Rugby league in Queensland

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Rugby league in Queensland
Suncorp Stadium.jpg
Governing bodyQueensland Rugby League
Representative teamQueensland
Nickname(s)football, footy
First played8 May 1909 in Brisbane
Club competitions

Rugby league is the most popular winter sport in the Australian state of Queensland.[1]


The earliest record of rugby football being played in Queensland is in 1876, when the Brisbane Football Club, formed in 1866 to play 'Melbourne Rules', commenced playing according to the recently codified Rugby (Union) rules, to fit in with two newly formed football clubs (Rangers and Bonnet Rouge), before reverting to Australian Rules (with occasional Rugby matches) in 1879. The Queensland Rugby Union was subsequently constituted as the Northern Rugby Union in 1883, and a year later the first organised club competition took place in Brisbane.

On 16 May 1908 the first game of rugby league was played in the state when the touring New Zealand team played Queensland at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground.

The advent of professional rugby league in New South Wales saw many Queensland rugby players leaving for Sydney to play rugby league. In 1908, the Queensland Rugby Union banned its players from going to Sydney to play rugby league, which resulted in disgruntled players forming the Queensland Amateur Rugby Football League (QARFL) (later renamed Queensland Rugby League). The new organisation was attacked by the local press and the QRU for introducing professionalism, which they claimed would destroy the sport. The first official club competition kicked off in Brisbane on May 8, 1909.

The league put down strong roots in the bush and in working class communities and these areas are still the heartland of the modern game of rugby league. Between 1914 and 1918 some major rugby union clubs switched to rugby league.

In 1922 the Brisbane Rugby Football League (BRFL, later BRL) was formed out of dissatisfaction with the way the QRL ran the game. Those involved took particular exception to the salary being earned by Harry Sunderland as secretary of the QRL.

By the mid-1970s, crowds began to desert the BRL competition. Clubs found themselves in financial hardship, and the public began to support the Sydney competition which by then was being broadcast in Queensland. A statewide competition - the Winfield State League would run in parallel to the BRL competition from 1982 to 1995.

Newly formed Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants joined the New South Wales Rugby League premiership in 1988. In 1992 it was decided that South Queensland Crushers and North Queensland Cowboys would be admitted into the New South Wales Rugby League competition as part of the League's expansion plans for professional rugby league in Australia.

In 1998, the Melbourne Storm joined the National Rugby League to bring the total of Queensland-based teams to three.

Gold Coast Titans joined the National Rugby League in 2007 to bring the total of Queensland-based teams up to four.

Governing body[edit]

The Queensland Rugby League (QRL) is the governing body for the sport of rugby league in Queensland. It is a member of the Australian Rugby League (ARL) and selects the members of Queensland State of Origin teams.

National Rugby League[edit]

The National Rugby League (NRL) is Australia's top level competition for the sport of rugby league.

There are four Queensland based teams in the NRL: Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, Melbourne Storm, and North Queensland Cowboys.

The Gold Coast Chargers did compete in the 1998 NRL Season and the South Queensland Crushers had competed in the ARL from 1995 to 1997.


Club Location Home Ground(s) First season
Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos Brisbane, Queensland Suncorp Stadium 52,500 (12 home games) 1988
Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Gold Coast Titans Gold Coast, Queensland Skilled Park 27,500 (12 home games) 2007
Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm Melbourne, Victoria AAMI Park 30,050 (12 home games) 1998
North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Cowboys Townsville, Queensland Dairy Farmers Stadium 25,000 (12 home games) 1995


Club Location Home Ground(s) Seasons
Gold Coast Chargers colours.svg Gold Coast Chargers Gold Coast, Queensland Carrara Stadium 22,000 (12 home games) 1988 - 1998
South Queensland colours.svg South Queensland Crushers Brisbane, Queensland Lang Park 22,000 (11 home games) 1995 - 1997


National Rugby League 2013 Expansion Bid Clubs
Bid Area Home City Home Ground(s) Bid Club Website Official Launch
Brisbane Brisbane, Queensland Lang Park (52,500) Brisbane Bombers 2011, January
Brisbane, Queensland Lang Park (52,500) Brothers FC ?
Central Queensland Rockhampton, Queensland Browne Park (5,200)
Upgrade to (25,000)
Central Queensland NRL bid 2009, April
Ipswich Ipswich, Queensland Lang Park (52,500) Western Corridor ? 2010, Ipswich
Logan Logan City, Queensland Meakin Park (10,000) Logan Scorpions 2009, October
Sunshine Coast Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Stockland Park (12,000) Sunshine Coast Falcons ?
Toowoomba Toowoomba, Queensland Clive Berghofer Stadium (9,000) Toowoomba Clydesdales ?

Major competitions in Queensland[edit]

Queensland Cup[edit]

The Queensland Cup has been contested since 1996. Since 1998 the team winning the Queensland Cup is considered to be the premier club team in Queensland. This is because in 1996 and 1997 it was contested parallel to the Brisbane Rugby League, which was considered the premier competition in the state.

The Queensland Cup grew out of the Winfield State League. Since its formation in 1995, the Queensland Cup has been known as the Queensland Cup, Bundy Gold Cup, Channel 9 Cup. For sponsorship reasons it is currently known as the Intrust Super Cup.

FOGS Cup & FOGS Colts Challenge[edit]

Also known as the FOGS Cup & FOGS Colts Challenge, they are run by the Queensland Rugby League's South East Division. It is made up of 12 clubs, 7 of which play in the Queensland Cup. Generally, it is regarded as the division below the Queensland Cup. The FOGS Cup and FOGS Colts Challenge used to be known as the Quest Cup and Mixwell Cup, respectively.

Foley Shield[edit]

The Foley Shield competition began in North Queensland in 1948. With the introduction of the Queensland Cup in 1996 the Foley Shield competition was scrapped, only to be reintroduced in 2000. Since the revamp in 2000 it has only contested by the three largest cities in North Queensland; Cairns, Mackay and Townsville.

Past competitions[edit]

  • The Brisbane Rugby League (BRL) premiership was the premier competition in Queensland from 1909 until 1997. It was superseded by the Queensland Cup.
  • The Bulimba Cup was a representative competition contested between Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba. It was contested between 1925 and 1972.
  • The Winfield State League was a Queensland-wide competition that was held in a variety of formats between 1982 and 1995. This competition was superseded by the Queensland Cup.

State of Origin[edit]

The Queensland State of Origin side is by far Queensland's most loved football team.[citation needed] Purely a representative team, they play three games a year against New South Wales in the competition known as the State of Origin, thus named because players represent their state of birth or the state where they played their first senior game of football. They are currently captained by Greg Inglis and coached by Kevin Walters.

The Queensland and New South Wales teams are heavily competitive. During the 1980s Queensland had the upper hand (8 out of 10 to Qld); during the 1990s, factoring in Super League which took out most of the Queensland team (through the Brisbane Broncos), the results were reasonably similar (6 out of 10 to NSW); and during the first decade of the 2000s, New South Wales has had the upper hand, but are by no means dominant (4 out of 7 to NSW, with the most recent to Qld).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]