REVIEW: Best in the Northern Union, by Tom Mather

Best in the Northern Union

Best in the Northern Union, by Tom Mather

Sometimes it is our earliest actions that most affect our future. Life-changing moments can be traced back to a throwaway conversation or a lightly-considered decision that reverberates during the years – perhaps decades – that follow.

So it is with the Northern Union’s bold move to send a touring team to Australia and New Zealand in 1910.

While the tour was far from an accident (author Tom Mather’s revelations about the Northern Union’s planning are fascinating), its legacy is still felt today with the dominance of rugby league on Australia’s east coast and the thriving New Zealand scene. [Read more…]

REVIEW: 20 Legends: Castleford Rugby League, by Phil Hodgson

20 Legends: Castleford Rugby League

20 Legends: Castleford Rugby League

We’ve all got them, locked away in the back of our mind somewhere.

Those misty-eyed memories from way back when, catching the rugby league bug and watching open-mouthed as our childhood heroes produced something in the heat of battle that we’d never even imagined.

Twenty Legends: Castleford Rugby League is a celebration of a group of players who’ve had that effect for generations of Tigers fans. [Read more…]

INTERVIEW: The tackle that finished John Stankevitch’s career

Being John Stankevitch

Being John Stankevitch hits the shops this summer

This is the second part of John Stankevitch’s interview with Rugby League Books ahead of the release of his autobiography ‘Being John Stankevitch’. You can read the first part here.


October 4, 2003 started like any other match day for John Stankevitch.

The St Helens forward was preparing for a Super League play-off with Wigan Warriors.

Having already established himself in Ian Millward’s side, Stankevitch looked set for a long career at the top of rugby league.

But just 12 hours later, it was all over. [Read more…]

NEWS: Keith Senior “proud” of The Bald Truth

Leeds Rhinos ace Keith Senior has revealed how “proud” he is of his upcoming autobiography The Bald Truth.

The former Great Britain and England centre has spoken about the difficulties of writing the book.

But he admits the help of ghost-writer Peter Smith, who was the man behind Barrie McDermott’s Made For Rugby, has made the whole process less daunting.

Senior told BBC Radio Leeds: “It’s something that I’m quite proud of. I never thought I’d do it, and it didn’t appeal to me at the beginning.

“It’s been very hard to do, because I can’t remember last week never mind 10 years ago. It’s been very tough, but it’s been very enjoyable as well.”

He added: “I’ve done a lot of things, I’ve had a very good, long career and for myself it’s been good putting things down on paper.

“It’s been very hard talking about some of the things that have gone on in my life, and some of the trials and tribulations, but it’s also been good reflecting on the great career and the great times I’ve had as well.

“It’s something that a lot of rugby players look at doing, and the opportunity got put forward to me so I thought I’d have a bash at it. Peter Smith from the Yorkshire Evening Post is writing it for me, and he’s done a very good job.

“It’s finished, but it just needs tweaking, touching up and fine tuning. It’s due for release in September.”

Senior insists the book will not be a tool to settle old scores. He said: “I’m not using it to have digs at other people.

“It’s my autobiography, and it’s just talking about my life and my career. Hopefully it will put some wrongs right and clear the air with a few things.”


Keith Senior’s book ‘The Bald Truth’ is available to order by clicking here.

INTERVIEW: Former St Helens star spills all about Being John Stankevitch

Being John Stankevitch

Being John Stankevitch hits the shops this summer

John Stankevitch was only 25 when a serious shoulder injury forced his retirement from professional rugby league.

In this first installment of a two-part interview, the former St Helens and Widnes forward, who is now head coach at Rochdale Hornets, tells Rugby League Books about the ‘therapy’ he gained from writing his upcoming autobiography ‘Being John Stankevitch‘.

With 125 St Helens appearances under his belt, John Stankevitch never envisaged that a single tackle at Wigan would end his career in such juddering fashion.

Stankevitch was just 23 years old when he collided badly with Wigan’s Craig Smith in a Super League play-off back in 2003.

He went on to make 22 appearances for Widnes in 2005, but he never fully recovered from the devastating blow that left him with nerve damage in his left arm.

By August of that year, he’d called time on a promising career and was left to find his own way in the big, wide world.


Now, nearly six years on, League Publications are preparing to release his autobiography Being John Stankevitch.

Rather than use a ghost-writer, Stankevitch opted to write the book himself. It was a process he now looks back on with great pride.

He said: “It was a bit of therapy really. It was good to sit down, have a look through time and consider what’s happened.

“It meant I could just go over things in my own mind, and come up with reasons why I did certain things.

“I was so low at points after retiring, I was almost panicking. I bought a bar after I finished playing at Widnes, which looking at it now was a ridiculous decision. Financially there was just nothing in it.

“There is no way I’d have made some of the decisions I made then if I’d have been in the frame of mind I’m in now.” [Read more…]