Adelaide Rams

The Adelaide Rams were an Australian professional rugby league football club based in Adelaide, South Australia. The team was formed in 1995 for the planned rebel Super League competition. The Rams lasted two seasons, the first in the Super League competition in 1997 and the second in the first season of the National Rugby League (NRL) in 1998. The Rams were not a successful club, winning only 13 out of 42 games. However crowd numbers in the first season were the fifth highest of any first-grade club that year, but dwindled to sixteenth in the second season. The Adelaide club was shut down at the end of the 1998 season as a result of poor on-field performances, dwindling crowd numbers, financial losses and a reduction in the number of teams in the NRL. They remain the only team from the state of South Australia to have participated in top-level rugby league in Australia.

Defunct rugby league team in South Australia

Adelaide Rams
Club information
Full name Adelaide Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) Rams
Colours Primary:


Founded 13 December 1995; 25 years ago (1995-12-13) (first season: 1997)
Exited 1998; 23 years ago (1998)
Former details
CEO Tim Pickup (1995–96)
Liz Dawson (1996–98)
Michael O’Connor (1999)
Coach Rod Reddy (1995–98)
Dean Lance (1998)
Captain Kerrod Walters (1997–98)
Competition Super League and NRL
9th of 10
17th of 20
Home colours
Away colours
Most capped 41Kerrod Walters
Highest points scorer 116Graham Appo

. . . Adelaide Rams . . .

The Australian rules football code, with origins as far back as 1843,[1] had long dominated sport in the state. South Australia had two teams competing in the national Australian rules competition, the Australian Football League (AFL): the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide, the latter starting in the AFL in the same year as the Rams first season in Super League. Port Adelaide’s entry, propelled by a large local fan base in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, and the Crows successes in 1997–98 made it much harder for the Rams to compete for fan support. They were also competing against the popular Adelaide 36ers who played in the National Basketball League (NBL) which at the time ran a winter season. Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, was considered an Aussie rules stronghold, and in the SANFL had the oldest Aussie Rules Football league, and indeed the oldest league of any code, in Australia, as well as a viable Rugby Union competition which had been running since 1932.[1] The South Australian Rugby League (SARL) also had a First Grade Premiership competition in place since 1976, while league been played competitively in Adelaide since the late 1940s.[2]

The New South Wales Rugby League premiership (NSWRL) begun in 1908, as a rugby league competition mostly for clubs in the Sydney region of Australia (a team from Newcastle competed in 1908–09), a situation that lasted until 1982. The competition then expanded outside of NSW to Canberra, and to outside of Sydney with a team from Wollongong, and eventually in 1988 to Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Queensland, plus a new team from Newcastle. In 1992 the NSWRL decided to extend the competition further, by admitting four new teams for the 1995 competition, one from Western Australia, one from New Zealand and two from Queensland. The NSWRL also decided to test the viability of a rugby league team from the South Australian capital, and between 1991 and 1995 programmed five matches to be played in Adelaide at the famous Adelaide Oval. In 1991, the St. George Dragons (whose primary sponsor since the mid-late 1970s was Adelaide-based winery Penfolds) and Balmain Tigers match attracted 28,884 people, the largest attendance for any rugby league game in South Australia and the largest of the entire minor round of the 1991 NSWRL season (it was in fact the 6th highest attendance for the entire season, beating the attendance of two of the seven Finals series games).[3] Around 20,000 attended the two matches in 1992 and 1993, and around 10,000 in 1994 and 1995.[3] Despite this evidence of popular appeal, the NSWRL, already in the process of setting up a 20-team competition, could not see their way to admitting a team from Adelaide and their preferred option outside of rugby league strongholds of NSW, Qld and New Zealand was to have a team from Melbourne and another in Perth (the Melbourne Storm would be formed in 1998).[4] By the end of 1995, this was apparent as the ARL had already played two international Test matches involving the Australian Kangaroos in Melbourne, as well as three State of Origin games, with Game 2 of the 1994 State of Origin series attracting a then Australian record rugby league crowd of 87,161 to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[5]

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