NRL Western Australia

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NRL Western Australia
NRL Western Australia logo
Formerly namedWestern Australian Amateur Rugby League[1]
ResponsibilityWestern Australia
HeadquartersNIB Stadium, Pier Street, Perth
Key peopleJohn Sackson[2] (Chief Executive)
Western Australia

NRL Western Australia (NRLWA, formerly the Western Australian Rugby League) is responsible for administering the game of rugby league football in the state of Western Australia.

The NRLWA administers all forms of the game in Western Australia and runs the main Perth metropolitan competitions. This includes eleven clubs in the Perth metropolitan competition (seven fielding first grade) , sponsored as the Smarter than Smoking Premiership, as well as representative teams that compete in interstate competitions.


Formed in April 1948 as the Western Australian Amateur Rugby Football League, foundation clubs were Cottesloe, Fremantle, Perth and South Perth.[1]

The first interstate match played by Western Australians was against the South Australia in 1948, with WA winning the series 2-0.

In 1969 Darwin City invited the WARL to Darwin to play a match in celebration of Darwin's 100th founding anniversary in which WA won 23-19. In 1976 WA was invited to participate in the nationwide Amco Cup, where they defeated the Northern Territory 23-18.[1]

On 2 October 1982 to begin the 1982 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, Western Australia played the Wally Lewis captained Australian Kangaroos in a match at the Cannington Raceway in Perth (on the same day the Australian test team played their first ever test match against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby). Predictably the Kangaroos defeated WA 57-5, running in 13 tries to 1 with Parramatta Eels winger Eric Grothe, Sr. crossing for 4 tries.[3] The Australian team that day included players who would go on to be mainstays in the Australian test team over the next 5–10 years including Lewis, Grothe, Gene Miles, Steve Mortimer, Greg Conescu and Wayne Pearce as well as test veterans Rod Morris and Les Boyd.

NT toured again in 1981, 1983 & 1985 and since 2001 Western Australia has competed annually in the Affiliated States Championship, winning the most titles of any state.[1]

International touring teams in WA[edit]

International football also has a history in WA, with Great Britain Lions touring Perth in 1950, 1957 1962 1975 England 1958, and France touring in 1951, 1955, 1964, 1990.[1]

Club Football[edit]

WARL's logo until 2012

The first tour game by an interstate club was in 1949 when Balmain Tigers , NSWRL, traveled to Perth. The first tour match by a club affiliated with the Queensland Rugby League was in 1985 when the Qld Country side played a match against the WA State Team. Further interstate club matches occurred in (see list above)

Following the demise of the Western Reds professional rugby league was lost to WA. The next match occurred in 1999 when the Western Suburbs Magpies hosted the Melbourne Storm in an NRL premiership match. Further premiership matches followed in 2005 when Cronulla Sharks hosted the New Zealand Warriors,[1] and in July 2013 when the South Sydney Rabbitohs hosted the New Zealand Warriors at NIB Stadium

Trial matches have also been played, with South Sydney Rabbitohs hosting Canterbury Bulldogs in the 2005 pre-season.[1]

National competition[edit]

The staging of New South Wales Rugby League premiership matches in the late 1980s and early 1990s led to a push for a Perth-based entry into the Australian Rugby League competition. In 1992 the Western Reds club was accepted into the national competition and would play its first season in 1995. The Reds would play in 1996 and in the Australian Super League in 1997 under the Perth Reds moniker.

Debt, issues surrounding the Super League war and formation of the National Rugby League led to the club being wound-up at the end of the 1997 season.

On 12 December 2006 the Australian Rugby League board accepted a proposal to establish a Western Australian Rugby League representative side to play in the NSWRL Jim Beam Cup for seasons 2008 & 2009, known as the WA Reds and played home matches at Perth Oval. In season 2010 the decision was made to enter the WA Reds team into the SG Ball Cup Under 18 competition. The season was a tough one with the 'Reds' finishing next to bottom of the ladder winning only their opening game of the season. The 2011 season saw the young Reds side improve their credentials finishing 13/18 with 3 wins from 9 matches for the season.

On 27 June 2012 the Western Australian Rugby League announced a new identity for its NRL entry bid. The West Coast Pirates has been released as the team name, with the logo a Pirate Skull over Crossed Cutlasses.

The announcement of this new bid identity is viewed as a longer term strategy for a Western Australian-based National Rugby League but as yet seems further from implementation than when first conceived many due to the NRL officially stating that will be no further expansion until 2017 to shore up its financially weak structure.

WARL competitions[edit]

Pilbara Rugby League[edit]

The Pilbara Rugby League is a six club competition in the north-west of Western Australia. The clubs are:[4]


The NRLWA, sponsored as the Smarter Than Smoking Premiership, is the premier rugby league football competition in the state. The majority of the Eleven clubs originate in the Perth metro area and both Fremantle and South Perth are foundation WARL clubs. Junior grades run from under 6's up to under 16's and senior competition is divided into six divisions, Men's First Grade, Reserve Grade, Third Grade and Under 19s, Women's Tackle and League Tag (Flag Belt).

Colours Club District Ground Founded Junior Association
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Fremantle Roosters* Fremantle Ken Allen Field 1948 Southern Pride
Saintscolours.svg South Perth Lions* South Perth George Burnett Park 1948 Southern Pride
Canterbury colours.svg Kalamunda Bulldogs Belmont Hartfield Park 1949 Northern Fusion
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg North Beach Sea Eagles* North Beach Charles Riley Reserve 1951 Northern Fusion
North Sydney colours.svg Willagee Bears Willagee Webber Reserve 1962 Southern Pride
Cronulla colours.svg Rockingham Coastal Sharks* Rockingham Lark Hill Sports Complex 1988 South West Dolphins
Giantscolours.svg Joondalup Giants* Joondalup Admiral Reserve 1990 Northern Fusion
Gthundercolours.svg Mandurah Storm Mandurah Ocean road reserve 2013 South West Dolphins
South Sydney colours.svg Ellenbrook Rabbitohs Ellenbrook Charlottes Vinyard Pavillion 2015 Northern Fusion
Mackay Cutters colours.svg Kwinana Wolves Kwinana Thomas Oval 2015 Southern Pride
Wests Tigers colours.svg Alkimos Tigers Eglinton Amberton Playing Fields 2015 Northern Fusion
Brisbane colours.svg Bussellton Broncos Bussellton Busselton Sportsmans Club 2017 South West Dolphins
Norths Devils colours.svg Bunbury Titans Bunbury Hay Park Sports Complex 2017 South West Dolphins
Italy colours.svg Dalyellup Rhinos Dalleyup East Dalyellup Pavilion 2017 South West Dolphins
Penrith Panthers square flag icon with 2017 colours.svg Eaton Panthers Eaton 2017 South West Dolphins
Canberra colours.svg Albany Sea Dragons Albany 2019 South West Dolphins

* Denotes currently fielding a First Grade Team in the Smarter than Smoking Premiership

First Grade Premiers[edit]

Year Club Titles
Saintscolours.svg 1948 South Perth Lions 1
Saintscolours.svg 1949 South Perth Lions 2
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1950 Fremantle Roosters 1
1951 Perth* 1
Saintscolours.svg 1952 South Perth Lions 3
Saintscolours.svg 1953 South Perth Lions 4
Saintscolours.svg 1954 South Perth Lions 5
Wests Tigers colours.svg 1955 Cottesloe Tigers* 1
Canterbury colours.svg 1956 Victoria Park Butchers 1
Saintscolours.svg 1957 South Perth Lions 6
Saintscolours.svg 1958 South Perth Lions 7
Canterbury colours.svg 1959 Victoria Park Butchers 2
Canterbury colours.svg 1960 Victoria Park Butchers 3
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1961 Fremantle Roosters 2
Canterbury colours.svg 1962 Victoria Park Butchers 4
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1963 Fremantle Roosters 3
Parramatta colours.svg 1964 Applecross Jets* 1
Parramatta colours.svg 1965 Applecross Jets* 2
Parramatta colours.svg 1966 Applecross Jets* 3
Parramatta colours.svg 1967 Applecross Jets* 4
Canterbury colours.svg 1968 Victoria Park Butchers 5
Parramatta colours.svg 1969 Applecross Jets* 5
Parramatta colours.svg 1970 Applecross Jets* 6
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1971 North Beach Sea Eagles 1
Parramatta colours.svg 1972 Applecross Jets* 7
Saintscolours.svg 1973 South Perth Lions 8
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1974 North Beach Sea Eagles 2
Saintscolours.svg 1975 South Perth Lions 9
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1976 Fremantle Roosters 4
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1977 Fremantle Roosters 5
Canterbury colours.svg 1978 Canning Bulldogs 1
Wests Tigers colours.svg 1979 Mosman-Cottesloe Tigers* 2
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1980 North Beach Sea Eagles 3
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Wests Tigers colours.svg 1981 Fremantle/Mosman-Cottesloe* 6/3
Saintscolours.svg 1982 South Perth Lions 10
Saintscolours.svg 1983 South Perth Lions 11
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1984 North Beach Sea Eagles 4
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1985 North Beach Sea Eagles 5
Parramatta colours.svg 1986 Applecross Jets* 8
Western Suburbs colours.svg 1987 Belmont Steelers* 1
Western Suburbs colours.svg 1988 Belmont Steelers* 2
Western Suburbs colours.svg 1989 Belmont Steelers* 3
Canterbury colours.svg 1990 Canning Bulldogs 2
Canterbury colours.svg 1991 Canning Bulldogs 3
Parramatta colours.svg 1992 Applecross Jets* 9
Canberra colours.svg 1993 Rockingham Raiders 1
Canterbury colours.svg 1994 Canning Bulldogs 4
Western Suburbs colours.svg 1995 Belmont Steelers* 4
Saintscolours.svg 1996 South Perth Lions 12
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 1997 Fremantle Roosters 7
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 1998 North Beach Sea Eagles 6
Canterbury colours.svg 1999 Canning Bulldogs 5
Giantscolours.svg 2000 Joondalup Giants 1
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2001 North Beach Sea Eagles 7
Saintscolours.svg 2002 South Perth Lions 13
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2003 North Beach Sea Eagles 8
Saintscolours.svg 2004 South Perth Lions 14
Saintscolours.svg 2005 South Perth Lions 15
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2006 North Beach Sea Eagles 9
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2007 North Beach Sea Eagles 10
Saintscolours.svg 2008 South Perth Lions 16
Saintscolours.svg 2009 South Perth Lions 17
Saintscolours.svg 2010 South Perth Lions 18
Saintscolours.svg 2011 South Perth Lions 19
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2012 North Beach Sea Eagles 11
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2013 North Beach Sea Eagles 12
Saintscolours.svg 2014 South Perth Lions 20
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 2015 Fremantle Roosters 8
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2016 North Beach Sea Eagles 13
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 2017 Fremantle Roosters 9
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 2018 Fremantle Roosters 10
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 2019 Fremantle Roosters 11
Giantscolours.svg 2020 Joondalup Giants 2
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg 2021 North Beach Sea Eagles 14

* Denotes club dissolved and no longer exists

Notable WARL juniors competed in the NRL[edit]

Fremantle Roosters[edit]

South Perth Lions[edit]

Canning Bulldogs[edit]

North Beach Sea Eagles[edit]

Belmont Steelers[edit]

Joondalup Giants[edit]

Willagee Bears[edit]

Ellenbrook Rabbitohs[edit]

South Headland Cougars[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "WARL – Our History". Western Australian Rugby League. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  2. ^ "WA Rugby League Staff Members". Western Australian Rugby League. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  3. ^ 1982 Western Australia vs Australia at Rugby League Project
  4. ^ "Pilbara Rugby League". Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  5. ^ Barrows, Tim (10 February 2010). "Jon Green embarks on Perth with Dragons". The Age. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Taylor, Nick (2 June 2015). "Goodwin chasing win for Souths and softer landing". The West Australian. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  7. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (8 July 2007). "How a Brave Dad and dead uncle spurs this young knight to chase dreams of glory". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  8. ^ Forrest, Brad (6 March 2014). "DJ looks set for chance in halves". St George & Sutherland Shire Leader. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  9. ^ Webeck, Tony (18 April 2014). "Roosters trash a Cowboy". Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  10. ^ Stewart, Antony (22 April 2014). "North Queensland Cowboys Perth Product Curtis Rona strengthens West Coast Pirates NRL expansion case". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  11. ^ Walshaw, Nick (26 April 2015). "Waqa Blake a Future State of Origin Star". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2015.

External links[edit]