Super League I

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Super League I
League Super League
Duration 22 Rounds
Teams 12
Highest attendance 20,429
Wigan vs St. Helens (21 June)
Lowest attendance 1,400
Workington Town vs London Broncos (23 June)
Attendance 867,372
(average 6,571)
Broadcast partners United Kingdom Sky Sports
1996 Season
Champions Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
1st Super League title
8th English title
Premiership winners Wigancolours.svg Wigan
Man of Steel Wigancolours.svg Andrew Farrell
Top point-scorer(s) Saintscolours.svg Bobbie Goulding (257)
Top try-scorer(s) Saintscolours.svg Paul Newlove (28)
Promotion and relegation
Promoted from First Division Redscolours.svg Salford Reds
Relegated to First Division Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town

The year 1996's Stones Bitter Super League I was the official name for the 102nd season of top-level rugby league football, and the first year of Europe's new championship: Super League. It is also the first season of rugby league to be played in summer.[1] The competition featured all eleven teams from the 1995–96 Rugby Football League season plus one expansion club, Paris Saint-Germain.


Twelve teams were selected to play in the inaugural Super League season.

  Reigning Champions
  Challenge Cup Holders
  Promoted/ New franchise
Team 1995-96 position Stadium Capacity City/Area
Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 7th Odsal 27,000 Bradford, West Yorkshire
Castleford colours.svg Castleford Tigers 6th Wheldon Road 11,750 Castleford, West Yorkshire
Faxcolours.svg Halifax Blue Sox 3rd Thrum Hall 9,832 Halifax, West Yorkshire
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 2nd Headingley 21,500 Leeds, West Yorkshire
Broncoscolours.png London Broncos 10th The Valley 27,000 Charlton, Greater London
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Bears 8th Watersheddings 9,000 Oldham, Greater Manchester
France colours.svg Paris Saint-Germain N/A Sébastien Charléty Stadium 20,000 Paris, France
Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles 5th Don Valley Stadium 25,000 Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 4th Knowsley Road 17,500 St Helens, Mersyside
Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 9th Wilderspool 9,200 Warrington, Cheshire
D* Wigancolours.svg Wigan 1st Central Park 18,000 Wigan, Greater Manchester
Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 11th Derwent Park 10,000 Workington, Cumbria

Operational rules[edit]

Player numbering:

  • The Rugby League Council approved a proposal by Super League chief executives to adopt squad numbering. Players would wear a number (1-25) on their shirts all season in addition to their names.[2]

Rules to ensure the sustainability of Super League clubs were introduced:

  • Clubs operated under a series of financial rules that specified spending levels in different areas of club operations, demanded that clubs' accounts be submitted monthly for monitoring.[3]
  • A salary cap restricted clubs from spending more than 40% of their income on players.[3]

To protect global Super League interests:

Rule changes[edit]

Four new rules were introduced for the inaugural Super League season:

  • Scrums were now to be set 20 metres from the touch-line, with the aim of creating attacking opportunities.[4]
  • At the restart after a try has been scored and the conversion attempt has been taken, the side that scored will now kick off to the other team.[4] This change aimed to make contests more even by almost guaranteeing possession for the side that had conceded points.[4] Greg McCallum, the director of referees' coaching, also noted that this convention was "in line with most other sports" and "that is significant when we come to promoting the game in America and Asia".[4]

In an attempt to "clean up" the ruck:

  • At the play-the-ball, the side not in possession was barred from striking for the ball.[4]
  • Also at the play-the-ball, the tackled player was stopped from being able to tap the ball forwards to himself - even in the absence of markers.[4]


On 29 March 1996, Super League kicked off in Paris before 17,873 people at the Charlety Stadium when new team Paris Saint Germain overcame Sheffield Eagles 30-24.[5] Jacques Fouroux, the PSG president, described that night, "Ninety eight per cent of them [the crowd] were new to the game, but they understood it right away. They saw tries, lots of commitment and lots of movement. They saw beauty. They attended a great party."[5]

The reigning champions Wigan were hoping to maintain their hold on the championship in the newly formed Super League. However, at the end of the season St. Helens were crowned inaugural Super League champions after a win over Warrington Wolves at Knowsley Road, finishing in first position on the league ladder.[6] During the year a secondary title, known as the Premiership was also played, with the final being contested between Wigan and the championship winners St. Helens with Wigan coming out victorious and Andy Farrell winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

Workington Town finished bottom for the second successive season and thus relegated to the first division. To date this is their only Super League season and no other club from Cumbria has competed since, Salford Reds were promoted to take their place in Super League II.

League table[edit]

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 22 20 0 2 950 455 +495 40
2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 22 19 1 2 902 326 +576 39
3 Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls 22 17 0 5 767 409 +358 34
4 London Broncos 22 12 1 9 611 462 +149 25
5 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 22 12 0 10 569 565 +4 24
6 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Blue Sox 22 10 1 11 667 576 +91 21
7 Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles 22 10 0 12 599 730 -131 20
8 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham Bears 22 9 1 12 473 681 -208 19
9 Cascolours.png Castleford Tigers 22 9 0 13 548 599 -51 18
10 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds 22 6 0 16 555 745 -190 12
11 Paris Saint-Germain 22 3 1 18 398 795 -397 7
12 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 22 2 1 19 325 1021 -696 5
Champions Relegated


The top four finishing teams competed in a short play-off series for the Premiership Trophy. The final was played between the Wigan and St. Helens on Sunday, 8 September at Old Trafford before a crowd of 35,013.[7] Wigan won the match 44-14 and their loose forward Andy Farrell received the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man-of-the-match.

Semifinals Final
1 St. Helens
4 London Broncos
St. Helens 14
Wigan 44
2 Wigan
3 Bradford Bulls


The following are the top points scorers in the Super League during the 1996 season. Statistics are for league matches only.[8]

Most points

Player Team Tries Goals DGs Points
Bobbie Goulding St. Helens 5 117 3 257
John Schuster Halifax Blue Sox 8 101 2 236
Andy Farrell Wigan 5 103 0 226
Graham Holroyd Leeds 11 76 2 198
Frano Botica Castleford Tigers 5 84 2 190
Mark Aston Sheffield Eagles 2 86 1 181
Greg Barwick London Broncos 16 50 2 166
Steve McNamara Bradford Bulls 1 78 2 162
Iestyn Harris Warrington 4 63 2 144
Francis Maloney Oldham Bears 6 45 0 114

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dave Hadfield (1995-12-20). "Rugby's pounds 87m deal gives Murdoch transfer veto". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  2. ^ Dave Hadfield (1996-02-09). "Super League adopts squad numbering". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  3. ^ a b c Dave Hadfield (1996-01-23). "Lindsay defends the Super League revolution". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Dave Hadfield (1995-12-13). "Changes usher in new ball game". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  5. ^ a b "LE BLOG Day 2, Back to Charlety and Paris Saint Germain". Chris Irvine, Times Online. 12 June 2008. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  6. ^ "Super League Champions Roll of Honour". Super League Official website. Retrieved 18 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Premiership Trophy 1996". Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Fletcher, Raymond; Howes, David. Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1997. London: Headline. pp. 184–5. ISBN 978-0-7472-7764-4. 

External links[edit]