NEWS: Brian Noble “proud” of Building Winning Teams

Brian Noble has revealed his pride at his new book Building Winning Teams after a successful launch period in the run up to Christmas.

The former Bradford, Wigan, Crusaders and Great Britain coach penned the book before having any publishing deal on the table.

But he is delighted with the final result, which brings together his own thoughts and experiences as well as those from successful sports personalities and high achievers in business.

Noble told the White Line Fever podcast: “I finished coaching – or rather didn’t finish, but I’m waiting for the next gig, if it ever comes along – and in the boredom scribbled down four pads of notes and pieced it all together.

“I got a load of my friends in sport and business to qualify some of the chapters I’ve written – people like Mickey Rourke, Martin O’Neill, Michael Vaughan, Linford Christie as well as some great rugby league names like Shaun Edwards, Jason Robinson and Johnathan Davies – and I’m really pleased with it. I’m proud of it.”

Building Winning Teams is out now. Click here to view the book’s current price on Amazon.

FEATURE: Your rugby league books Christmas gift list

Looking for the perfect gift?

It’s been a busy year in rugby league publishing. Here’s our rundown of what’s hit the shelves this year.

British books

Coaching Is Chaos, by John Kear and Peter Smith

Building Winning Teams, by Brian Noble

Moz: My Story, by Adrian Morley and Phil Wilkinson

Robbie Rugby Warrior, by Robbie Hunter-Paul and Chris Irvine

The Devil Within, by Malcolm Alker and Julie Stott

The Gillette Rugby League Yearbook, by Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer

The Official Super League Annual 2013, by Neil Barraclough

A Lad From Donkey Common, by Austin Rhodes

Come On Northern, by Trevor Delaney

The Warrington Wolves Miscellany, by Gary Slater

The Heart And Art Of My Rugby Photography, by Paul Hart

Three Fartown Aussies: Hunter, Cooper, Devery, by David Gronow

Strike! The Tour That Died Of Shame, by John Coffey

The Missing Trophy, by Tracy Maguire

20 Legends: Warrington Wolves, by Phil Hodgson

Australian books

Gaz: The Autobiography Of A League Legend, by Mark Gasnier

Supercoach: The Life And Times Of Jack Gibson, by Andrew Webster

Games

Rugby League Live 2 for Xbox 360

Rugby League Live 2 for Playstation 3

REVIEW: Gillette Rugby League Yearbook 2012-2013, by Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer

How will you remember 2012?

The year of Super League’s ill-fated sponsorship deal with Eddie Stobart? Bradford’s dance with disaster? Or the season of booming TV viewers and ever-increasing attendances?

Whatever your memories, they’re all covered in the Gillette Rugby League Yearbook 2012-2013, League Publications’ exhaustive and indispensable guide to another summer of rugby league action from around the world.

Mick Potter, Kevin Sinfield, Scott Dureau, Sam Tomkins and Chris Hill are named as the five personalities of 2012, having all enjoyed seasons they are unlikely to forget.

A section of full-colour action photographs brings to life a detailed account of the year just gone, while at the back is the usual comprehensive collection of statistics that now put the Gillette Rugby League Yearbook up there alongside the old Rothmans Yearbooks from years gone by.

Every match across Super League, Championship and Championship One is covered, along with a list of every player to have featured in the history of Super League and a club-by-club breakdown of the 2012 season.

And at 320 pages there is surely enough to keep everyone going until the new season begins.

Get it on your Christmas list now.

 

The Gillette Rugby League Yearbook 2012-2013, by Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer, is available now. ISBN 978-1901347265, published by League Publications. Buy now and save on the cover price.

REVIEW: Coaching Is Chaos, by John Kear and Peter Smith

Few rugby league books can ever have started with quite so much intensity as Coaching Is Chaos.

John Kear’s new autobiography is a trawl through a coaching career that has included two Challenge Cup successes, as well as steering England through their 2000 World Cup campaign.

But life is not just about fairytales.

Chapter One – entitled simply ‘Adam and Leon’ – contains Kear’s memories of the deaths of Wakefield’s Adam Watene and Leon Walker. It is everything you would expect: poignant, upsetting and deeply moving.

“I hope no club ever has to go through a year like it, but the strength of the club and the sport shone through. Throughout all the heartbreak, I was proud to be associated with both.”

Kear has worked with Yorkshire Evening Post writer Peter Smith on producing this book. The result is a well-written, thoughtful autobiography that is both revealing and entertaining.

A fall-out with Kath Hetherington is explained in detail, as is the planning that went into Sheffield’s 1998 Challenge Cup triumph.

Kear and his Eagles team wrote themselves into rugby league folklore that day, but it was nearly very different.

“We travelled to the capital on the Thursday and went out tenpin bowling and then for a Chinese meal in the evening. I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and one stage I was quite seriously poorly… I rang the team doctor, Janet Hornbuckle. Fortunately she had some Piriton, which is an allergy cure, with her. That settled everything down, but at one stage my eyes had swollen up so much they were starting to close and she was on the point of taking me to a hospital… I was convinced I was going to miss the biggest game of my life.”

Kear’s love of rugby league bursts off every page of Coaching Is Chaos, and one of the final chapters includes his thoughts on the future of the sport.

Rugby league has been better for having Kear involved. This cracking read shows exactly why he is so highly thought of.

 

Coaching Is Chaos, by John Kear and Peter Smith, is available now. ISBN 978-0956804358, published by Scratching Shed Publishing. Buy now and save on the cover price.

REVIEW: Moz: My Story, by Adrian Morley and Phil Wilkinson

Adrian Morley has been around a bit. So long, in fact, that he actually played alongside Ellery Hanley, the last British hero of rugby league who was appreciated Down Under as much as Moz.

Hanley is one of an impressive array of sporting stars to have contributed chapters to Morley’s autobiography Moz: My Story. Ryan Giggs, Jamie Peacock, Ruben Wiki, Ricky Stuart and Matt King have also chipped in.

But it is only when Hanley starts his tribute that it dawns on you how long Morley has been tearing teams to bits. “I only ever played alongside Adrian for a few minutes,” writes Hanley, who left Leeds in the mid-nineties, “but I saw enough of him then to convince me he was destined to be a great player.”

Morley has been the perfect link between Hanley’s era and today’s full time athletes. At times he has been the leading forward in the world, with a game built on aggression and stamina that carried his intimidating frame through the toughest challenges rugby league has to offer.

But at other times, such as receiving a drink driving ban just weeks after an Ashes test series sponsored by the ‘Think! Don’t Drink and Drive’ campaign, he has made charmingly shambolic mistakes that hark back to the sport’s more amateur days.

Morley can at least smile now, reflecting in the epilogue that ‘by page 65 of this book I’ve been CS gassed three times. Three times! That’s just about as far removed from my life now as it could get.”

Regardless of what has happened off the field, he is a man who will be remembered for his on-field actions – and with a new contract under his arm, there is still more to come.

It is often repeated that Morley is as pleasant off the field as he is frightening on it. Moz: My Story paints a picture of a man who values family, loyalty, faith and friends, but who also knows how to have a laugh with the best of them.

Morley finishes his story by looking ahead, to a time beyond rugby league. “A time when no one will want my autograph or picture. A time when I will have to pay to keep fit, instead of being paid for it.”

He is unlikely to be forgotten.


 
Moz: My Story, by Adrian Morley and Phil Wilkinson, is available now. ISBN 978-1907637575, published by Vision Sports Publishing. Buy now and save on the cover price.

This is an edited version of a review that appears in the November 2012 issue of Forty-20 magazine. Buy the magazine to read the full, extensive review.

NEWS: Adrian Morley book signing schedule

Adrian Morley’s autobiography Moz: My Story hits the shelves on Monday 12 November. Anyone interested in getting their copy signed can catch Morley at the following venues:

Waterstones, Trafford Centre — Saturday Nov 10, 4pm
Warrington Wolves Club Shop — Monday Nov 12, 12pm
Waterstones, The Wool Exchange, Bradford — Thursday Nov 15, 12.30pm
Waterstones, Leeds — Thursday Nov 15, 5.30pm
Waterstones, Wigan — Thursday Nov 22, 6pm
Waterstones, Warrington — Saturday Nov 24, 2pm
Waterstones, Huddersfield – Wednesday, December 19, 2pm

 

REVIEW: A Lad From Donkey Common: A Rugby League Life, by Austin Rhodes

WITH the World Cup less than 12 months away, few Englishmen have the first-hand knowledge of what it takes to win rugby league’s biggest global tournament.

But Austin Rhodes, whose autobiography A Lad From Donkey Common has just been published by London League Publications, is one of them.

The former St Helens, Leigh and Swinton goal-kicking ace was equally at home at full back or stand-off, and his skills were rewarded with Challenge Cup triumphs along with the tag of world champion in 1960, having played his part in Britain’s 10-3 win over Australia at Odsal.

This is a nostalgic reflection on rugby league as it was in the fifties and sixties, made all the more interesting by contributions from Frank Myler and Tom van Vollenhoven.

Rhodes explains: “As a result of rugby league I was able to meet my wife, buy my house and forge enduring friendships with many people at home and abroad.

“Perhaps I’ve paid the price for competing in such a tough sport with a series of hip replacements since I retired from playing. I’ve had four procedures on the same hip up to 2011 – probably a world record. But if I had my time again, would I change anything? Not really.”

 

A Lad From Donkey Common: A Rugby League Life, by Austin Rhodes, is available now. ISBN 9781903659649, published by London League Publications. Buy now and save on the cover price.

This review originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Forty-20 magazine.

REVIEW: Robbie Rugby Warrior: The Autobiography, by Robbie Hunter-Paul

Robbie Hunter-Paul was always a little different. Part of his appeal was that you never knew – and often got the impression he didn’t either – what was coming next. In an era when Super League was establishing itself and part-time players were getting used to life as full-time professionals, Robbie was the fast-talking, hot-footed star who always did something, anything, to catch the eye.

Robbie Rugby Warrior follows the same mould. Not content with a traditional autobiography, the former Bradford scrum-half has, at the end of each chapter, included his guide to life as a professional athlete. Whether it’s a concept that works is going to differ from reader to reader. Younger readers, perhaps still dreaming of their own rugby league careers, will soak it up. Older readers might be forgiven for skipping to the start of the next chapter, where it’s back to the rugby and life as one of the sport’s leading figures.

And it’s there, in the thick of the action, where Robbie Rugby Warrior comes into its own. Hunter-Paul, or plain old simple Paul as he was back then, starts with a bang: the moment he claimed his place in rugby league history as the first man to score three tries in a Wembley Challenge Cup final.

“Get it down, just get the thing down. Brain’s whirring. I’m at full tilt. It’s for the hat-trick, I know that… I’m nearly there. Rather than slide and get grass burns, I roll. It’s as I come up, fist pumping, that it hits me with a blinding force. A wall of 30,000 Bradford Bulls fans losing their minds… for that one fleeting, glorious moment, I knew just how it felt to be a rock star.”

Hunter-Paul worked tirelessly with ghostwriter Chris Irvine of The Times to produce a book that is both energetic and considered. He had his scrapes, which he talks about in detail, but he will be remembered as Super League’s leading light during its formative years.

There are touching moments too, with a tale involving Bernard Dwyer highlighting Bradford’s determination to succeed at all costs. Dwyer had already injured one arm, before things got particularly difficult.

“He went into a tackle and tore the other bicep. Both his arms hung limp, but like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there was a staunch refusal in him to give up. Matty Elliott showed us the footage the following day… (he) put the video in slow motion mode, which showed the moment Bernard tore his other bicep. ‘Watch what he does,’ Matty said. ‘He gets back and launches at them with his head. The guy’s career has finished in that moment, but he didn’t come off until we got the ball back.’ For everyone who witnessed that footage it became the stuff of legend.”

This isn’t a Sean Long-style confessional, but it’s far from dry and there are plenty of hidden secrets, some of them dark, that Hunter-Paul does reveal. Robbie Rugby Warrior is a worthy addition to any rugby league bookshelf.

Robbie Rugby Warrior: The Autobiography, by Robbie Hunter-Paul, is available now. ISBN 978-1905080106, published by Great Northern Books. Buy now and save on the cover price. Kindle Edition also available by clicking here.

REVIEW: Three Fartown Aussies: Hunter, Cooper, Devery, by David Gronow

His open-necked shirts, ripped jeans and leather jacket have made Nathan Brown one of the most recognisable Super League coaches. But the quotable Australian, who is the overseas recruit to have had perhaps the single biggest impact on Huddersfield during the summer era, is just the latest in a long line of Aussie imports to the club they used to call Fartown.

Club historian David Gronow’s latest book on the Giants, Three Fartown Aussies: Hunter, Cooper, Devery, celebrates the contribution made by those men who used to travel to the north of England seeking fame and fortune.

Winger Lionel Cooper would only sign for an English club if he could bring a friend to help him settle into life in the UK. Plenty of clubs were keen on Cooper, but few were willing to risk funding another Aussie – the relatively unknown Johnny Hunter – until Huddersfield took a punt on the Antipodean duo.

And along with Pat Devery, a man who was to become the club’s captain, they formed the most formidable trio in Fartown’s all-conquering team of the late 1940s and early 1950s. [Read more…]

REVIEW: The heart and the art of my rugby photography, by Paul Hart

At whatever level it’s played, rugby has always been about passion. You need it to be able to step on to the pitch, you need it to run struggling amateur clubs and you need it to referee.

Now, following the publication of The Heart And The Art Of My Rugby Photography, nobody can doubt photographer Paul Hart’s passion for the oval ball.

Hart has spent his weekends chronicling both rugby league and union in his native Wales, from amateur and student league matches through to full internationals and fixtures at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. [Read more…]