SARL Overview

The South Australian Rugby League is the official governing body of NRL in South Australia, and became an incorporated body on the 28th July 1976. A non-for-profit organisation; Rugby League has been played in South Australia for over 35 years.

In Season 2014, there are 8 clubs (6 metropolitan and 2 regional) located around Adelaide reaching 30,000 children and their families in the Metropolitan and country areas giving the sport a statewide presence conducting competitions from Victor Harbor in the South to Gawler in the North as well as Murray Bridge to Ceduna in the country areas of South Australia, providing competitions, activities governance and administration support for the development of the game.

2014 will see senior games played over 15 rounds split between a central venue and clubland, while the junior’s competition will be split into a Northern Districts and a Southern Districts Competition to be played at two central venues. A Premier League Competition, for juniors aged 16-18, will be played on a Friday night at a central venue. Both seniors and juniors will feature in representative competitions including the NRL State League Championships, the VInet Solutions All-Stars Carnival, and compete against other representative teams from interstate.


Supplied by Ted Thompson - Life Member of the South Australian Rugby League

In the late 1940's the Port Adelaide Rugby Union club broke up and formed four League teams. Games were being played on the grasslands at McKinnon Parade, North Adelaide. After showing interest, Ted Thompson was asked to become a Board Member. The South Australian Rugby League was then known as the Amateur SARL.

In the early 1950's, a South Australian Team was selected to visit Sydney to play South Sydney at Redfern Oval. The team travelled to Sydney by train, via Melbourne. South Sydney won the game 45 -10. Wally McArthur, a member of the SA team was selected and signed to play with English Club, Warrington.

Ted visited schools in the Port and North Adelaide areas to form school teams. At least one coach was required to look after each team. Then during the late 1950's and 1960's, Woomera Rocket Range formed four clubs to create a competition. They comprised of an Army, Airforce and two local clubs. The ARL agreed to recognise the Woomera group as the SARL. A few years later the Woomera teams folded when the Airforce and Army were transfered to the Northern Territory.

In early 1976 Peter Clarke (Sparrow) contacted Ted Thompson to help form the SA Rugby League. Peter hired a small theatre in the State Administration Centre to get things moving.

The SARL started playing on a school oval in the East Parklands, and then SA Railways Oval. A number of teams were formed including North, Port, Glenelg and South Adelaide (later Southern Vales), and for a short time Norwood and West Lakes. A team from Murray Bridge played occasionally and at one time discussions started about a team from Berri joining.

Ted Thompson