Rugby league in Western Australia

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Rugby league in Western Australia describes the minority sport of rugby league, as it is played at amateur level in Western Australia. The state was once represented at national level, by the Western Reds/Perth Reds until it was decided they would not be included in the new National Rugby League of 1998 following the Super League war. Today, the WA Reds compete in the Bundaberg Red Cup and are aiming for eventual re-inclusion in the National Rugby League.


The Western Australia Rugby League was formed in 1948 with Fremantle, Perth, South Perth and Cottesloe as the foundation clubs. In 1950 the Australian Rugby League Board of Control sent ex Kangaroos hooker Arthur Folwell to Western Australia to try to promote the game.[1]

Although touring Great Britain and French rugby league teams had played tour matches in Perth, it was not until the late 1980s that the New South Wales Rugby League played games there. In August 1989, the NSWRL played the first game outside New South Wales or Queensland, with a crowd of 21,992 watching Canberra play Canterbury at the WACA.

Subsequent fixtures between 1990 and 1993 were equally well supported, and the League realised that a Perth team could be successful. Perth's application for the Winfield Cup was accepted on 30 November 1992, along with the South Queensland Crushers, the North Queensland Cowboys and the Auckland Warriors. The early tip for the nickname of the Perth side was Pumas, but the Red Kangaroo, Western Australia's best-known native animal, was chosen and the team became known as the Western Reds, with the colours of Red, Black, Yellow and White.

Western Australia's first rugby league team to play in a national competition were the Western Reds, who played in the 1995 and 1996 seasons of the Australian Rugby League. In 1997 they changed their name to the Perth Reds and joined the Super League as inaugural members.

Despite showing some promise (particularly in the underage competitions) the Reds were not invited to join the National Rugby League in 1998 as part of the agreement to end the Super League war.

In 2007 the Western Australia Rugby League re-formed the team as the WA Reds to compete in the Jim Beam Cup from 2008, with a view to entering the National Rugby League competition in 2012.[2] Their home ground is Perth Oval.

On 14 February 2009 Perth Oval played host to the first NRL pre-season match for the year between St George-Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters. The match was a one sided affair but a great stepping stone for WA Rugby League with just under 10,000 supporters in attendance.

On Saturday 13 June 2009 at Members Equity Stadium, Perth the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Melbourne Storm played in front of a crowd of 15,197. The Melbourne Storm ran out winners 28-22 in a very successful night for organisers of the Rabbitohs who took their home game to Perth, the NRL and the WARL (Western Australia Rugby League), who now have even more reasons to seriously consider a bid to have the WA Reds back into the Elite Rugby League Competition (NRL). The Rabbitohs again hosted one of their home games in Perth 2010, on the back of the success of the 2009 encounter, again against the Storm. In 2011, the Rabbitohs' opponents were the Brisbane Broncos, and the match was won by the Rabbitohs by a narrow score of 16-14 after the Rabbitohs scored two tries in the first ten minutes. The match was played on a Friday night, a rarity in such a foreign territory for the NRL.

Governing body[edit]

The Western Australia Rugby League (WARL) is responsible for administering the game of rugby league in Western Australia. Western Australia is an Affiliated State of the overall Australian governing body the Australian Rugby League.


Cash Converters Premiership[edit]

Club Suburb Ground
Fremantle Roosters Fremantle Ken Allen Field
Joondalup Giants Joondalup Joondalup Arena
Kalamunda Bulldogs Forrestfield Heartfield park
North Beach Sea Eagles North Beach Charles Riley Reserve
Rockingham Coastal Sharks Rockingham Lark Hill Sports Complex
South Perth Lions South Perth George Burnett Park
Willagee Bears Willagee Webber Reserve

Premier Grade[edit]

In addition to the above first grade teams, the following teams appear in Premier Grade, Ladies League Tag and Under 18s.

Club Suburb Ground
South West Warriors Bunbury Bunbury Runners Club

Goldfields Rugby League[edit]

Club Suburb Ground
Goldfields Titans Kalgoorlie Goldfields Oasis
Goldfield Juniors Kalgoorlie

Pilbara Rugby League[edit]

Club Suburb Ground
Karratha Broncos Karratha
Karratha Roosters Karratha
Port Hedland Juniors Port Hedland Marimarland Oval
South Hedland Cougars South Hedland Marimarland Oval
Wickham Wasps Wickham

State Representative Team[edit]

The WARL also forms a state team to compete in the Affiliated States Championship each year. Western Australia is considered to have the strongest state team of the three non-rugby league states in mainland Australia and have won most of the Affiliated States Championships.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tom Goodman's League Column". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 May 1950. p. 9. Retrieved 12 October 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ Hughes, Dave; Rugby league Reds are back, on war footing; The West Australian; 8 February 2007

External links[edit]