American National Rugby League
|Sport||Rugby league football|
|Number of teams||5|
|Champions||Connecticut Wildcats (2013)|
|Most titles||Aston Bulls (6 titles)|
The American National Rugby League (AMNRL) was a Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) as the governing body for the sport in the United States, and oversaw the United States national rugby league team, the Tomahawks.
Australian former professional player David Niu founded the competition that became the AMNRL in 1997, with six teams competing in the first season the following year. The league grew to eleven teams by 2010, with plans for westward expansion. On January 12, 2011, seven teams announced they were departing the AMNRL to form the new USA Rugby League.
The AMNRL suffered from competition with the USARL, and did not host a domestic competition after the 2013 season, though it continued to organize international team games. The organization folded in 2014.
- Origins 1.1
- Growth 1.2
- AMNRL/USARL split and collapse 1.3
- Expansion plans 1.4
Season structure 2
- List of championship titles 2.1
- Former teams 3.1
- Commissioners and presidents 4
Statistics and awards 5
- League records 5.1
- Most valuable player 5.2
- See also 6
- References 7
- External links 8
The competition that became the modern American National Rugby League was founded in 1997, when
- American National Rugby League Online
- Official websites
- "Breakaway league launched in the US". code13rugbyleague.com. January 12, 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
- "Room for Rugby".
- Christopher K. Hepp (September 18, 1998). "Murdoch's Money Creating A U.S. Toehold For Rugby".
- Hannan, Tony (April 2002). "Niu York, Niu York!". Rugby League World. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- Mya M. Borger (January 10, 2000). "Playing for Keeps".
- Devan Stuart (October 1, 2001). "Gormley sells U.S. rugby league".
- Jessica Gellady (March 24, 2003). "Revamping Rugby".
- David Hundt (May 4, 2001). "Who's in control?". 13world.com. rivals.net. Archived from the original on November 19, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- AMNRL (July 2, 2009). "The American National Rugby League Vision". American National Rugby League. Archived from the original on April 18, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- Mascord, Steve (January 12, 2011). "Discord 2011: Edition 2". rleague.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Mascord, Steve (January 12, 2011). "Discord 2011: Edition 2". rleague.com. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- "New Rugby League Competition Announced". Rugby Magazine. January 12, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Steven Birchall (April 19, 2001). "RL in US head west". rleague.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
- Brian, Lowe (September 28, 2010). "RL Hopes to Move West". americanrugbynews.com (American Rugby News).
- Staff (February 7, 2010). "Big USA money chasing Stacey Jones".
- Nick Walshaw (September 4, 2002). "First-Year Knights Win Yankee Comp".
- "AMNRL Official Schedule". amnrl.com. American National Rugby League. 2011. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
- "War at the Shore". American Rugby News. July 27, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- Brian Lowe (August 1, 2010). "War at the Shore Success". American Rugby News. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- Tim McCall (January 31, 2011). "Sharks commit to AMNRL for season 2011". pitchero.com/clubs/buckscountysharksrlc/. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
- "Delaware Vipers". amnrl.com. American National Rugby League. 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- "Hawaii Expansion". amnrl.com. American National Rugby League. 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
- "Standings | American National Rugby League". Amnrl.com. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "Chicago Stockyarders Sign First Sponsor". wearerugby.com. October 13, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- Brian Lowe (November 1, 2010). "USA Strategic Plan". wearerugby.com. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- Brian Lowe (January 8, 2011). "Sharks To Rejoin AMNRL". wearerugby.com. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- "Utah Avalanche Joins League". We Are Rugby. June 13, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "Utah Avalanche join American National Rugby League". utahrugbyleague.com. June 10, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
- "USARL | USA Rugby League | American Rugby League « Uncategorized « Inaugural 9′s Tournament May 28 in Conshohocken, Philadelphia". USA Rugby League. May 15, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "USARL | USA Rugby League | American Rugby League « Uncategorized « USARL Constitution & Teams announced". USA Rugby League. February 18, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "NOVA Eagles have landed!". amnrl.com. American National Rugby League. November 26, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- "More teams for AMNRL". rleague.com. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- "2011 – YEAR IN REVIEW | American National Rugby League". Amnrl.com. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
Every season to date has seen an individual awarded the MVP excluding the 2005 season where both Andrew Webster and Erik Hollingsworth were awarded the Most Valuable player after they finished with equal points.
|2013||Mike Schacter||Connecticut Wildcats|
|2012||Matt Walsh||Connecticut Wildcats|
|2011||Nigel Milgate||New York Knights|
|2010||Adrian Grayson||Jacksonville Axemen|
|2009||Luke Hume||New York Knights|
|2008||Siose Muliumu||New Haven Warriors|
|2007||Conway Maraki||Aston Bulls|
|2006||Jason Gargaram||Glen Mills Bulls|
|2005||Andrew Webster / Erik Hollingsworth||Connecticut Wildcats / Glen Mills Bulls|
|2004||Marcus Acidopholus||Glen Mills Bulls|
|2003||Danny Bull||Connecticut Wildcats|
|2002||Shayne Mains||Glen Mills Bulls|
|2001||Dave DiValerio||Delaware Valley Mantarays|
|2000||Ed Woodbridge||Glen Mills Bulls|
|1999||Shayne Mains||Glen Mills Bulls|
|1998||Bill Hansbury||Glen Mills Bulls|
Most valuable player
Largest victory: Jacksonville Axemen 90 – 8 Philadelphia Fight (2006)
Statistics and awards
Commissioners and presidents
|Former AMNRL teams|
|Team||City/Area||Foundation Year||Final Year|
|Boston Storm||Boston, Massachusetts||1998||1998|
|Delaware Valley Mantarays||Ridley Park, Pennsylvania||2000||2006 Note|
|Boston Braves||Boston, Massachusetts||2006||2006|
|Philadelphia Bulldogs/Fight||Conshohocken, Pennsylvania||1998||2010 (USARL)|
|Washington DC Slayers||Washington, D.C.||2003||2010 (USARL)|
|Jacksonville Axemen||Jacksonville, Florida||2006||2010 (USARL)|
|New Haven Warriors||West Haven, Connecticut||2006||2010 (USARL)|
|Boston Thirteens||Boston, Massachusetts||2009||2010 (USARL)|
|Pittsburgh Vipers||Cheswick, Pennsylvania||2010||2010 (USARL)|
|Delaware Vipers||Wilmington, Delaware||2011||2011|
|Iowa City Crash||Iowa City, Iowa||2012||2013 (GPRL)|
|Southampton Dragons||Southampton, New York||2013||2014|
|Northern Virginia Eagles||Manassas, Virginia||2007||2014 (USARL)|
|Pennsylvania Bulls||Sun Valley High School||Aston Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania||1998||6 (as Glen Mills Bulls)|
|Bucks County Sharks||Falls Township Community Park||Levittown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania||1997||0|
|Connecticut Wildcats||Brien McMahon Stadium||Norwalk, Connecticut||2003||3- 2003,2006,2007|
|New York Knights||Hudson River Park||New York City, New York||1997||2- 2002,2009|
|New York Raiders||Rockland Lake State Park||Rockland County, New York||2002||0|
On November 26, 2011 the AMNRL announced that the Northern Virginia Eagles, formerly the Fairfax Eagles, would be reforming and joining the competition. In the new year the AMNRL released its 2011 review and announced its "Road to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup" which includes launching teams and competitions in the East, Midwest, West and Southwest. A further two teams were announced to be joining the league on January 13 – the Las Vegas Warriors and Colorado Blizzard were announced to be part of a Western Conference as well as new teams forming from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In addition, other teams competed in AMNRL-sponsored tournaments. The Chicago Stockyarders played two rugby league nines games in 2010. On June 10, 2011, the Utah Avalanche of Salt Lake City, Utah, announced they were joining the AMNRL as a developing team. The Avalanche were formed in early 2011 and were previously aligned with the USARL, playing in a USARL rugby league nines tournament in Philadelphia in May. In June 2011 they announced they were re-aligning with the AMNRL.
In 2011 the AMNRL launched a Hawaii-based competition in partnership with the Hawaii Rugby League. The AMNRL dubbed this the "Pacific Conference", while the East Coast-based competition was named the "Atlantic Conference". Teams listed in the Pacific Conference as of July 16, 2011 are the Hawaii Islanders, Honolulu Titans, Kalihi Raiders, Marist Marauders, Maui Voyagers, and Tama Suma Ie. However, as of that time, only the Marist, Maui, Tama Sulu, and Kalihi teams had played games, and had not played consistently.
Six teams played in the 2011 season. Four of these teams, the Aston Bulls, the Connecticut Wildcats, the New York Knights, and the New York Raiders, played in the AMNRL the previous season. The Bucks County Sharks, who did not compete in the 2010 season, also rejoined the league in 2011. A sixth team, the Delaware Vipers, were announced in April 2011 and played during the season. Ostensibly based in Wilmington, Delaware, the AMNRL considered them successors to the Media Mantarays, who played in the competition from 2000–2006.
|Season||Championship Final Information||Regular Season Premiers|
|1998||Glen Mills Bulls||66–12||Philadelphia Bulldogs|
|1999||Glen Mills Bulls||28–10||New Jersey Sharks|
|2000||Glen Mills Bulls||38–26||Philadelphia Bulldogs|
|2001||Glen Mills Bulls||26–16||Media Mantarays|
|2002||New York Knights||18–12||Glen Mills Bulls|
|2003||Connecticut Wildcats||38–14||Glen Mills Bulls|
|2004||Glen Mills Bulls||32–24||Connecticut Wildcats|
|2005||Glen Mills Bulls||32–30||Connecticut Wildcats|
|2006||Connecticut Wildcats||36–28||Glen Mills Bulls||Glen Mills Bulls|
|2007||Connecticut Wildcats||22–18||Aston DSC Bulls||Connecticut Wildcats|
|2008||New Haven Warriors||50–18||Aston DSC Bulls||Aston DSC Bulls|
|2009||New York Knights||32–12||Jacksonville Axemen||Jacksonville Axemen|
|2010||Jacksonville Axemen||34–14||New Haven Warriors||New Haven Warriors|
|2011||New York Knights||38–4||Connecticut Wildcats||New York Knights|
|2012||New York Knights||60–40||Connecticut Wildcats||New York Knights|
|2013||Connecticut Wildcats||42–10||New York Knights|
List of championship titles
One of signature events in the AMNRL's domestic schedule was the War at the Shore. The event, held annually in Sea Isle City, New Jersey, generally consisted of full 13-a-side and rugby league sevens games between AMNRL teams, local and national representative sides, and developmental teams.
Since 1998 member teams of the domestic competition have competed in a Grand Final for the league championship. The winning team receives the "Ferrainola Cup", named for American rugby league promoter Sam Ferrainola. Beginning in 2011, the AMNRL season consisted of an eight-round, seven-game regular season followed by a playoffs series culminating in the Grand Final. All six teams advanced to the playoffs, which consisted of a three-round single-elimination tournament, with the Grand Final winners receiving the championship title.
In 2009 league officials announced the creation of a new, fully professional league, the National Rugby League USA (NRLUS), which originally hoped to launch in 2010. The AMNRL would serve as an amateur and semi-professional feeder league for the new competition. However, the new league never got off the ground, with officials blaming the Great Recession.
The AMNRL has announced various plans for future expansion at different times. Beginning in 2001 the league announced plans for a Western American National Rugby League (WAMNRL) to develop the sport on the West Coast of the United States. The AMNRL has revisited these plans several times since.
The AMNRL struggled over the next few years due to the competition from the USARL. The RLIF stepped in to work with the leagues toward an ultimate goal of reunification, but were unable to find a solution. The AMNRL put its domestic competition on hiatus after the 2013 season, though it continued to organize games for the national team, including the U.S.' first ever appearance at the Rugby League World Cup in 2013, in which the Tomahawks reached the quarter finals. The split between the leagues cost the U.S. its automatic qualification to the 2017 World Cup. In August 2014, the AMNRL announced it would cease operations to end the rift and allow the USARL to seek status as the national governing body.
On January 12, 2011, seven teams announced they were breaking with the AMNRL to form a new league, the USA Rugby League (USARL). Officials have given the lack of club involvement in the AMNRL's decision making as the reason for the split; the USA Rugby League will involve member clubs in its administration. The departing teams are the Boston 13s, the D.C. Slayers, the Fairfax Eagles, the Jacksonville Axemen, the New Haven Warriors, the Philadelphia Fight, and the Pittsburgh Vipers (later the Pittsburgh Sledgehammers). Five of these teams (all except Fairfax and Pittsburgh), along with three new teams, participated in the USARL's inaugural 2011 season.
AMNRL/USARL split and collapse
In 2010, the AMNRL entered into a relationship with the Star Group to rebrand the league, its assets, and its teams. In 2012, the AMNRL entered into a partnership arrangement with Grand Prix Entertainment to promote and grow the game in the USA, in return for ownership of the league and TV rights to World Cup matches in 2013. At present, the ownership of the league is uncertain.
In 2006 the league expanded once again to include the Jacksonville Axemen, the New Haven Warriors, and the Boston Braves. After the end of the season, however, the Boston Braves folded, and two charter teams, the Media Mantarays and the Philadelphia Fight, announced they were merging. The Fairfax Eagles joined the competition in 2007, and the Boston Thirteens joined in 2009. Another charter franchise, the Bucks County Sharks, suspended operations in 2010, while the Pittsburgh Vipers were added.
The AMNRL is affiliated to the Wilmington Vikings, now the New York Raiders, joined the competition in 2002, bringing the number of teams back up to six. The following year the Connecticut Wildcats of Norwalk, Connecticut and the Washington, D.C. Slayers were added.
 Later that year Gormley sold the USRL's assets to the Rugby Football League, leaving the AMNRL as the sole rugby league body in the United States. Complications over a deal with the British
In December 1999 Super League America announced a reorganization. The league headquarters moved to  The USRL was successful in attracting foreign teams and advanced the U.S. national team to the Rugby League World Cup qualifiers for the first time; however, it was soon beset by internal strife.