Some of the most successful sides in the Super League come from Lancashire. The Super League was formed in 1996 and now contains 11 sides from England plus the Catalans Dragons who hail from the South of France. Currently there are three teams who are from the Lancashire region. Wigan, St Helens and the Salford Red Devils are all competing in the 2018 season and the play off championship has headed to Lancashire on numerous occasions.
Wigan Warriors are currently the World Club Challengers Champions having defeated the Cronulla Sharks in February 2017. They were established in 1872 as a rugby union club, and in 1895
they joined the Northern Union which eventually changed into playing the rugby league rules.
In 1902 Wigan moved to Central Park, and during their time as tenants they achieved great success until they moved to the JJB stadium in 1999. Between the middle of the 1980’s and the 1990’s the side won the championship 7 years in succession and the Challenge Cup eight seasons in succession.
St Helens play at the Totally Wicked Stadium having moved there from their previous ground, Knowsley Road in 2012, where they had played since 1890. The new stadium has 18,000 seats and is situated in the Peasley Cross area of St Helens. They have won the Championship on 13 occasions and have won the Challenge Cup 12 times. The club was created in 1873 and were one of the founder members of the Northern Union in 1895 alongside a second team from the town, the St Helens Recs, until 1939 when the Recs folded.
Up until the 1930 Season St Helens were a poor side never reaching higher than half way in the league table. Then in 1930 they reached the Challenge Cup final, on the second occasion it was held at Wembley Stadium, before losing by 10 points to 3 to Widnes. The season after they won the Championship for the first time, but still successes were rare until the arrival of Jim Sullivan as Head Coach in 1952. The area now had only one team to support and all local interest was aimed at St Helens. Following on from Sullivan in 1959 was Alan Prescott and now the club were entering a golden era of success.
This has continued to the present day. The side is currently coached by Justin Holbrook and last won the Championship in the 2014 season. Some of the players the club has produced like Sean Long, James Robey and Jon Wilkins are among the finest players to have ever played Rugby League.
The only Manchester based team currently in Super League are the Salford Red Devils. Founded in 1873. They were admitted to the Northern Union in 1896. From 1900 Salford started playing their home games at The Willows in Weaste, Salford. It was only a small stadium holding a capacity of 11,000 fans and the stadium closed at the end of the 2011 season.
The 1930s were a time of great success for Salford as they won 3 League Championships, 5 Lancashire League Championships and a solitary Challenge Cup. In 1937 the touring Australians visited the Willows to play Salford and were defeated 11–8 in front of a packed house. Despite winning the Championship twice in the 1970s, success has been in short supply since the 1930s. The club until recently has had Marwan Koukash as its owner trying to bring back success to the club. He bought the club in 2013 and straightaway signed 14 new players.
The club moved to the brand-new Salford City Stadium in Barton-Upon-Irwell for the start of the 2012 season and it is now known as the AJ Bell Stadium. Success could soon be on the horizon for this ambitious club.