A Brief History of Rugby League...

Rugby League, as we know it today, was formed in the West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield 1895, as the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU), when clubs in the North of England broke away from the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The clubs wanted to compensate their working-class players for time away from work for rugby tours and injuries.

The RFU refused, saying 'if men couldn't afford to play, then they shouldn't play at all'. In the decade that followed, rugby league made changes setting itself apart from rugby union.

Teams were reduced from 15 to 13 players (two forwards were eliminated), and the play-the-ball was introduced to lessen the need for scrums and to replace rugby union's scrappy rucks and mauls (where the ball often disappeared from view for minutes on end).

The changes made League the far more popular code in England amongst spectators and players alike. The increased gate-money allowed the rugby league clubs to pay benefits to the footballers the crowds had come to watch and support.

The rebellious 22 clubs that formed the NRFU in Huddersfield, who we have to thank for today's game, are listed below along with their year of formation;

Batley 1880,Bradford 1863, Brighouse Rangers 1878, Broughton Rangers 1877, Dewsbury 1875, Halifax 1873, Huddersfield 1864, Hull 1865, Hunslet 1883, Leeds 1890, Leigh 1877, Liversedge 1877, Manningham 1876, Oldham 1876, Rochdale Hornets 1871, St Helens 1874, Tyldesley 1879, Wakefield Trinity 1873, Warrington 1875, Widnes 1875, Wigan 1879. Dewsbury withdrew a few days after the meeting and were replaced by Runcorn (1876). Stockport was also included at the meeting at the George after calling in by phone.

 

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