And now, the end is near, it’s time to draw the final curtain: A famous line from a famous song which is quite appropriate for this issue of Rugby League World as our cover star, the ever-controversial Gareth Hock calls time on his Super League career to join the English exodus down under. We chat to Gareth about his chequered career, his dramatic departure from Wigan to Widnes and his ambition to represent England again at the World Cup before joining Parramatta next season.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan tackles another controversial character; recently retired top referee Steve Ganson puts down his whistle to talk about his new behind-the-scenes role at the RFL and takes a look back over a career which no one could ever say was uneventful. Just why did he send Moz off 12 seconds into a Test match against the Aussies? Find out here!
There’s no doubt Rugby League is the toughest of sports. Robbie Hunter- Paul looks at the rights and wrongs of asking players to put their bodies on the line twice over a gruelling Easter weekend and ponders whether financially Rugby League really has any choice. We also talk to Richard Moore, now with Leeds Rhinos but who has had to overcome a number of professional and personal setbacks to keep his career on track.
Players at Keighley Cougars are displaying a different kind of toughness. We have a special report on a groundbreaking scheme they are involved in to turn the lives of troubled youngsters in their local community around.
Welsh dual-code international Gareth Thomas talks to us about his belief in the World Cup and how it can help Rugby League pull in lots of new fans in Wales and beyond, and we take a look at Samoa’s ongoing preparations for the tournament. Planet League takes in recent developments in Sweden and Anthony Seibold demonstrates that you can play Rugby League and see the world.
Secret Speccie pays a first visit to Oxford’s Iffley Road ground, plus we chat with one of their new recruits, Matty Hadden. Hemel Stags wingman Tobias Rochester-Bremmer tells us how he got into Rugby League, as does St Albans Centurions coach Andy Champ and we also catch up with a former World Cup winner with Great Britain, Brian Lockwood.
As always, there’s lots more too with our regular grassroots, amateur and academy game coverage.
On a personal note, our cover star isn’t the only one heading off to pastures new. This will be my last issue as editor of Rugby League World. The mag will be in the safe hands of Gareth Walker from next month while I’m off to spearhead a relaunch of the TotalRL.com website. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the mag during my time in the hotseat and of course, everyone who has bought and read it. I’ve enjoyed it and I hope you have too!
John Drake – Editor
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