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Rugby league is a variation on rugby union first developed in England in 1895. The Australian team, the Kangaroos, first toured England during the 1908-09 season and gained its first win in a test match — the highest level of international competition — just three years later. Since then, Australia has won eight of the 11 rugby-league World Cups and has dominated the game for several decades.
Overseas viewers constantly express surprise at the level of violence in Australian rugby league. Players go head-to-head without the padding worn in American football, often prompting questions about their instinct for self-preservation. The game has a strong following in the eastern states of New South Wales and Queensland, with another base of fans developing in Melbourne. Australia´s main international competitors are England and New Zealand. Current greats of the game include Andrew Ettingshausen, Laurie Daley, Anthony Mundine and just-retired Alfie Langer.
It's important not to get Rugby League and Rugby Union mixed up: fans can get extremely upset. Australia's Rugby Union team is the Wallabies. For more information on Australian Rugby Union, see the corresponding tip on this site.