Rugby in Australia

Everywhere around the world, the word Rugby is used to describe the sport of Rugby Union. However in Australia Rugby League is so much more prominent, especially in Sydney.

The sport of Rugby League in Australia currently has 16 teams and they are spread around the country as follows:

  • NSW: 10 teams
  • QLD: 3 teams
  • VIC: 1 Team
  • ACT: 1 team
  • NZ: 1 Team

As you can see the teams are heavily weighted on the east coast of Australia, so much so that the sport has branched off to New Zealand to incorporate a team from this neighboring country into the competition.

Even out of the 10 teams from NSW, 9 come from Sydney, with one from Newcastle just a couple hours North. This is mainly due to the fact that Australian Rugby League was professionally born in Sydney back around 1907.

From then many teams have come and gone and the sport has gone many changes. Branching out of Sydney the sport introduced teams from WA, SA, VIC, North and South QLD and NZ. Since then only the QLD, VIC and NZ teams survived. The main reason I believe that the SA and WA teams could not make it is due to the largely popular sport of AFL in these cities and states.

AFL it huge in VIC and other states in Australia. After all its hard not to be patriot about a sport that has Australia in it name! Australian Football League stands strong Australia wide however it only has one team in Sydney as Sydney is dominated by Rugby League.

We often find leading sportsmen of the game looking for bigger and better things and these top players of the sport are often poached by international sports by the lure of more money. We have seen this time and time again where leading sport stars of Rugby League try the hand at Gridiron or even Rugby Union. However the most common occurrence when this happens is that the players find the new sport too unnatural for them. They need to learn new strategies and develop new instincts in this foreign game play.

Going from the top of their field to a complete newbie in a higher paid sport can be very intimidating and often sends the money hungry sportsmen back to their original location. Welcomed back by their fans who often forgive them when they come back they hopefully have some more money in their pocket  for the trial and the greater understanding that this is where they and their skill belong.

A great example of this was with internationally famous basketballer – Michael Jordan. At the peak of his career he was looking for a new challenge and undoubtedly a larger paycheck. Changing sports from Basketball to Baseball may be a hard decision to understand. For me the only similarities are they both start with the letter B! Well he went for it anyway and to no-one’s surprise came crawling back to his original successful position on the Chicago Bulls.

Of course his fans loved him even more and he was praised for trying something new however we all knew that his real talent was with B-Ball.