Domestic history


The first competition that was played under the NRLB was the BNRL in 2015. It was a joint venture with the Belgians, our neighbors to the south. The competition was made up by four teams; three teams from the Netherlands in the Amsterdam Cobras, the Den Haag Knights and Rotterdam Pitbulls. The North-Brussel Gorillas took part in the competition on behalf of the Belgians. The match for the 3rd place was ultimately between the Rotterdam Pitbulls and the Amsterdam Cobras, whereas the battle for the championship was between the Den Haag Knights and the North-Brussels Gorillas.


It was the only year Dutch teams played in the same competition as the North Brussels Gorillas; in 2016 the NRLB championship was launched which consisted of only Dutch clubs. The Grand Final was hosted at Dordrecht, where the Rotterdam Pitbulls and the Den Haag Knights fought for victory. Ultimately the Rotterdam Pitbulls triumphed with a 42-16 win. The great efforts in developing a new club in Harderwijk paid off when the Harderwijk Dolphins played the Amsterdam Cobras as a curtain raiser before the 2016 Grand Final. The newcomers even managed to upset the Amsterdam Cobras with a 32-28 win.


The Harderwijk Dolphins were able to officially join the 2017 competition. The Amsterdam Cobras and the Harderwijk Dolphins played for the bronze medal in a match that was a real nailbiter. The score was tied 16-16 before the Harderwijk Dolphins scored the winning try, resulting in a final score of 16-20. The Rotterdam Pitbulls claimed their second consecutive win over the Den Haag Knights in the game for the title. The game was just as tight as the one before with the clubs being evenly matched. Four minutes before the whistle the Den Haag Knights lead 24-20, but Rotterdam Pitbulls Joe Collins managed to score a converted try in the dying minutes of the game. Final score 24-26 to the Rotterdam Pitbulls.


The competition in 2018 was composed of the same components as the former years. The Amsterdam Cobras took there revenge on finishing 4th for the last years and beat the Den Haag Knights in the Grand Final with scoring a drop goal in golden point when the score was 28 – 28 at the 80 minute whistle. Although the Knights were not triumphant it it notably that they managed to play every Grand Final since the resurrection of the competition. The match for the bronze medal between the Rotterdam Pitbulls and the Harderwijk Dolphins was won by the former by 40-28.

The Grand Final Cup was renamed the Jason Bruygoms Tropy on November 24th 2018 in honor of Jason Bruygoms, who served on the NRLB Board and was instrumental in setting up the structure and community that we now have.


With the Dordrecht Griffins still as a developing team, the same four battled it out for the silverware again. The Den Haag Knights broke the drought and finally got their first Grand Final win, after four losses.  They beat the Amsterdam Cobras in another tight match, 20-18. The Den Haag Knights were also the first ones to lift the Jason Bruygoms Trophy, named to honor our former Development Officer Jason Bruygoms. The game for third place was won by the Harderwijk Dolphins due to the Rotterdam Pitbulls forfeiting.


There were big plans for 2020 with the addition of the Zwolle Wolves as a fifth team, but due to Covid-19 the season had to be cancelled. 2020 was also the first year where every cub representative was physically present at meeting to schedule the competition, held at a neutral location in Utrecht provided by our sponsor Seats2Meet.


A regular competition proved to risky due to the uncertain Covid regulations but the NRLB managed to put on a 3 round 9s competition. The first round was hosted in Dordrecht, the second in Den Haag and the last round in Zaandijk. All five clubs participated. Unfortunately the Dordrecht Griffins were unable to join the 2nd and 3rd round after making their debut in the first round. Ultimately the Den Haag Knights were crowned 9s champions. 


The Zwolle Wolves were now finally able to make their NRLB Competition debut. They proved a force to be reckoned with, claiming victory over the Den Haag Knights in a thrilling Grand Final. Rotterdam Pitbulls took the third place beating the Amsterdam Cobras. 


Although 2015 saw the first ever official 13 a-side NRLB competition in collaboration with the North Brussels Gorillas, it was not the first ever domestic rugby league competition. Back in 2010 and 2011 there was the 3v-Sport Grand Prix Nines 9 a-side league; it consisted of four rounds and a grand finals day. It featured the Capelle Spartans, Delft Rugby League, the Nootdorp Musketiers and Te Werve Bustards. However, that Nines competition did not last. In 2012 only the Capelle Spartans still played against the Emma Scissors in a mini competition of three matches. Players were mostly Union players who had received a six week league trainings course. There was no internal competition in 2013, but in 2014 the Amsterdam Cobras and Rotterdam Pitbulls managed to play two friendly matches.