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
1973–74 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 13–12 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens Central Park, Wigan
1974–75 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 26–11 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1975–76 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 15–2 Redscolours.svg Salford Station Road, Swinton
1976–77 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 32–20 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington
1977–78 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern 17–8 Widnes colours.svg Widnes
1978–79 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 24–2 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Fartown, Huddersfield
1979–80 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 19–5 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern Station Road, Swinton
1980–81 HKRcolours.svg Hull KR 11–7 Hullcolours.svg Hull Headingley, Leeds
1981–82 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 23–8 Hullcolours.svg Hull
1982–83 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 22–10 Hullcolours.svg Hull
1983–84 HKRcolours.svg Hull KR 18–10 Castleford colours.svg Castleford
1984–85 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 36–16 HKRcolours.svg Hull KR Elland Road, Leeds
1985–86 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 38–10 Faxcolours.svg Halifax
1986–87 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 8–0 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Old Trafford, Manchester
1987–88 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 38–14 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1988–89 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 18–10 Hullcolours.svg Hull
1989–90 Widnes colours.svg Widnes 28–6 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern
1990–91 Hullcolours.svg Hull 14–4 Widnes colours.svg Widnes
1991–92 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 48–16 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1992–93 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 10–4 Wigancolours.svg Wigan
1993–94 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 24–20 Castleford colours.svg Castleford
1994–95 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 69–12 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds
1996 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 44-14 Saintscolours.svg St Helens
1997 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 32-20 Saintscolours.svg St Helens

See also[edit]

Rugby Football League Championship