Rugby League Premiership

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For Australasia's NRL Premiership, see National Rugby League.
Sport Rugby league football
Formerly known as RFL Championship
Inaugural season 1973–74
Ceased 1995–96
Replaced by Super League
Country  England
Last winners Wigan Warriors (1997)
Most titles Widnes (6 titles)
Wigan Warriors (6 titles)
Qualification World Club Challenge
Challenge Cup

The Rugby League Premiership was a competition for British rugby league clubs that operated between 1973 and 1995. As the Super League Premiership the competition continued to operate until 1997.

From 1909 until 1973 (except for the period 1962–64) the Rugby Football League Championship had utilised a play-off format to determine the overall league champions. For the 1973–74 season the league was split into two divisions, and a play-off system was no longer used. In order to maintain interest towards the end of the season a new competition, the "Club Championship", was introduced to replace the championship play-offs. The Harry Sunderland Trophy, which had until then been awarded to the man-of-the-match in the championship final, would instead be awarded to the man-of-the-match in the premiership final.

The first season saw 16 teams take part: the top 12 of the first division and the top four from the second division. The following season saw the title change to "Premiership", and the format was altered so that only the top eight teams in the first division would compete. A similar competition was later instituted for clubs in the lower league(s). The Premiership continued to be played in this fashion until 1995–96, at the time of the switch to a summer sport, when the competition was abandoned to allow the 1996 Super League season to commence in the spring.

A top-four play-off leading to a final, the Super League Premiership, was instituted as part of the Super League competition. In 1998 this was replaced by a return to a play-off for the championships, with the Harry Sunderland Trophy being the award for the Grand Final's man-of-the-match.

Premiership winners[edit]

For completeness, this table includes the 1973–74 Club Championship, and premiership winners from the Super League era.

Season Winners Score Runners-up Venue Date
1973–74 Warrington 13–12 St. Helens Central Park, Wigan Saturday 18 May 1974
1974–75 Leeds 26–11 St. Helens Central Park, Wigan Saturday 17 May 1975
1975–76 St. Helens 15–2 Salford Station Road, Swinton Saturday 22 May 1976
1976–77 St. Helens 32–20 Warrington Station Road, Swinton Saturday 28 May 1977
1977–78 Bradford Northern 17–8 Widnes Station Road, Swinton Saturday 20 May 1978
1978–79 Leeds 24–2 Bradford Northern Fartown, Huddersfield Sunday 27 May 1979
1979–80 Widnes 19–5 Bradford Northern Station Road, Swinton Saturday 17 May 1980
1980–81 Hull Kingston Rovers 11–7 Hull Headingley, Leeds Saturday 16 May 1981
1981–82 Widnes 23–8 Hull Headingley, Leeds Saturday 15 May 1982
1982–83 Widnes 22–10 Hull Headingley, Leeds Saturday 14 May 1983
1983–84 Hull Kingston Rovers 18–10 Castleford Headingley, Leeds Saturday 12 May 1984
1984–85 St. Helens 36–16 Hull Kingston Rovers Elland Road, Leeds Saturday 11 May 1985
1985–86 Warrington 38–10 Halifax Elland Road, Leeds Sunday 18 May 1986
1986–87 Wigan 8–0 Warrington Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 17 May 1987
1987–88 Widnes 38–14 St. Helens Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 15 May 1988
1988–89 Widnes 18–10 Hull Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 14 May 1989
1989–90 Widnes 28–6 Bradford Northern Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 13 May 1990
1990–91 Hull 14–4 Widnes Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 12 May 1991
1991–92 Wigan 48–16 St. Helens Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 17 May 1992
1992–93 St. Helens 10–4 Wigan Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 16 May 1993
1993–94 Wigan 24–20 Castleford Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 22 May 1994
1994–95 Wigan 69–24 Leeds Old Trafford, Manchester Sunday 21 May 1995
1995–96 No Competition

See also[edit]

Rugby Football League Championship