The Rugby League archive collection contains Registers of Players dating from 1906-1978. They are some of the most popular records with club historians when researching the early history of their clubs.There is usually one Register of Players volume for each season, with each team having a dedicated section within the volume to record the names of players who joined the club that year. The register also details where a player transferred from (if he had previously been playing for another team) and when they were struck off from a club (for example if he transferred to a different team).
This sort of information is invaluable for investigating the playing history of individual players and for tracking down who was playing for a club at a given point in time.
The volumes also illustrate how rugby league was an international sport from some of its earliest days. On 18th February 1908 one Lance B Todd was signed to Wigan – but is listed as transferred from New Zealand!
Todd came to Britain as part of an All Blacks tour of Great Britain and Australia; but the professional nature of the tour earned Todd, and the rest of the touring team, a lifetime ban from the New Zealand Rugby Union. Having played Rugby League in Britain during the tour Todd opted to stay and play for English teams; he played for Wigan and Dewsbury before going on to manage Salford – the Man-of-the-Match trophy for the Challenge Cup Final is also named after him.