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24 March 2008
7/2008
Commemorative Issue

Centenary of Rugby League

Australia
April 2008 marks 100 years since competition for the first NSWRL Premiership commenced. While rugby football had been played in Australia since the 1860s it was only one hundred years ago that Rugby League - Australia's first professional football code - was established.

The early years

By the turn of the century some clubs paid their players, and these clubs eventually formed their own code of rugby, known as Rugby League. Rugby Union players were not paid until the late 20th century. A meeting was held at Bateman's Crystal Hotel in Sydney on 8 August 1907 to organise professional rugby in Australia.

The meeting resolved that a New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) should be formed, to play the Northern Union rules which differed slightly from those of Rugby Union. This was the first time that "Rugby League" was used in the name of an organising body. Players were soon recruited for the new game, despite the threat of immediate and lifetime expulsion from the Rugby Union. It was not until 9 January 1908 that Australia's first Rugby League club, the Glebe Dirty Reds, was established and the first season of Rugby League competition was played.

Following WWI, Rugby League quickly took over from Rugby Union as the most popular form of football in New South Wales and Queensland and the decision by the Rugby Union authorities to suspend play throughout the war is often cited as one of the prime reasons for the traditional dominance of Rugby League.

Rugby League today

From this humble beginning, Rugby League has grown into a national and international competition. It is the dominant code in Queensland and New South Wales and competes with the Australian Football League (AFL) for the title of the most popular football code in the country.

Since the 1980s a more national competition has evolved with 16 teams playing in National Rugby League competition in 2008. One of the biggest and most fiercely emotional competitions in contemporary Australian sport is the State of Origin series played once a year between New South Wales (the Blues) and Queensland (the Maroons). A series of three matches, it is now one of Australia's premier sporting events. The attendance record for a single match of Rugby League is 107,558 for a game between Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra Dragons at the Telstra Stadium, Sydney in 1999.

Broncos  

Broncos

Bulldogs  

Bulldogs

Cowboys  

Cowboys

Dragons  

Dragons

Eels  

Eels

Knights  

Knights

Panthers  

Panthers

Rabbitohs  

Rabbitohs

Raiders  

Raiders

Roosters  

Roosters

Sea Eagles  

Sea Eagles

Sharks  

Sharks

Storm  

Storm

Titans  

Titans

Wests Tigers  

Wests Tigers

Warriors  

Warriors

Technical Information

Issue Date: 2008-03-24
FDI Withdrawal Date: 2008-04-22
Denominations: 16 x 50c
Designer: Adam Crapp, Australia Post Design Studio
Printer: SEP Sprint
Paper: Tullis Russell
Paper (self-adhesive): B100
Printing Process: Lithography
Size: 26mm x 37.5mm
Performations: 14.6 x 13.86
Sheet Layout: 50 / two panes of 25
Special Feature: BL4 configuration over three sheets
National Postmark: Glebe NSW 2037
copyright notice: This material has been reproduced with permission of the Australian Postal Corporation. The original work is held in the National Philatelic Collection.
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