WITH the World Cup less than 12 months away, few Englishmen have the first-hand knowledge of what it takes to win rugby league’s biggest global tournament.
But Austin Rhodes, whose autobiography A Lad From Donkey Common has just been published by London League Publications, is one of them.
The former St Helens, Leigh and Swinton goal-kicking ace was equally at home at full back or stand-off, and his skills were rewarded with Challenge Cup triumphs along with the tag of world champion in 1960, having played his part in Britain’s 10-3 win over Australia at Odsal.
This is a nostalgic reflection on rugby league as it was in the fifties and sixties, made all the more interesting by contributions from Frank Myler and Tom van Vollenhoven.
Rhodes explains: “As a result of rugby league I was able to meet my wife, buy my house and forge enduring friendships with many people at home and abroad.
“Perhaps I’ve paid the price for competing in such a tough sport with a series of hip replacements since I retired from playing. I’ve had four procedures on the same hip up to 2011 – probably a world record. But if I had my time again, would I change anything? Not really.”
This review originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Forty-20 magazine.