Rugby League: Murdoch wins Super League battle in Australia

In one of the more startling come-from-behind victories of recent times, Super League yesterday won the right to start up in Australia, with massive implications for the game worldwide. A complete form reversal in Sydney saw Rupert Murdoch's organisation overturn all 60 orders preventing its launch in Australia when the verdict was announced in the Federal Court.

It means that a 10-team Super League competition will kick off next year, in opposition to one involving the clubs that have stayed loyal to the Australian Rugby League.

More immediately, it raised the prospect of Great Britain rerouting from the New Zealand leg of their current tour to play the first Super League Test between the two countries at some stage between now and early November.

The importance of the deal to Murdoch's interests worldwide was underlined when Sky's shares went up 12p yesterday to a record price of 606.5p, increasing the stock market value of the company by pounds 206m to pounds 10.43bn.

Maurice Lindsay, the European Super League's chief executive, was in Sydney for the verdict yesterday and greeted the news with enthusiasm."It's like winning a cup final," he said.

Lindsay led the British game into an alliance with Super League last year and the initial court defeat banning them from starting up in Australia before 2000 threw into obvious doubt the viability of Super League operating in isolation in Britain.

"I must confess it gave me a few sleepless nights," Lindsay said. "But I've been completely faithful to the principles of Super League. I've stuck to those principles like glue and I'm quite proud of that."

Lindsay, who described the three judges' decision as "a stunning victory", said that there would "almost certainly be an international between Great Britain and Australia at the end of Great Britain's tour. We are going to sit down with our Australian colleagues and discuss the matter and try to find an available date in October."

That will raise logistical difficulties for the British party, several of whose members have commitments in England at the scheduled end of the tour.

But, inconvenient or not, the impetus to mark this dramatic turnaround in Super League's fortunes by pitting the game's two oldest rivals together as quickly as possible will be difficult to resist.

"Everyone on this tour has benefited financially from Super League," the Great Britain coach, Phil Larder, said. "Now we have responsibilities to Super League. If people are worried about this tour losing money, playing Australia is the one thing we can do about that."

Also back on the agenda is the World Club Championship between leading sides in the two countries, one of the most attractive aspects of the whole Super League concept when it was first mooted.

"We can now go ahead with all the exciting plans that Super League introduced," Larder said. The one sobering thought is that the long legal battle is unlikely to be over.

The ARL has the option of taking the case to a further appeal at the High Court, the Australian equivalent of the House of Lords. All the indications are that they will do so. The ARL's lawyer, Mark O'Brien, described the position as 1-1 with round three to come.

Ken Arthurson, the tough campaigner who fought the ARL's rearguard action against Super League, also indicated that the battle for supremacy would go on. "The situation now is that it looks as though there will be two competitions," he predicted for next season.

From the British camp, the tour manager Phil Lowe, who once played for Arthurson at Manly, called for a compromise.

"Ken Arthurson and Maurice Lindsay both have the good of the game at heart. Now both sides are in a position to show some common sense," he said.

"What we want and, more importantly, what the public wants are matches with the leading players in the world involved, be they ARL or Super League."

Murdoch's triumph, page 23

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen