The National Rugby League is the top level rugby league competition in Australia. It was founded in 1998 after a merger of the Australian Super League and Australian Rugby League. It originally contained twenty teams, but this was cut to 14 by 2000. Development of increased this number back up to 16 and there is plans to add two more teams to the League in 2015.
The Australian Super league and ARL combined had 22 teams. When the NRL was founded in 1998, it was decided that there would only be 20 teams. Melbourne Storm club, the first extension was added season 1998. This meant that the NRL to three teams would have. WA Reds, the South Queensland crushers, Gold Coast Chargers and Hunter Mariners were already eliminated from the competition.
In addition, established NRL reached a further reduction in the number of teams through the mergers of Sydney clubs-St George Dragons merged with the Illawarra Steelers, western suburbs Magpies and Manly-Warringah sea eagles merged with Balmain Tigers merged with the North Sydney bears.