CANTERBURY RUGBY LEAGUE MILESTONES TIMELINE
1907 Canterbury rugby union players Duncan McGregor, ‘Jum’ Turtill, Joseph Lavery and Charles Pearce tour with the All Golds.
1908 Canterbury produces first New Zealand rugby league Test captains, Turtill and Pearce.
1911 Billy Mitchell becomes Canterbury’s fifth international.
1912 Rugby league founded in Canterbury, first games played.
1913 Original four clubs formed (Addington, Sydenham, St Albans, Linwood) and inter-club competition starts, with Sydenham the inaugural champions.
1915 Cantabrians introduce rugby league to West Coast.
1916 No senior competition played because of war situation.
1917 Hornby joins premier competition.
1919 Sydenham Park the venue for first Test match in Christchurch, New Zealand v Australia.
1920 British tourists play two games at Lancaster Park.
1921 Rugby league’s only club fixture at Lancaster Park staged.
1924 Marist Old Boys’ rugby union club switches codes.
1925 Monica Park opened, Canterbury achieve first win over Auckland.
1928 New Zealand v England Test held at English Park.
1929 Wigan’s Len Mason becomes first Canterbury product to win a Challenge Cup final in Britain.
1931 Canterbury’s first loss to West Coast in inaugural Anisy Shield fixture; Riccarton joins premier competition.
1932 England beats New Zealand in only Test held at Monica Park.
1934 Northern Union Cup won by Canterbury for the first time.
1937 All Blacks great George Nepia guests at fullback for Hornby and Canterbury.
1946 Christchurch club joins premier competition, later becomes Eastern Suburbs (1968) and Aranui (2006).
1947 Monica Park recommissioned and renamed Athletic Park; Papanui joins premier competition.
1949 Board of control replaces management committee.
1950 Schoolboy board of control formed to run youth rugby league.
1951 Canterbury Rugby League leases Addington Showgrounds.
1952 Jim Amos coaches Kiwis to series victory in Australia; Marist joins premier competition, later become Marist Western-Suburbs (1968-96).
1953 Canterbury beats American All Stars touring team 39-8.
1957 Athletic Park (now Linwood High School lower fields) sold.
1962 Canterbury’s first Rugby League Cup victory over Auckland; Mel Cooke becomes first New Zealand Player of the Year winner from Canterbury.
1963 Addington Showgrounds venue for first schoolboy international match.
1964 Six Canterbury players in New Zealand’s 18-8 win over France in Christchurch; Jock Butterfield and Trevor Kilkelly become first ex-Canterbury players to feature in NSWRL premiership, playing for Manly; Kaiapoi joins premier competition, later becomes Northern Bulldogs (2010).
1965 Canterbury plays against Australia for the first and last time, going down 19-4 at Addington Showgrounds.
1967 Playoffs and grand final system introduced to Canterbury club competition.
1968 Jim Bond captains Kiwis at the World Cup.
1970 First night game played in Canterbury at English Park.
1971 Lory Blanchard coaches Kiwis to international ‘Grand Slam’ (wins over Australia, Great Britain and France).
1974 Lighting installed at Addington Showgrounds for night football; Bill Noonan becomes first Canterbury product to appear in a NSWRL grand final in 1974 in Canterbury-Bankstown’s loss to Eastern Suburbs.
1975 Gary Clarke coaches Canterbury’s first win over Auckland at Carlaw Park.
1976 Canterbury makes first appearance in Australasian Amco Cup knockout tournament.
1979 Junior Advisory Committee added to Canterbury Rugby League administration; Halswell joins premier competition.
1980 South Island beats Australia 12-11 in Christchurch.
1981 Eight Cantabrians selected in first Junior Kiwis touring squad.
1983 Regular midweek inter-schools games played in Christchurch.
1984 Tony Drake becomes first Canterbury referee to control overseas Test match (Australia v Great Britain, Sydney).
1985 Ray Haffenden-coached Canterbury achieve first Rugby League Cup win in North Island.
1986 Canberra Raiders pay $37,200 transfer fee to sign Linwood, Canterbury and Kiwis prop Brent Todd, who becomes first grand final winner from the region in 1989.
1988 New Zealand beats Great Britain at Addington Showgrounds to reach World Cup final.
1990 Frank Endacott coaches Canterbury to victory over Great Britain.
1993 Endacott’s Canterbury side thrashes start-studded Auckland in national final at packed Addington Showgrounds.
1994 Endacott begins seven-season term as Kiwis coach.
1994 Christchurch City Shiners and Canterbury Cardinals compete in inaugural national Lion Red Cup premiership.
1995 Auckland Warriors pack out Addington Showgrounds for pre-season game; Laura Waretini the tryscoring star of first Kiwi Ferns touring team.
1996 Rugby league returns to Lancaster Park after 75 years in exile for Sydney Tigers’ clash with Auckland Warriors – the first Australian premiership match hosted by Christchurch.
1997 Addington Showgrounds becomes Rugby League Park, with 40-year lease.
1998 Five Cantabrians selected in Kiwi Ferns touring team; Quentin Pongia captains unbeaten Kiwis tour of Britain.
2000 Canterbury Bulls win inaugural Bartercard Cup final at Carlaw Park; Mainland Super 10 South Island-wide competition launched.
2002 Bradford Bulls’ Tevita Vaikona becomes first Canterbury product to win an English Super League grand final.
2003 Bartercard Cup regained by Canterbury Bulls at Mt Smart Stadium.
2004 Canterbury beats Russia, which makes a four-match South Island tour; Celebration joins premier competition.
2005 Jimmy O’Brien named player of the tournament at Student World Cup.
2006 Canterbury Bulls play Counties-Manukau in televised match at Jade Stadium.
2007 Mel Cooke named in NZRL Team of the Century.
2008 Christchurch City Council plans to ‘retire’ Rugby League Park.
2009 Campaign to save Rugby League Park succeeds.
2010 AMI Stadium hosts New Zealand Warriors v Sydney Roosters NRL epic; first of several major earthquakes damages Rugby League Park.
2011 Second massive earthquake forces closure of Rugby League Park; 45th grand final played at Denton Oval after previous 44 at Addington.
2012 Temporary stadium replaces the demolished Rugby League Park.
2014 Canterbury Bulls win the National Competition, defeating Waicoa Bay Stallions in the final.
2015 CRL grand final and Canterbury Bulls games return to Rugby League Park, now renamed AMI Stadium.
2016 NRL returns to Christchurch as Penrith Panthers bring home game against New Zealand Warriors to AMI Stadium.
2017 Christchurch hosts two Rugby League World Cup games: New Zealand v Scotland pool game and Tonga v Lebanon quarter-final.
2018 Last grand final played at Rugby League Park, with Linwood overcoming Papanui in an epic women’s decider and Linwood defeating Hornby in an instant classic Pat Smith Trophy showdown.
2019 CRL adopts the new Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub as its home; fixtures in the first season include Canterbury Bulls versus Warriors ISP team, NSW Country and Samoa, Canterbury 19s versus France U19s, and a four-match Grand Final Day.
2020 Linwood Keas win a record fifth straight Grand Final, edging out Northern Bulldogs in a thriller at Ngā Puna Wai to complete a club season significantly impact by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credit: ‘The Hard Yards: Rugby League in Canterbury 1912-2012’ by John Coffey.