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Fun Facts About the Rugby League

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Rugby has been around for a long time, tracing its history to ancient Greece, where it wasn’t unusual for people to play games with balls that resemble modern rugby. One can only wonder if those fans were as enthusiastic as the Rugby League fans today who get to enjoy a host of tech innovations that bring them closer to the action. For example, as betting online has become more common in recent years, modern fans can even take advantage of the free offers made available by many sportsbooks to back their favorite sides.

With such a rich history it’s not surprising that the sport has become a hotbed of trivia, home to many fun facts that even the most committed fans may not know. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of interesting tidbits and factoids about the league. 

Record for Fan Attendance

The 2013 Rugby League World Cup, where Australia defeated New Zealand 34-2, attracted 74,468 to England’s Old Trafford Stadium, setting the record for attendance at an international fixture rugby match. The record has stood for almost ten years to date; we’ll have to wait and see if it’s broken any time soon. 

Papa New Guinea’s National Sport

Football may be the most popular sport in the world, but rugby reigns supreme in Papa New Guinea. The nation located to the north of Australia is well-known for its Rugby League tournament, although cricket and other sports are also popular. 

Trophy Stolen in 1970

While on display at the Midland Hotel in Bradford, West Yorkshire in the 1970s the world cup was shockingly stolen. The events unfolded six days before the final, and there was no trace of the missing trophy for the next 20 years. 

However, a Bradford resident came across the trophy in a pile of trash in 1990. He didn’t know what it was and struggled to return it to its proper owner. Finally, a friend contacted the Telegraph & Argus newspaper, and they published a story about it. A Rugby League historian identified the trophy, which was then finally returned to the league.

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Oldest Player to Participate in a Match

While most people are retired or on their way to retirement by the time they’re 70 years old, Dennis Gleeson was different. The former Rugby League player holds the distinction of being the oldest rugby player to participate in a match. He participated in the Student Rugby League Competition in 2006, playing for the State Rail Apprentice RLFC. At the time, he was listed as a player for the entire 2006 season in Australia.

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