The proper leg work can wait but the last Bull or two;
Sam Burgess, October 2009
Iestyn Harris, July 2008.
No-one else will care, but considering it's supposed to be all things to all teams...
I can save you the legwork. I did keep a record of such things y'know, all proper organised like.
Here's a full list of who or what has been on the cover of RLW during my tenure as editor.
Mar-10 Season Launch/Super League Trophy
Apr-10 Jamie Rooney/Sam Tomkins/Paul Sculthorpe
May-10 Leon Pryce
Jun-10 Richie Myler
Jul-10 Steve McNamara
Aug-10 Gareth Ellis/Gareth Thomas
Sep-10 Tom Briscoe/Shaun Briscoe
Oct-10 Lee Briers/Adrian Morley
Nov-10 Face Off Comp Winners
Dec-10 Gareth Widdop
Jan-11 Benji Marshall
Feb-11 Sam Burgess
Mar-11 Season Launch/Super League Club Cheerleaders
Apr-11 Kevin Sinfield
May-11 Sean Long
Jun-11 Danny Buderus
Jul-11 Sean O'Loughlin
Aug-11 Lee Briers
Sep-11 Rangi Chase
Oct-11 Kirk Yeaman
Nov-11 Jamie Foster
Dec-11 Four Nations Captains
Jan-12 Golden Boot Nominees
Feb-12 Ross & Gary Divorty
Mar-12 Season Launch/Ryan Hall
Apr-12 Ben Westwood
May-12 Luke George/Leroy Cudjoe
Jun-12 Luke Patten
Jul-12 Top 25 Brits
Aug-12 Jeff Lima
Sep-12 Jon Wilkin
Oct-12 Brett Hodgson
Nov-12 Leeds/SL Winners
Dec-12 Gareth Ellis/England
Jan-13 World XIII
Feb-13 Golden Boot Winner (Kevin Sinfield)
Mar-13 Season Launch/Ryan Bailey(+Wigan/Warrington/Hull/Hull KR)
Apr-13 Lance Hohaia
May-13 Liam Farrell
Jun-13 Gareth Hock
Deciding what goes on the cover is always a big call, it's the one bit of the mag everyone will see. It's a mixture of deciding if there's a good enough story or feature to write about the subject; will it be topical at publication time; is the potential subject available and/or willing to do the photo shoot (not everybody we've wanted has been available, some covers would have looked very different otherwise but you can't always get what you want); is it likely to have decent sales potential (harsh reality of publishing life = the more fans a club has, the more potential customers the mag has if they get featured prominently).
Within certain constraints (there's an expectation to see the Challenge Cup or Grand Final winners on the cover after the respective finals, mess with that and you get letters from disgruntled readers, as I discovered! ) I tried to mix things up a bit whenever possible, not always wholly successfully at times I'd admit. Sometimes, what seems like a great idea in your head just doesn't work on the printed page. Sometimes, what feels like a great cover to us can also draw unexpected criticism once it is out there in the public domain. You never can tell.
I never treated the cover as 'buggins turn' though. It's true, guilty as charged, I never put Bradford on the cover during my stint. Given that I'm a Bradfordian myself, it wasn't due to any negative bias, but if we're being honest, the past three years haven't thrown up that many positive news stories from Odsal that would have produced a really good cover, in my view at any rate. In mitigation, we have run quite a few meaty features about the club inside the mag - including JJB's interview with Heath L'Estrange which was commissioned only days before the club almost went to the wall last year - and I did bring a former Bulls legend Robbie Hunter-Paul in as a regular columnist.
Ultimately, RLW is a general Rugby League interest mag, not tailored to appeal to any one set of fans specifically. At least that's how I saw it. The cover reflects that. It makes it a more difficult task to strike the right balance in deciding what to put in the mag, on the basis you can't cover every club in every issue and you can't please all the people all the time, but hopefully the end product is one that any Rugby League fan anywhere could pick up and find enough things of interest inside to enjoy and justify the £3.50 they paid for it.
That's how I remember my own experience of Open Rugby as a reader way back when. It hardly ever did features on my favourite club (I have vague memories of Keith Mumby being on the cover once) but I still bought every issue because I just loved reading about Rugby League, any and all aspects of it, as it was my favourite sport.