6 Substantial Facts Associated With National Rugby League

Professional rugby continues to be big in Australia. In fact, in 2018 it bypassed the Australian Football League (AFL) in television viewership. This is an achievement during a time were overall viewership is decreasing.

Yet, some in Australia and New Zealand don't know much about the National Rugby League (NRL). Nor do many people in America who occasionally catch a match while flipping through channels. So, to gain additional knowledge, here are six facts you may not know about the NRL.

  1. The NRL is not the AFL

When you see the matches on TV, Rugby and Australian rules football may seem similar. However, they are definitely not. For instance, each AFL team has 18 players and matches take place on an oval pitch. There are 13 players on each NRL team, and it is played on a rectangular pitch.

Overall, NRL competitions can resemble soccer matches when it comes to the amount of activity in the field. In addition, like soccer, there are two halves that run 40 minutes each. Thus, there can be numerous turnovers and penalties to maintain audiences' attention.

  1. Betting is allowed

Yes, legal betting is allowed in the NRL. There are various sites that provide betting on a large scale, sites like Blue Bet offer guidelines and suggestions on betting levels. If you have never done this before, then it's recommended you start with small bets.

  1. Many team names are similar to those in the NFL

Though there are some who compare the NRL to America's National Football League (NFL), it really isn't the case. The only similarities between the two are some of the participant group names. Both leagues feature the Titans, Broncos, Panthers, Cowboys, and Raiders. It's unlikely the NRL teams would play against their NFL counterparts.

  1. The NRL is fairly new

While professional rugby has been in Australia since 1908, the NRL didn't come about until 90 years later. The story of how it was founded can be a bit confusing. It involves the original New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL), the introduction of interstate challenges, bringing in other rugby teams from across the country, a Super League war, and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. In the end, it's best to read about the league's history on its official website.

  1. Most teams are based out of the Sydney area

This is logical as the NRL was created from the NSWRL. Out of the current 16 clubs, eight are based within Greater Sydney with two in the New South Wales region. The rest of the league is comprised of three Queensland teams and one each from Victoria, New Zealand, and the Australian Capital Territory.

  1. The NRL is an enormous hit on subscription television

Though many people are "cutting the cord" on their subscription services, the National Rugby League still remains one of the most popular programs. At some point in the season, six of the top 10 programs are NRL matches. In 2018, the NRL Grand Final was seen by 1.3 million viewers.

Despite having the same schedule as the AFL -- from March to October -- the NRL continues to gain in popularity among Australia's population. With its power plays and constant action, it can make America's NFL games seem serene. In the end, if you haven't had a chance to take in a match live or on television, it is recommended at some point in time.

And don't worry if you are a bit confused when you first watch. Use these facts and your own research to get a handle on the teams and how they play. Soon enough, you'll be a huge fan like so many others across the world.