Five must-have books for any rugby league or Super League fan

NOW that it’s the inbetween period of Christmas and New Year, many people will be twiddling their thumbs wondering what to do next – or wondering what date it is.

Don’t panic! There are some brilliant rugby league-related books out there to help pass the time as well as get you excited about the new season.

Here are five of the best rugby league books to buy now.

Rob Burrow – Too Many Reasons To Live

An absolute tearjerker of an autobiography by an incredible man, Rob Burrow’s Too Many Reasons To Live was released back in August 2021 to document the life and times of the Leeds Rhinos hero. Winning eight Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups during his rugby league career, Burrow was diagnosed with the cruel Motor Neurone Disease back in late 2019. Since then, Burrow’s fight has taken centre stage in the sporting world with his lifelong friend Kevin Sinfield powering the fundraising. It is a number one best-selling memoir and a book that every rugby league fan should read.

Richard De La Riviere – 100 Days That Shook Rugby League

What a truly different story put together by Richard De La Riviere in his 100 Days That Shook Rugby League. With a collection of stories and games, De La Riviere documents some ridiculous and eye-opening events, including when a player from the Newtown Jets, who starred in the World Cup Final in 1972, became an armed robber in the 1980s and 1990s, stealing around $3 million on the way. Then one of his teammates, Paul Heywood, ended up trafficking heroin in Thailand and was sentenced to life imprisonment. A lot of stories are about how the game evolved including the Super League War back in Australia, but it is a work of art.

Rugby League: A People’s History

One of the most important rugby league books ever released, Rugby League: A People’s History is a brilliantly written piece by historian Tony Collins. Released back in 2020, the book follows the game from its creation back in 1895 after the Rugby Football Union split right the way through to the sport’s 125th anniversary. Collins not only analyses the game itself, but also focuses intently on the grassroots movement and why people – both playing the game and watching it – in the north of England took rugby league to their hearts.

Mike Rylance – The Forbidden Game

It is pre-1939 where Mike Rylance sets his fantastic The Forbidden Game. Set in France, the game of rugby league was almost destroyed by the German-backed Vichy government during the Second World War with Rylance revealing the delicate intricacies of the 13-man code’s development ever since. The rugby union-enamoured Vichy government used their influence in the pro-German, collaborationist set-up to destroy the thriving league environment – repercussions of which are still being felt today across France.

Sean Long – Longy: Booze, Brawls, S*x and Scandal

The title of this book by former St Helens maverick Sean Long really does say it all about the man. Booze, Brawls, S*x and Scandal charters the halfback’s career, from winning the Lance Todd Trophy three times to being given a three-month ban for betting on Saints to lose against the Bradford Bulls. Some former stars may well leave certain things out of their autobiography, but Long documents every possible detail of his career – both on and off the field.