League Express editor Martyn Sadler reviews the new edition of League Publications’ flagship Rugby League Yearbook.
Title: Rugby League Yearbook 2016-2017
Editors: Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer
Publisher: League Publications Limited
The Rugby League Yearbook, published annually by League Publications, has now reached its 21st year, just as Super League has.
Since 1996 Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer have been producing this detailed record of Rugby League, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and by now the format has been well established.
A written account of the Super League season month by month is accompanied by colour photography that shows some of the most memorable moments in the season just gone.
There is also an account of the Championship and League 1 seasons from Matthew Shaw, as well as full coverage of all the international games that took place prior to the Four Nations and Malcolm Andrews has his own section of the book that covers the NRL.
As they always do, Butcher and Spencer select their five personalities of the year and they list the main individual Super League awards and the Dream Team.
And then there is the statistical information, which is of course the key element of the book for any reader who enjoys keeping an accurate record of clubs and their players’ achievements.
The yearbook has a full list of every player who has played in Super League from 1996 to 2016. And there are separate lists of players who made their Super League debuts in 2016, players who made their debut for a new club in 2016 and players who made their debuts in either the Challenge Cup or in the Qualifiers.
The Yearbook tells you who made their debut, who they played for, who they played against, which round of Super League the game took place on and the date of the match. Checking on the details of Super League players’ debuts is one of my great delights in my role as the editor of League Express.
The Yearbook also details the result of every match played by every club during the season just gone, whether in Super League, the Championship or League 1, and it has full team listings for every game in every competition played in by all 39 professional or semi-professional clubs during the 2016 season.
And if that isn’t enough for you, it also carries seven pages of analysis from Opta Sportsdata, with lists that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of individual clubs. For example it reveals that Warrington made the most metres and offloads, but they also made the most errors. But if it’s excitement you’re looking for, it’s worth noting that Warrington head the table for scoring tries from their own half, having achieved that feat 17 times in Super League matches in 2016. Perhaps surprisingly, relegated Hull Kingston Rovers come second in that list, with 15 tries having been scored from their own half.
I would suggest to any Rugby League supporter that this Yearbook is an absolutely essential item for your bookshelf, and I can’t think of a better Christmas present.
The Yearbook will be in all good bookshops, but you can also get hold of a copy by going to www.totalrl.com/shop.
Enjoy the read.