A HUNDRED years on from the revolutionary rugby split the world game underwent dramatic changes again.

It seemed quite ironic that the centenary 1995 year planned for Rugby League to look back in celebration was turned on its head with the advent of Super League summer rugby and Rugby Union deciding to turn professional.

The modern day changes were as controversial and provocative as 100 years earlier when the subject of money forced the big divide.

But to understand the reasons behind rugby splitting into two codes you have to look back beyond 100 years, and it was as much a social issue as it was a sporting one.

Warrington Rugby League Club's history goes back to 1876, but even this is a controversial point as Wire celebrated their centenary in 1979.

Historians now believe that Warrington's beginnings were in 1876 when the Warrington Zingari Rugby Union Club was formed and the team played on a field in the Howley Wharf area.

That was the start of a nomadic existence in a period when the game took off to dizzy heights in the working class circles of the north.

Over the next seven years the club was to have five new homes off Sankey Street at two different sites, off Wilderspool Causeway at two different sites and Slutchers Lane.

In 1879, the present club was founded by several members of Padgate and Zingari, who decided to start a new team called Warrington. Amalgamations followed with Padgate Excelsior in 1881 and Warrington Wanderers in 1884.

By this time Warrington were settled in at a site off Wilderspool Causeway, where Fletcher Street now stands.

And a year later they attracted an estimated crowd of 10,000 to watch a game against Widnes. On that day, the ground's small wooden huts collapsed but no-one was injured.

The game was attracting huge crowds all over the north of England as clubs became the focal points of their respective communities.

Warrington responded to the demands. In 1888 a new stand was opened and a grass running track skirted the playing area. A rounders club was set up to encourage players to keep fit during summer months.

The sport was having to learn to live with its increasing popularity. A league structure was created in Lancashire, Yorkshire and in the North West.

By 1893, an A team had been established at Warrington, a county game had been played there and the club had made a tour of the Isle of Man.

The game of Rugby League was then born out of necessity a necessity to compensate players who worked in the mills, the foundries and the coal mines of northern England for wages they sacrificed in order to play rugby.

On September 23, 1893, several Northern Rugby Union clubs made representation to the English Rugby Football Union (set up in 1871) asking that their players be given 'broken time payments'.

The motion was defeated but two years later, on August 29, 1895, 21 clubs from Lancashire and Yorkshire, including Warrington, met at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, and voted to break away from the RFU.

The new organisation, called the Northern Rugby Football Union, rested on the principle of a six-shilling (30p) broken time payment, so long as the players could prove that they were in full time employment.

The opening matches were played on Saturday, September 7, 1895, a week before the start of the official Rugby Union fixtures.