Super League I

Super League I
League Super League
Duration 22 Rounds
Number of teams 12
Highest attendance 20,429
Wigan vs St Helens (21 June)
Lowest attendance 1,400
Workington Town vs London Broncos (23 June)
Aggregate attendance 867,372
(average 6,571)
Broadcast partners United Kingdom Sky Sports
1996 Season
Champions St Helens
1st Super League title
8th English title
Premiership winners Wigan
Man of Steel Andrew Farrell
Top point-scorer(s) Bobbie Goulding (257)
Top try-scorer(s) Paul Newlove (28)
Promotion and relegation
Promoted from First Division Salford Reds
Relegated to First Division Workington Town
< 1995-96 Seasons 1997 >

The year 1996's Stones Bitter Super League I was the official name for the 102nd season of top-level rugby league football, and the first year of Europe's new championship: Super League. It is also the first season of rugby league to be played in summer.[1] The competition featured all eleven teams from the 1995–96 Rugby Football League season plus one expansion club, Paris Saint-Germain.


Twelve teams were selected to play in the inaugural Super League season.

  Reigning Champions
  Challenge Cup Holders
  Promoted/ New franchise
Team 1995-96 position Stadium Capacity City/Area
Bradford Bulls 7th Odsal 27,000 Bradford, West Yorkshire
Castleford Tigers 6th Wheldon Road 11,750 Castleford, West Yorkshire
Halifax Blue Sox 3rd Thrum Hall 9,832 Halifax, West Yorkshire
Leeds RLFC 2nd Headingley 21,500 Leeds, West Yorkshire
London Broncos 10th The Valley 27,000 Charlton, Greater London
Oldham Bears 8th Watersheddings 9,000 Oldham, Greater Manchester
Paris Saint-Germain N/A Sébastien Charléty Stadium 20,000 Paris, France
Sheffield Eagles 5th Don Valley Stadium 25,000 Sheffield, South Yorkshire
St Helens 4th Knowsley Road 17,500 St Helens, Mersyside
Warrington Wolves 9th Wilderspool 9,200 Warrington, Chesire
D* Wigan RLFC 1st Central Park 18,000 Wigan, Greater Manchester
Workington Town 11th Derwent Park 10,000 Workington, Cumbria

Operational rules

Player numbering:

Rules to ensure the sustainability of Super League clubs were introduced:

To protect global Super League interests:

Rule changes

Four new rules were introduced for the inaugural Super League season:

In an attempt to "clean up" the ruck:


On 29 March 1996, Super League kicked off in Paris before 17,873 people at the Charlety Stadium when new team Paris Saint Germain overcame Sheffield Eagles 30-24.[5] Jacques Fouroux, the PSG president, described that night, "Ninety eight per cent of them [the crowd] were new to the game, but they understood it right away. They saw tries, lots of commitment and lots of movement. They saw beauty. They attended a great party."[5]

The reigning champions Wigan were hoping to maintain their hold on the championship in the newly formed Super League. However, at the end of the season St Helens were crowned inaugural Super League champions after a win over Warrington Wolves at Knowsley Road, finishing in first position on the league ladder.[6] During the year a secondary title, known as the Premiership was also played, with the final being contested between Wigan and the championship winners St. Helens with Wigan coming out victorious and Andy Farrell winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

Workington Town finished bottom for the second successive season and thus relegated to the first division. To date this is their only Super League season and no other club from Cumbria has competed since, Salford Reds were promoted to take their place in Super League II.

League table

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 St Helens 222002950455+49540
2 Wigan 221912902326+57639
3 Bradford Bulls 221705767409+35834
4London Broncos 221219611462+14925
5 Warrington Wolves 2212010569565+424
6 Halifax Blue Sox 2210111667576+9121
7 Sheffield Eagles 2210012599730-13120
8 Oldham Bears 229112473681-20819
9 Castleford Tigers 229013548599-5118
10 Leeds 226016555745-19012
11Paris Saint-Germain 223118398795-3977
12 Workington Town 2221193251021-6965
Champions Relegated


The top four finishing teams competed in a short play-off series for the Premiership Trophy. The final was played between the Wigan and St Helens on Sunday, 8 September at Old Trafford before a crowd of 35,013.[7] Wigan won the match 44-14 and their loose forward Andy Farrell received the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man-of-the-match.

Semifinals Final
1 St Helens
4 London Broncos
St Helens 14
Wigan 44
2 Wigan
3 Bradford Bulls


The following are the top points scorers in the Super League during the 1996 season. Statistics are for league matches only.[8]

Most points

Player Team Tries Goals DGs Points
Bobbie Goulding St Helens 5 117 3 257
John Schuster Halifax Blue Sox 8 101 2 236
Andy Farrell Wigan 5 103 0 226
Graham Holroyd Leeds 11 76 2 198
Frano Botica Castleford Tigers 5 84 2 190
Mark Aston Sheffield Eagles 2 86 1 181
Greg Barwick London Broncos 16 50 2 166
Steve McNamara Bradford Bulls 1 78 2 162
Iestyn Harris Warrington 4 63 2 144
Francis Maloney Oldham Bears 6 45 0 114

See also


  1. 1 2 Dave Hadfield (1995-12-20). "Rugby's pounds 87m deal gives Murdoch transfer veto". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  2. Dave Hadfield (1996-02-09). "Super League adopts squad numbering". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  3. 1 2 3 Dave Hadfield (1996-01-23). "Lindsay defends the Super League revolution". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dave Hadfield (1995-12-13). "Changes usher in new ball game". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  5. 1 2 "LE BLOG Day 2, Back to Charlety and Paris Saint Germain". Chris Irvine, Times Online. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  6. "Super League Champions Roll of Honour". Super League Official website. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  7. "Premiership Trophy 1996". Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  8. Fletcher, Raymond; Howes, David. Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1997. London: Headline. pp. 184–5. ISBN 978-0-7472-7764-4.
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