rhinos||44|
|2006||St. Helens||48||Hull F.C.||40|
|2007||St. Helens||38||Leeds Rhinos||37|
|2008||St. Helens||43||Leeds Rhinos||42|
|2009||Leeds Rhinos||42||St Helens||38|
|2010||Wigan Warriors||44||St Helens||40|
|2011||Warrington Wolves||44||Wigan Warriors||43|
|2012||Wigan Warriors||42||Warrington Wolves||41|
|2013||Huddersfield Giants||42||Warrington Wolves||41|
|2014||St. Helens||38||Wigan Warriors||37|
|2015||Leeds Rhinos||41||Wigan Warriors||41|
|2016||Warrington Wolves||43||Wigan Warriors||42|
|2017||Castleford Tigers||Leeds Rhinos|
|1||St. Helens||7||4||2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014|
|2||Wigan Warriors||4||5||1998, 2000, 2010, 2012|
|3||Bradford Bulls||4||2||1999, 2001, 2003|
|4||Leeds Rhinos||3||6||2004, 2009, 2015|
|5||Warrington Wolves||2||2||2011, 2016|
The Treble refers to the team who wins all three domestic honours on offer during the season; Grand Final, League Leaders' Shield and Challenge Cup. To date six teams have won the treble, and only Bradford Bulls, St. Helens & Leeds Rhinos have won the treble in the Super League era.
|1||Wigan Warriors||3||1991-92, 1993–94, 1994–95|
|2||Huddersfield Giants||2||1912-13, 1914–15|
|3||St. Helens||2||1965-66, 2006|
- Wilson, Andy (2009-07-16). "Battle for Super League play-offs can pull in the fans". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 12, 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.