‘116-year history’: The NRL are at it again, rewriting rugby league history

NRL logo & Jake Arthur (Manly Sea Eagles), Adam Reynolds (Brisbane Broncos), Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters) stood in front of the Las Vegas Nevada sign


We on this side of the world are no strangers to a touch of myopia when it comes to the NRL and Australian rugby league.

Super League has always felt like the distant relative of the NRL as opposed to the two elite competitions in rugby league having a tight-knit bond. And don’t even get us started on their views towards for the international game.

But even by their standards, the Aussies have delivered big time on the eve of their landmark arrival in Las Vegas to launch the new NRL season. Their blockbuster promo work has earned rave reviews and Fox League have even got in on the action, putting a pretty clean-cut package together to the strings of Elvis hit Burning Love. Check it out below:

Only, there’s one slight issue. Around halfway through the video, the narrator points out that Vegas and the events that take place over the course of the weekend will become the latest chapter in rugby league’s “116-year history”.

Wait, what?

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Ah, of course. Rugby league landed in Australia in 1908, which makes that year the starting point for the sport’s entire history in certain parts of the world. It does, of course, conveniently ignore the fact that league started some 13 years earlier on this side of the world.. but why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

Of course, it’s not the first time Australian rugby league has forgotten the rest of the rugby league world exists. Remember when the NRL clubs tried to block the Denver test between England and New Zealand – despite there being NO NRL fixtures taking place on the same weekend?

It prompted now-legendary quotes from Daryl Powell, who was then coach at Castleford and told the Yorkshire Post: “It’s ridiculous. It’s a big game in a big part of the world with a massive potential growth area for the sport. Why would you not want to support that? They (NRL) play brutal games over there in terms of State of Origin and guys back up from them all the time.

“But this somehow seems to be different to them. It doesn’t really make sense to me.”

Yes, we regret to inform you that the NRL are indeed at it again. Fingers crossed Vegas is a huge hit – but next time, don’t forget rugby league exists on the other side of the world, too.

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