The objective in rugby league is to score more points through "tries, "goals (also known as "conversions) and "field goals (also known as drop goals) than the opposition within the 80 minutes of play. If after two halves of play, each consisting of forty minutes, the two teams are "drawing, a draw may be declared, or the game may enter extra time under the "golden point rule, depending on the relevant competition's format.
The try is the most common form of scoring, and a team will usually attempt to score one by running and kicking the ball further upfield, or passing from player-to-player in order to manoeuvre around the opposition's defence. A try involves touching the ball to the ground on or beyond the defending team's goal-line and is worth four points. A goal is worth two points and may be gained from a conversion or a penalty. A field goal, or drop goal, is only worth one point and is gained by dropping and then kicking the ball on the "half volley between the uprights in open play.
Field position is crucial in rugby league, achieved by running with or kicking the ball. Passing in rugby league may only be in a backward or sideways direction. Teammates therefore have to remain on-side by not moving ahead of the player with the ball. However the ball may be kicked ahead for teammates, but again, if they are in front of the kicker, when the ball is kicked, they are deemed off-side. Tackling is a key component of rugby league play. Only the player holding the ball may be tackled. A tackle is complete, for example, when the player is held by one or more opposing players in such a manner that he can make no further progress and cannot part with the ball, or when the player is held by one or more opposing players and the ball or the hand or arm holding the ball comes into contact with the ground. An attacking team gets a maximum of six tackles to progress up the field before possession is changed over. Once the tackle is completed, the ball-carrier must be allowed to get to his feet to '"play-the-ball'. Ball control is also important in rugby league, as a fumble of the ball on the ground forces a handover, unless the ball is fumbled backwards. The ball can also be turned over by going over the sideline.
Players on the pitch are divided into "forwards and "backs, although the game's rules apply to all players the same way. Each position has a designated number to identify himself from other players. These numbers help to identify which position a person is playing. The system of numbering players is different depending on which country the match is played in. In Australia and New Zealand, each player is usually given a number corresponding to their playing position on the field. However, since 1996 European teams have been able to grant players specific squad numbers, which they keep without regard to the position they play, similarly to "association football.
Substitutes (generally referred to as "the bench") are allowed in the sport, and are typically used when a player gets "tired or "injured, although they can also be used tactically. Each team is currently allowed four substitutes, and in Australia and New Zealand, these players occupy shirt numbers 14 to 22. There are no limitations on which players must occupy these interchangeable slots. Generally, twelve interchanges are allowed in any game from each team, although in the National Rugby League, this was reduced to ten prior to the 2008 season  and further reduced to eight prior to the 2016 season. If a team has to interchange a player due to the "blood bin rule or due to injury, and this was the result of misconduct from the opposing team, the compromised team does not have to use one of its allocated interchanges to take the player in question off the field.
The backs are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. They are often the most creative and evasive players on the field, relying on running, kicking and handling skills, as well as tactics and set plays, to break the defensive line, instead of brute force. Generally forwards do the majority of the work (hit-ups/tackling).
- The title of "fullback (numbered 1) comes from the fullback's defensive position where the player drops out of the defensive line to cover the rear from kicks and runners breaking the line. They therefore usually are good ball catchers and clinical tacklers. In attack the fullback will typically make runs into the attack or support a runner in anticipation of a pass out of the tackle. Fullbacks can play a role in attack similar to a halfback or five-eighth and the fact that the fullback does not have to defend in the first defensive line means that a coach can keep a playmaker from the tackling responsibilities of the first line whilst allowing them to retain their attacking role.
- The "wingers (numbered 2 and 5) are normally the fastest players in a team and play on the far left and right fringes of the field (the wings). Their main task is to receive passes and score tries. The wingers also drop back on the last tackle to cover the left and right sides of the field for kicks while the fullback covers the middle.
- The "centres (numbered 3 and 4) are positioned one in from the wings and together complete what is known as the three-quarter line. Usually the best mixture of power and vision, their main role is to try to create attacking opportunities for their team and defend against those of the opposition. Along with the wingers, the centres score plenty of tries throughout a season. They usually have a large build and therefore can often play in the "second row forwards.
Usually, the Stand Off/Five-Eighth and Scrum Half/Half-Back are a team's creative unit or 'playmakers'. During the interactions between a team's 'key' players (Five-Eighth, Half-Back, Fullback, Lock Forward, and Hooker), the Five-Eighth and Half-Back will usually be involved in most passing moves.
- The stand-off half (or "Five-Eighth) (numbered 6): There is not much difference between the stand-off half and the scrum half ("Halfback), in that both players may operate in front of the pack during 'forward play' (as prime receiver  and shadow receiver , one on each side of the ruck, or both on same side of the ruck), and both players may operate in front of the backs during 'back play' (as prime pivot  and shadow pivot , one on each side of the pack, or both on same side of the ruck / pack). The Five-Eighth position is named with regard to the distance that the player stands in relevance to the team.
- The "halfback (numbered 7): There is not much difference between the halfback and the five-eighth, in that both players may operate in front of the pack during 'forward play' (as prime receiver  and shadow receiver , one on each side of the ruck, or both on same side of the ruck). Both players may operate in front of the backs during 'back play' (as prime pivot  and shadow pivot , one on each side of the ruck / pack, or both on same side of the ruck / pack). The halfback position is named with regard to halfway between the fullback and the forwards.
The forwards' two responsibilities can be broken into "normal play" and "scrum play". For information on a forward's role in the scrum see "rugby league scrummage. Forward positions are traditionally named after the player's position in the scrum yet are equal with respect to "normal play" with the exception of the hooker. Forward positions are traditionally assigned as follows:
- The "props or front-row forwards (numbered 8 and 10) are normally the largest players on field. They are positioned in the centre of the line. The prop will be an "enforcer", dissuading the opposition from attacking the centre of the defensive line and, in attack, will give the team momentum by taking the ball up to the defence aggressively.
- The "hooker (numbered 9) is most likely to play the role of "dummy-half. In defence the hooker usually defends in the middle of the line against the opposition's props and second-rowers. The hooker will be responsible for organising the defence in the middle of the field. In attack as dummy-half this player is responsible for starting the play from every play-the-ball by either passing the ball to the right player, or, at opportune moments, running from dummy-half. It is vital that the hooker can pass very well. Traditionally, hookers "hooked" the ball in the scrum. Hookers also make probably more tackles than any other player on the field. The hooker is always involved in the play and needs to be very fit. They need to have a very good knowledge of the game and the players around them.
- The "second row forwards (numbered 11 and 12) The modern day second row is very similar to a centre and is expected to be faster, more mobile and have more skills than the prop and will play amongst the three-quarters, providing strength in attack and defence when the ball is passed out to the wings. Good second-rowers combine the skills and responsibilities of props and centres in the course of the game.
- The "Loose forward or Lock (numbered 13) is the only forward in the third (last) row of the scrum. They are usually among the fittest players on the field, covering the entire field on both attacking and defending duties. Typically they are big ball-runners who can occasionally slot in as a passing link or kick option; it is not uncommon for locks to have the skills of a "five-eighth and to play a similar role in the team.
Rugby league worldwide
Rugby league is played in over 70 nations throughout the world, 36 are ranked by the RLIF and a further 32 are officially recognized and unranked. The strongest rugby league nations are "Australia, "England and "New Zealand. The "Rugby League World Cup is the highest form of representative rugby league and currently features 14 teams. Those which have contested World Cups are; "Australia, "New Zealand, "England, "France, "Fiji, "Wales, "Papua New Guinea, "Samoa, "Ireland, "USA, "Scotland, "Italy, "Tonga, "Cook Islands, "Lebanon, "Russia and "South Africa. The current World Champions are Australia, who won the "2013 Rugby League World Cup. Professionally the sport is played in Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Wales.
Oceania and South Pacific
The "Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation's purpose is to spread the sport of rugby league throughout their region along with other governing bodies such as the "ARL and "NZRL. Since rugby league was introduced to Australia in 1908 it has become the largest television sport and 3rd most attended sport in Australia  and neighbouring "Papua New Guinea is one of two countries to have rugby league as its "national sport (with Cook Islands). This has led to officials from that country lobbying to have a team admitted to the "National Rugby League, Australia's elite club competition which also features a team from Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city. The reasonable popularity of the code in New Zealand has led to the possibility of another team from the South Island entering the competition as well. Rugby league is the dominant winter sport in the eastern Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland. The game is also among the predominant sports of "Tonga and is played in other Pacific nations such as "Samoa and "Fiji. In Australia, and indeed the rest of the region, the annual "State of Origin series ranks among the most popular sporting events.
UK and Europe
The "Rugby League European Federation are responsible for developing rugby league in "Europe and the "Northern Hemisphere,
In England, rugby league has traditionally been associated with the northern counties of "Yorkshire, "Lancashire and "Cumbria where the game originated, especially in towns along the "M62 corridor. Its popularity has also increased elsewhere. Currently, only one of the twelve "Super League teams is based outside of these traditional counties: "Catalans Dragons ("Perpignan). Figures published by the "Rugby Football League showed an 81% increase in women playing the sport in the twelve months prior to October 2008, as well as an increase in juniors of both genders nationwide. Over 40,000 players were registered by the RFL as of October 2008 with an overall participation rate in the game doubling in the last four years to well over 285,000 by late 2009. Rugby league has traditionally been the second largest spectator sport in England, after football, for the entire twentieth century (with a highest attendance of 6.8 million spectators in the 1948-1949 season).
France first played rugby league as late as 1934, where in the five years prior to the "Second World War, the sport's popularity increased as Frenchmen became disenchanted with the state of French rugby union in the 1930s. However, after the Allied Forces were defeated by Germany in June 1940, the "Vichy regime in the south seized assets belonging to rugby league authorities and clubs and banned the sport for its association with the left-wing "Popular Front government that had governed France before the war. The sport was unbanned after the "Liberation of Paris in August 1944 and the collapse of the Vichy regime, although it was still actively marginalised by the French authorities until the 1990s. Despite this, the national side appeared in the finals of the 1954 and 1968 World Cups, and the country hosted the 1954 event. In 1996, a French team, "Paris Saint-Germain was one of eleven teams which formed the new European Super League, although the club was dissolved in 1997. In 2006, the Super League admitted the "Catalans Dragons, a team from "Perpignan in the southern "Languedoc-Roussillon region. They have subsequently reached the "2007 Challenge Cup Final and made the play-offs of the 2008 "Super League XIII season. The success of the Dragons in Super League has initiated a renaissance in French rugby league, with new-found enthusiasm for the sport in the south of the country where most of the "Elite One Championship teams are based. In other parts of Europe the game is played at semi professional and amateur level.
The early 21st century has seen "other countries take up the game and compete in international rugby league with the "Rugby League European Federation and "Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation expanding the game to new areas such as "Canada, "Ghana, "Philippines, "Czech Republic, "Germany, "Sweden, "Norway, "Spain, "Hungary, "Turkey, "Thailand, "Chile, "Brazil and "Argentina to name a few.
Domestic professional competitions
The two most prominent full-time professional leagues are the "Australasian "National Rugby League and the European "Super League and to a lesser extent the semi professional French "Elite One Championship and "Elite Two Championship. Domestic leagues, with some full-time exceptions, exist at a semi-professional level below the NRL and Super League, in Australia the "Queensland Cup (which includes a team from Papua New Guinea) and "NSW Cup, which provides players to various NRL teams. In the "United Kingdom below Super League is the "Championship and "Championship 1 (the professional system includes 2 "Welsh teams, 2 "French and 1 "Canadian team). The "Papua New Guinea National Rugby League operates as a semi professional competition as does the "USA Rugby League in the "United States runs semi professional clubs to some extent in providing supported accommodation for foreign players. In other countries the game is played at an amateur level.
The top five attendances for rugby league test matches (International) are:
|"2013 World Cup Final||30 November 2013||"Australia def. "New Zealand 34–2||"Old Trafford||"Manchester||74,468|
|"1992 World Cup Final||24 October 1992||Australia def. "Great Britain 10–6||"Wembley Stadium||"London||73,631|
|1932 Ashes series, Game 1||6 June 1932||"England def. Australia 8–6||"Sydney Cricket Ground||"Sydney||70,204|
|1962 Ashes series, Game 1||9 June 1962||Great Britain def. Australia 31–12||Sydney Cricket Ground||Sydney||70,174|
|1958 Ashes series, Game 1||14 June 1958||Australia def. Great Britain 25–8||Sydney Cricket Ground||Sydney||68,777|
The top five attendances for domestic based rugby league matches are:
|"1999 NRL Grand Final||26 September 1999||"Melbourne def. "St George Illawarra 20–18||"Stadium Australia||"Sydney||107,999|
|"1999 NRL season Round 1||6 March 1999||"Newcastle Knights def. "Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 41–18
"Parramatta Eels def. St George Illawarra Dragons 20–10
|"1954 Challenge Cup Final replay||5 May 1954||"Warrington def. "Halifax 8–4||"Odsal Stadium||"Bradford||102,569*|
|"1985 Challenge Cup Final||4 May 1985||"Wigan def. "Hull F.C. 28–24||"Wembley Stadium||"London||99,801|
|"1966 Challenge Cup Final||21 May 1966||"St. Helens def. Wigan 21–2||Wembley Stadium||London||98,536|
* NRL double header played to open Round 1 of the "1999 NRL season. Figure shown is the total attendance which is officially counted for both games.
* The official attendance of the 1954 Challenge Cup Final replay was 102,569. Unofficial estimates put the attendance as high as 150,000, Bradford Police confirming 120,000.
- "History of rugby league
- "List of rugby league terms
- "Playing rugby league
- "List of international rugby league teams
- "Rugby league nines
- "Tag Rugby (OzTag) — a completely non-contact version of rugby league
- "Touch football — an almost non-contact version
- "League tag — A semi-contact version of Rugby League
- "Comparison of rugby league and rugby union
- "Geography of rugby league
- "Collins, Tony (1998). Rugby's great split: class, culture, and the origins of Rugby League football. Routledge. "ISBN "978-0-7146-4867-5.
- Bellew, T. J. (1984). Laws of the game of rugby league football. "Australian Rugby Football League.
- A. N., Gaulton (1968). Encyclopaedia of Rugby League Football. London: Robert Hale. "ISBN "978-0-7091-0377-6.
- "Macklin, Keith (1974). The History of Rugby League Football. London: Stanley Paul. "ISBN "978-0-09-120780-9.
- John Nauright & Charles Parish (2010). Sports around the World. USA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
- Paul Downward and Ian Jackson (2004). Common Origins, Common Future? A Comparative Analysis of Association Football and Rugby League Football in the UK. Greenwood Publishing Group. "ISBN "978-0-275-98032-0.
- "Moorhouse, Geoffrey (1996). A People's Game: The Centenary History of Rugby League Football, 1895–1995. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
- Rugby Football League (1957). Rugby league football: the official illustrated handbook of the Rugby Football League. Great Britain: Educational Productions Ltd.
- RLEF. "What is Rugby League?". Rugby League European Federation. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
- Dept. Recreation and Sport. "Dimensions for Rugby League". Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
- Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.3
- Middleton, David (March 2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia. National Museum of Australia. p. 27. "ISBN "978-1-876944-64-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 December 2010.
When rugby league cast itself free of an arrogant rugby union 100 years ago, it did so with a sense of re-invention. It was not just about creating better conditions for the players but about striving to produce a better game; a less complicated brand that would appeal to the masses.
- "Rugby League World Cup 2013 will provide the sport with a true test of its popularity". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2015
- "Rugby league: National Rugby League and Australian Rugby League" (PDF). hreoc.gov.au. Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "New Zealand Sport". Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "Rugby League, a uniting force in PNG". Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "PNG vow to upset World Cup odds". Rugby League. Federación Peruana de Frontón. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
But it would still be one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history if Papua New Guinea - the only country to have rugby league as its national sport - were to qualify for the last four.
- "PNG seal 2010 Four Nations place". BBC. 1 November 2009.
- Why Rugby League? at Crusaders Rugby League website
- Spracklen, Karl (2001). 'Black Pearl, Black Diamonds' Exploring racial identities in rugby league. Routledge. p. 72. "ISBN "978-0-415-24629-3.
- Fagan, Sean (2008). League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. pp. vii. "ISBN "978-1-876944-64-3.
- Groeneveld, Margaret (2007). Matters of the heart: The business of English rugby league. Berghahn Books. p. 27. "ISBN "978-1-84545-054-0.
- Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.6
- Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain, p.5 (2006)
- Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.6, quote:"in 1906 the number of players in a team was reduced to thirteen and an orderly play-the-ball, whereby a tackled player had to get to his feet and roll the ball behind him with his foot, was introduced. These two changes completed the break from the playing rules of rugby union and marked the birth of rugby league as a distinct sport with its own unique rules".
- Baker, Andrew (20 August 1995). "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". "Independent, The. London: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
- Jupp, James (2001). The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins. Cambridge University Press. pp. 342 & 343. "ISBN "978-0-521-80789-0.
- Collins, Tony (18 April 2006). Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (1 ed.). Routledge. pp. 113–114. "ISBN "978-0-415-39615-8.
- "Rugby League Attendances 1957–2010". rleague.com. 2010.
- "Season Summary". Rugby League Tables. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
- "Stats Insider: Grand Final by the numbers". nrl.com. Australia: "NRL.COM and "Telstra Corporation Pty Ltd. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
- "RUGBY LEAGUE LAWS OF THE GAME INTERNATIONAL LEVEL WITH NOTES ON THE LAWS AND NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP INTERPRETATIONS" (PDF). PLAYNRL.COM. 2015.
- 'history of the sport' in 1996, theRFL
- 'rugby league playing guide' squad numbers, This is rugby, archived from the original on 31 July 2009
- "League rule changes for 2008". www.leagueunlimited.com (League Unlimited). Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- Most Popular Sports in Australia. Topendsports.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Ilya, Gridneff (11 April 2008). "Papua New Guinea officials lobby for an NRL team". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Knowler, Richard (21 February 2012). "NRL team bid for Christchurch". The Press. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- David Rowe, 'Rugby League in Australia: the Super League Saga', Journal of Sport & Social Issues, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 221–226 (1997)
- Matt Fletcher, Nancy Keller (2001). Tonga. Australia: "Lonely Planet. p. 73. "ISBN "978-1-74059-061-7.
- Ford, Greg (18 April 2012). "State of Origin bigger test for James Tamou". Fairfax NZ News. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Apathy in old Dart like an arrow through our heart". Stock & Land. 1 November 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- RLEF. Rlef.eu.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Woods, Dave (14 December 2008). "Interest growing in Conference". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
- "Rugby League Activity". Active Surrey. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
- "Engage Super League Attracts Strong Viewing in 2008". Rugby Football League. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
- "National Campaign Launched". England Rugby League. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
- Schofield, Hugh (8 October 2002). "French rugby league fights for rights". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC News). Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- "Rugby League Planet – 1954 Rugby League World Cup". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- "Rugby League Planet – 1968 Rugby League World Cup". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- "Step Back in Time: Catalans (H)". wigan.rlfans.com (cherryandwhite.co.uk). Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- "French join Super League". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC Sport). 26 May 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- RLEF. Rlef.eu.com (29 July 2011). Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- German Rugby League Bundesliga set for kick off. Rleague.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- norskrl.com. norskrl.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013
- Manly vs Newcastle 1999
- Parramatta vs St George Illawarra 1999
- RLIF (2004). "The International Laws of the Game and Notes on the Laws". Rugby League International Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
- Andrews, Malcolm (1981). Rugby league, the greatest game of all. Horwitz. "ISBN "978-0-7255-1338-2.
- Andrews, Malcolm (1995). The A-Z of Rugby League. Hodder Moa Beckett. "ISBN "978-0-340-59956-3.
|""||Wikiquote has quotations related to: Rugby league|
|""||Look up rugby league in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rugby league.|