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The revolutionary code: behind the surprisingly progressive politics of rugby league

Forget stereotypes about flat caps and boring play—rugby league has been smashing our preconceptions about sport since the 1960s. Perhaps it's time we all converted

By James Oddy  

Amateur rugby league players in 1949. Photo: PA

Say you like rugby league to people and you’ll typically get one of two replies. The first is an admission that the person has no idea why it’s different to Rugby union. That’s understandable. Similar shaped ball, similar shaped goal posts; similar tackling styles, similar running, similar kicking.

The second is derision that you follow the “inferior” code of rugby. Ask why the code is inferior, and it’s usually related to the fact that Rugby union is the thinking man’s game,…

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