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.