The Birth of Professional Rugby League in Australia: A selection from the Sydney Morning Herald (1907-08)

Sydney Morning Herald

In early 1907 the world of Australian rugby was rocked by the news that a professional New Zealand All Blacks team was set to tour the northern counties of Engliand, where professional rugby had been a reality for more than a decade. The professionalization of Australian rugby was unthinkable, but within a few months the unthinkable had come to pass. The professional All Blacks had played a hastily formed New South Wales team, the great Dally Messenger had joined the New Zealand tour of England, and by 1908 a professional league was formed in Sydney, with several of the teams that play in the NRL today. This selection from the Sydney Morning Herald's coverage of the fierce debate that ensued, shows how concerns for the welfare of the game and players were mingled with class-interest, colonial ideologies and greed for profit. - Summary by Phil Benson

Genre(s): Sports & Recreation

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 A professional All Blacks team to visit the northern counties of England Phil Benson
Play 02 A wave of discontent Phil Benson
Play 03 Foundation of the NSW Rugby League Phil Benson
Play 04 The All Blacks arrive Phil Benson
Play 05 The first professional fixtures Phil Benson
Play 06 The 1907 season ends: Rugby union in crisis Phil Benson
Play 07 News from England: The All Blacks tour Phil Benson
Play 08 New clubs formed Phil Benson
Play 09 Professionalism in Australian sport: The debate goes on Phil Benson
Play 10 The NSW Rugby League: The first season opens Phil Benson