Super League XIII
|Super League XIII|
Magic Weekend Day 2(4 May)
Harlequins vs Castleford Tigers (20 July)
|Broadcast partners||Sky Sports|
|Champions|| Leeds Rhinos
3rd Super League title
6th English title
|League Leaders||St. Helens|
|Man of Steel||James Graham|
|Top point-scorer(s)||Pat Richards (269)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Ade Gardner (26)|
|Licence awarded to|| Crusaders
Salford City Reds
Engage Super League XIII was the official name, due to sponsorship, for the 2008 Super League season by Engage Mutual. Twelve teams competed for the Minor Premiership over 27 rounds (including Millennium Magic) after which, the top 6 finishing teams entered the play-offs where they competed for a place in the Grand Final and the chance to win the Super League Trophy.
The season kicked off on Saturday 2 February, with Leeds Rhinos playing Hull Kingston Rovers at Headingley Carnegie. This was the only game played on this weekend, due to Leeds' 2008 World Club Challenge fixture with Melbourne Storm on Friday 29 February. Leeds won the close-fought game 20-12.
The interest in events on the pitch was matched by those off it with the lead up to and the announcement of which teams were to be awarded Super League licences for 2009–11.
- If a team kicks the ball from a 20-metre restart and the ball bounces into touch or over the dead ball line they will be given head and feed at the resulting scrum.
- In the scrum the ball can no longer be trapped by the loose forward in an attempt to catch the opposition offside. If the scrum moves forwards and the ball comes from between and behind the inner feet of the second row forwards it will be deemed to be out of the scrum.
- Defenders, excluding the markers at a play-the-ball, must stand with both feet behind the referee's front foot to be judged onside.
- If over their try-line the defenders steal the ball from the attacking team when there is more than one defender involved in the tackle a penalty will be given rather than a penalty try.
|7||Hull Kingston Rovers||27||11||1||15||564||713||−149||23|
|8||Wakefield Trinity Wildcats||27||11||0||16||574||760||−186||22|
|Teams qualifying for the Play-offs|
Classification: 1st on competition points; 2nd on match points difference.
Competition points: for win = 2; for draw = 1; for loss = 0.
- 2 February - 16 weeks to the day after their Grand Final win, Super League XII champions Leeds Rhinos open the new season with a 20-12 win at home to Hull Kingston Rovers.
- 10 February - The first upsets of the new season, with Hull Kingston Rovers beating St. Helens 24-22, and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats beating Bradford Bulls 26-24.
- 24 February - Huddersfield Giants became the first team in the league to score in excess of fifty points, by beating Castleford Tigers 64-12, running in twelve tries.
- 7 March - The winless (0-4) Castleford Tigers comfortably beat the unbeaten (4-0) Leeds Rhinos by 38-20. In doing so, the only two 100% records in the league (Leeds 100% victories, Castleford 100% defeats) are broken.
- 8 March - Richie Mathers becomes the first player to be sent off during Super League XIII following a 49th minute high tackle on Matt King, playing in Wigan Warriors' 32-20 away defeat by Warrington Wolves.
- 8 March - Harlequins become the first team to 'nil' their opponents in Super League XIII, beating Huddersfield Giants 24-0 at home.
- 3/4 May - The second Millennium Magic weekend takes place over the May bank holiday weekend; Warrington, Wakefield Trinity and Leeds are victorious on the Saturday with Catalans Dragons, Hull Kingston Rovers and St. Helens emerging victorious on the Sunday.
- 20 May - Peter Sharp becomes the first coach to be sacked in the season after Hull F.C. moved to 11th place in the table following their defeat to Harlequins.
- 26 May - Paul Cullen becomes the second coach to depart in a week, resigning after 6 years in charge following his team's 36-28 loss to Castleford.
- 2 June - Jon Sharp makes it three casualties on the coaching front in the space of less than a fortnight as he is sacked after a poor run of form culminating in a 48-0 defeat in the south of France.
- 5 July - Saints claw back a 6-point table deficit and unseat Leeds as Super League leaders. For the first time this season there is a different team occupying top spot.
Refined salary cap regulation to prevent clubs over-spending:
- Super League clubs agreed to use the pro-active salary cap already in use in Australasia with the NRL. The new cap examines each club's salary cap position at the beginning of and then during the season, new player signings will be permitted only if it is affordable within the cap. Nigel Wood, the RFL's chief operating officer, explained that new system dealt with the weaknesses of the previous one that had meant breaches were only discovered in retrospect and could only be acted upon during the following season, as the new system is 'live' clubs cannot breach through miscalculation or mismanagement.
- The salary cap for this season was set at £1.6 million for the combined earnings of the top 25 players. Clubs are permitted to spend a £50,000 maximum on players outside the top 25 earners who have made at least one appearance for the club in the first grade during the year. Expenditure on players outside the top 25 who make no appearance for the first team are unregulated. If a player has represented the same club for 10 consecutive seasons only half of their salary will be counted towards the cap for the eleventh and subsequent seasons - subject to a £50,000 maximum for each club.
- Clubs ratified a homegrown player rule designating 'club trained players'. Clubs must include a minimum of five players who have come through their academy or are under 21 years old in their 25-player first team squads. British clubs were required to have ten United Kingdom-trained players and no more than ten overseas-trained players in their 25-player squads.
Engage Mutual, a financial services provider, agreed a deal with the Rugby Football League to extend their title sponsorship of the Super League competition for up for three years. The agreement continues title sponsorship until the end of the 2010 season and gives Engage Mutual an option for the 2011 season.
The average attendance for the regular season in 2008 was 10,338 (a Super League record) this was up from 9,855 in 2007 which was previously the record. The regular season attendance aggregate was also the highest ever for Super League at 1,674,809 up from 1,537,326 for 2007. For the seventh consecutive season since 2001 the regular season average attendance and aggregate attendance had increased from the previous year.
|1||Ade Gardner||St Helens R.F.C.||26||28|
|2||Scott Donald||Leeds Rhinos||24||21|
|3||Luke Dorn||Castleford Tigers||26||19|
|=3||Pat Richards||Wigan Warriors||25||19|
|5||Semi Tadulala||Bradford Bulls||23||17|
|=5||Clint Greenshields||Catalans Dragons||27||17|
|=5||Danny McGuire||Leeds Rhinos||21||17|
|=8||Chris Hicks||Warrington Wolves||27||16|
|10||Paul Sykes||Bradford Bulls||25||15|
|=10||Justin Murphy||Catalans Dragons||14||15|
|=10||Brent Webb||Leeds Rhinos||25||15|
|1||Pat Richards||Wigan Warriors||25||19||115||1||307|
|2||Thomas Bosc||Catalans Dragons||26||7||118||1||265|
|3||Kevin Sinfield||Leeds Rhinos||26||4||119||1||255|
|4||Sean Long||St Helens R.F.C.||23||8||104||2||242|
|5||Chris Hicks||Warrington Wolves||27||16||70||0||204|
|6||Danny Brough||Wakefield Trinity Wildcats||25||4||86||0||188|
|7||Chris Thorman||Huddersfield Giants||21||5||83||1||187|
|9||Paul Deacon||Bradford Bulls||18||3||82||1||177|
|10||Ade Gardner||St Helens R.F.C.||26||28||0||0||112|
|1||Richie Mathers||Wigan Warriors||2||03/08/2008; 15/08/2008|
|2||Michael McIlorum||Wigan Warriors||1||18/07/2008|
|=2||Tevita Latu||Wakefield Trinity Wildcats||1||14/03/2008|
|=2||Darrell Griffin||Huddersfield Giants||1||16/03/2008|
|=2||Maurie Fa'asavalu||St Helens R.F.C.||1||06/04/2008|
|=2||Ben Westwood||Warrington Wolves||1||06/04/2008|
|=2||Luke Robinson||Huddersfield Giants||1||15/06/2008|
|=2||Adam Mogg||Catalans Dragons||1||12/07/2008|
|=2||Ned Catic||Castleford Tigers||1||06/09/2008|
|=2||Paul Sykes||Bradford Bulls||1||06/07/2008|
|=2||Nick Scruton||Leeds Rhinos||1||20/06/2008|
|=2||Gareth Hock||Wigan Warriors||1||25/07/2008|
- SportBusiness (2008-07-02). "Engage Mutual extend Super League sponsorship". SportBusiness. Archived from the original on 2009-12-24. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- Phil Jackson (2007-12-30). "Super League rule changes". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- BBC Sport (2007-06-21). "New salary cap for Super League". BBC. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- Super League. "Competition structure". Super League (Europe). Archived from the original on 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- SportBusiness (2008-04-03). "engage Super League ups TV game". SportBusiness. Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "engage Super League". www.superleague.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-02-03.