Adelaide Rams


Adelaide Rams

Infobox rugby league club


clubname=Adelaide Rams
fullname=Adelaide Rugby League Football Club
nickname=
founded=1995 (first season: 1997)
exited=1998
ground=Adelaide Oval (1997-98) & Hindmarsh Stadium (98)
capacity=30,000 - 16,500
ceo=Liz Dawson
coach=Rod Reddy (1997–98) Dean Lance (1998)
captain=Kerrod Walters (1997–98)
league=Super League and NRL
season=1997 1998
position=9th of 10 17th of 20
c

mostc
Kerrod Walters
mostpoints=Graham Appo
points=116
homejersey = Adelaide Rams home jersey 1997.svg
The Adelaide Rams were a rugby league football club based in Adelaide, South Australia. The team was formed in 1995 for the planned rebel Super League competition, which eventually ran parallel to the rival Australian Rugby League competition in 1997. The Rams were not a successful club, only lasting two seasons, the first in the Super League competition in 1997 and the second in the National Rugby League's first season in 1998. The Adelaide Rams were shut down at the end of the 1998 season and remain the only club from the state of South Australia to have participated in first–grade rugby league in Australia.

History

South Australia, one of the six states of Australia, had been dominated by the Australian rules football code, with two teams competing in the national Australian rules football code competition, the Australian Football League (AFL). Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, was considered an AFL stronghold and the possibility of sustaining a code unknown to South Australian supporters was considered unlikely.

Formation

The New South Wales Rugby League premiership (NSWRL) had begun in 1908 as a rugby league competition in the Sydney region of Australia. Since then, the competition had expanded to outer Sydney and other parts of New South Wales as well as Canberra, and eventually Queensland. In 1992, the NSWRL decided to admit four new teams for the 1995 competition from Western Australia, New Zealand and Queensland. Between 1991 and 1995, the NSWRL programmed five matches to be played in Adelaide, to test the possibility of a team from the South Australian capital. These trial matches were successful but with the NSWRL already in the process of setting up a 20-team competition, it was hard for them to admit any further teams.cite book | author=Whiticker, Alan & Collis, Ian | title= The History of Rugby League Clubs
publisher=New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd | year=2004| id=ISBN 1-74110-075-5
]

In 1995, the media company News Limited began developing a competition to rival the NSWRL's which was branded the Australian Rugby League premiership (ARL). After eight of the twenty teams in the ARL signed with News Limited for their proposed 1996 competition, Super League, they began looking for more teams to enter the rival competition. In June 1995, the South Australian Rugby League (SARL), which governs the game of rugby league in South Australia, officially signed with Super League, who subsequently gave the SARL a licence to form a franchise in their planned 1996 competition.

On 13 December 1995, the SARL officially launched the "Adelaide Rams", the tenth team to compete in the 1996 Super League competition. It was owned and supported by News Limited. Super League was restricted legally from beginning competition in 1996, however, and the Rams were put on hold. In mid-1996 an appeal saw The Super League successfully appealed the ruling, and in mid-1996 the competition was allowed to go ahead. The first and only Super League season was held in 1997.

Inaugural season

The SARL appointed Liz Dawson, the former Auckland Warriors marketing manager, as the first female chief executive of any ARL or Super League club to be the Rams' chief executive. The club had lured St. George Dragons mentor Rod Reddy to be their inaugural coach, along with two-time NSWRL premiership-winning hooker Kerrod Walters from the Brisbane Broncos to be their inaugural captain of the team. Most of the other players for the team were drawn from the SARL's lower grade competitions in the region.

The club played its first premiership match against the North Queensland Cowboys and, after leading 16–4 at half time, eventually lost the match 24–16. Their first home match against the Hunter Mariners, which was also the Rams' first win, drew a record attendance of 27,435. This was one of two wins in 1997 for the Rams at their home ground, the Adelaide Oval. The Rams only won four away games, leaving them second last on the premiership ladder.

The Rams did not fare any better in the 1997 World Club Challenge, a newly formatted tournament involving teams from both the Australian and European Super League competitions. The Rams won all their matches played in Australia but lost two of their three matches in Europe, leaving them outside qualification for their group and subsequently failed to reach the finals series.

With the unification of the Super League and ARL competitions following the 1997 season, the new National Rugby League (NRL) competition was formed. This meant that three teams would be axed as part of the rationalisation process aimed at reducing teams to an optimal number. With the introduction of the Melbourne Storm and the fact that the agreement between Super League and the ARL was to have a 14–team competition in 2000, the future for the Rams looked bleak. The Rams' home ground support, which averaged 15,330 fans each week, ensured that they remained in the newly re-unified 1998 competition.cite web|first=Paul|last=Jeffs|url= http://stats.rleague.com/rl/crowds/adelaide.html|title=Rugby League Tables / Attendances / Adelaide|accessdate=2008-04-15]

Final season

The demise of three clubs from the Super League and ARL saw some player re-shuffling and the arrival of Noel Goldthorpe, Tony Iro and Matt Daylight at the Adelaide club.cite web|url=http://rl1908.com/Clubs/Adelaide-Rams.htm|first=Sean|last=Fagan|title=Rugby League History – RL1908.com – Adelaide Rams|accessdate=2008-04-15] However, after the Rams lost nine of their first ten games, coach Reddy and the entire coaching staff were sacked by the Rams' administration. Reddy was replaced by former Perth Reds coach Dean Lance and mid-season saw the arrival of Canberra Raiders centre Graham Appo.

The club went on to win six of their last fourteen games after Lance's arrival, enough to avoid the wooden spoon, awarded to the team finishing lowest on the competition ladder. Their results were slightly worse than their first season, coming fourth last in the 20–team competition. Appo broke several team records in his 14 games with the Rams. Throughout the 1998 season, the Rams attempted to build a stronger supporter base to avoid removal from the competition in 1999 or 2000; however, average home attendance dwindled to 7,472 over the course of the season.

The NRL had planned to continue a 20–team competition in 1999, with a reduction to 14 teams in 2000. The Rams' management had their minds set on a place in the competition. The club went on a buying spree, obtaining rights for players that they hoped would be productive enough for the team to survive the cut in 2000. With the merger between the St. George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers, News Limited told the Rams they would no longer receive funding. The cost of building and sustaining an uncompetitive rugby league team in an area dominated by another football code had resulted in News Limited sustaining heavy financial losses. Attempts to merge the club with a Sydney club failed and the NRL wound the Rams up on the 1 December 1998, bringing their short history to an end.

Colours, emblem and stadium

The emblem of the team was a ram (a male sheep). The ram was chosen, according to Super League chief executive John Ribot, because it was "readily identifiable with strength and hardness". This was considered a better alternative to the first choice of the "Adelaide Aces", which Ribot believed was too soft a name and did not work well as a brand for a Super League team. The main colours of the Adelaide Rams were red and blue, although there was yellow in their emblem. Their jerseys were also red and blue until the last game they played in 1998, where they used a mainly yellow jersey so as not to clash with the similar jersey of the Newcastle Knights.

The Rams' initial home ground was Adelaide Oval, a round park that had been used for cricket and Aussie Rules for over a century. Throughout the first year they had a average home ground attendance of 15,330, the fourth highest of the Super League teams and fifth highest of all 22 teams in both competitions.Jeffs, Paul. [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/crowds/1997.html 1997 ARL Attendances] and [http://stats.rleague.com/rl/crowds/1997sl.html 1997 SL Attendances] Retrieved 2008-04-27.] In 1998, however, the Rams' home ground attendance diminished at Adelaide Oval, dropping to an average of about 7,500, which was fourth lowest of any team in the 20–team competition.

During 1998, the South Australian Cricket Association had ongoing problems with the SARL and the Rams' use of their stadium, Adelaide Oval. The Rams then moved to Hindmarsh Stadium, a rectangular oval more suited to rugby league and owned by the South Australian Soccer Association. They celebrated with a 52-0 defeat over Balmain in the their first match at the stadium. The attendance did not improve after the move, falling below 7,500.

Records and statistics

Individual records

Kerrod Walters, the club’s inaugural captain, played 41 games for the Rams, more than any other player. Most of the club's individual records are held by Graham Appo, who scored the most points in a season, along with the most tries in a season, both achieved in 1998. Appo also held the record for scoring the most points in a match, scoring 24 points twice, against the Balmain Tigers, and then against the Gold Coast Chargers. In these matches he scored three tries, another club record. Appo achieved 116 points for the Rams, two more than Luke Williamson. Appo has also scored the most tries for the Rams with 12; Williamson, with 45, holds the record for most goals. [cite web|url=http://stats.rleague.com/rl/teams/adelaide/adelaide_sc.html|title=Rugby League Tables / Adelaide Scorers|accessdate=2008-04-15|first=Paul|last=Jeffs]

None of Adelaide's players reached international status during its tenure as a club. Kevin Campion in 1997 was the club's only representative, having played for the Queensland state rugby league team in the Super League Tri-Series.

Team honours

The Rams did not win any premierships, minor premierships or wooden spoons in their two seasons. Their biggest win was 52-0 over the Balmain Tigers in 1998 and their biggest losing margin was 42 points and occurred twice: against the Canberra Raiders in 1997 and the Penrith Panthers in 1998. The Rams had a 32.14% win percentage for all of their premiership games, which makes them statistically the sixth worst team in first grade rugby league in Australia out of 33 teams. [cite web|url= http://stats.rleague.com/rl/teams/all/overall_wl.html|title=Rugby League Tables / Win – Loss Records / All Teams|accessdate=2008-04-29|first=Paul|last=Jeffs]

References

External links

* [http://www.rl1908.com/Clubs/Adelaide-Rams.htm Adelaide Rams] at the RL1908 website.


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