Five Rugby League Trophies That Need Some Explaining

Trophies. You play professional rugby league, you want to win them. However not all trophies are created equal.


For every Winfield or Challenge Cup there is a head scratching lump of metal that seems just as likely to end up in a Bradford landfill site as it is in your Leagues club’s pool room.

Here are five of the most dubious.

5. You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel…

“Hey, you can’t bag that out, it’s the Winfield Cup!” I hear you yell into your keyboard before threatening to report me to Tina Turner.

Well it is, but with one important difference, two if you count the fact that someone from Canberra is anywhere near it.

That stripy towel big Mal has wrapped around the base? Not just for show.

After their epic breakthrough Grand Final win in 1989 the Canberra Raiders partied hard. Mooseheads on a Thursday night with Todd Carney and Tony Abbott going beer for beer hard.

After their fifth or six civic reception the boys were feeling a little worse for wear and Laurie Daley dropped the trophy out of a ute somewhere around Queanbeyan, mangling the base.

Fortunately someone was able to glue Norm and Arthur back together before the Raiders won it again in 1990, however Laurie was never trusted to be left alone with a trophy ever again.

Hence his extended tenure as NSW coach.


4. Goodwill, bad execution

There’s an old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee.

The Courtney Goodwill trophy might be a trophy designed by an actual camel.

Have a look at this thing!

Imagine winning a hard-fought Test match then being lumped with a giant slab of wood topped with something that looks like Kanye West’s metallic wedding cake. Jesus, what’s on that thing? I can count a globe, dolphins, a pyramid, a kiwi, a rooster, a couple of people…it’s a mess really. Less is more Courtney!

Prior to the establishment of the Rugby League World Cup the Goodwill Trophy acted a bit like a World Champion trophy for Test sides. Problem was however the thing was so bloody heavy that teams would end up just leaving it behind so they didn’t get slugged with $16,000 worth of excess baggage charges when they boarded their flight.

These days the trophy can be found at Sydney’s Rugby League Museum where it has been lovingly restored to a …err, much shinier eyesore.

3. What a bomb

Unless you worked at Suncorp Stadium in 2014 or are the keenest Bulldogs fan in Australia you’re probably wondering when the hell Canterbury won the Charity Shield.

However the trophy, which Michael Ennis is holding like a young child that has just soiled itself, is actually the Charity Cup, a short lived venture by everyone’s least favourite expansion side the Brisbane Bombers.

The Bombers decided that lacking history, fans or a half-decent logo their best avenue for inclusion in the NRL was to hold a pre-season match between the popular Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm.

Unfortunately only a tick over 10k people turned out for the game, meaning it was the one and only Charity Cup and that the Bulldogs would forever be answering questions about that weird winged ash tray sitting in the lunchroom at Belmore.


2. Gee that’s er…Super

Super League promised to revolutionise rugby league and make footy players famous in China.

In reality it gave us hideous jerseys, an over-sized coin for use before kick-off and Bill Harrigan with a mullet.

By the time the Super League Grand Final rolled around this bold, exciting young competition had to come up with a trophy.

So what did they do?

Copy the NFL’s Vince Lombardi trophy in a knock-off job that’d make Milli-Vanilli blush!

I’d love to know the thought process here.

‘Umm, Wayne Bennett coaching the Broncos. Wayne Bennett liked Jack Gibson. Jack Gibson liked Vince Lombardi…yep, got it!’


1. The cry series

So you’re probably looking at that trophy above thinking ‘Man, Super League didn’t put a lot of effort into their trophies.’

And yes, you would be right.

Fortunately for you though we’ve saved the worst for last, say hello to the Super League Tri-Series trophy


Wow. Where to start. Aside from Laurie Daley’s haircut you could set your watch to this picture is a whole load of stink.

The trophy could best be described as a giant plate with an Australia and New Zealand cookie mould glued on. Throw in about fifteen superfluous engraving plates and you’ve got something that screams ‘Year 10 industrial design.’ It’s so bad the New Zealand Captain didn’t even show up for the photo.

In fact, there’s reason to believe the thing was cursed after Noel Goldthorpe kicked a 104th min field goal to win the Tri-Series final…only to be dropped to Reggies the next week.


What do you think?