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Book Review: Pioneers of Rugby League
PIONEERS OF RUGBY LEAGUE (THE RUGBY REBELLION - CENTENARY EDITION)
"Professional football cannot live here unless a miracle happens." The Arrow
Described by renowned league writer Ian Heads as "immense value to both codes", Sean Fagan's book Pioneers of Rugby League provides an expertly detailed analysis of the football 'miracle' which became known as rugby league.
Many league fans will be familiar with the story of the game's Australian beginnings when the first rugby league match in New South Wales was played on this day, August 17, 1907, in which New Zealand defeated NSW. But the game's origins go far deeper; in fact almost 40 years earlier when amateur rugby (union) football was the only show in town.
Pioneers of Rugby League delves into the history of Sydney club rugby, beginning in the 1870s when football was a gentlemen's pastime where referees were considered unnecessary and striving for victory was frowned upon. Fagan then successfully reveals the decades of struggle as professionalism slowly emerged to become an essential part of the game today.
A true history of the game's birth in Australia, the book explores the numerous obstacles faced by rugby league, including fighting off a challenge from Aussie Rules, to become the nation's first professional football code.
Drawing on countless hours of contemporary newspaper records, Fagan expertly pieces together a most detailed account of the origins of football in Sydney. The result is an insightful history leading to the 13-man game winning the right for working class blokes to earn fair payment, while opening the reader to the realisation that the game did not suddenly emerge when the first rugby league game was played 100 years ago.
Pioneers of Rugby League is available from RL1908.com and book stores in Australia and NZ.
BOOK GIVEAWAY - WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF PIONEERS OF RUGBY LEAGUE
In celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first New South Wales Rugby League match, LeagueUnlimited.com and RL1908.com will be providing readers with a chance to win an autographed copy of Pioneers of Rugby League by Sean Fagan.