REVIEW: Don’t die with the music in you, by Wayne Bennett

Neil Barraclough

Nobody involved in rugby league commands as much respect as Wayne Bennett.

His track record says it all; over and over again, he’s come out on top.

Don’t die with the music in you
shows why – and how – he’s achieved what he has.

It isn’t just a book about the game he calls ‘footy’; it’s a book about life, about being the best you can be, about reaching your goals and living the right way.

Written in a short, punchy style, it’s an easy read that provides you with a gem less than two minutes after opening, no matter which page you land on.

Take this pearl, which comes at the end of a chapter explaining how winning and losing is not important – it’s beating your own doubts and giving your all that really matters:

“At day’s end, if you quit, if you give up, you’re never going to find out how good you really are. I know this paraplegic guy. He’s a 50-metre swimmer, and he’s been to two Paralympic Games. In the four years between the two Games he improved his time by 0.1 of a second. To improve by 0.1 of a second he worked out he had to do 4000 hours of training. So he did it. And he went from bronze to gold. One-tenth of a second.

He beat himself.”

There’s still plenty in there for the league fanatic, though. Tales about Brisbane, Queensland and Bennett’s relationship with the media litter the 192 pages of inspirational prose.

Allan Langer, who Wayne Bennett famously recalled from Warrington for the 2001 State of Origin decider

And Warrington fans might be particularly interested to read one of the final chapters, where Bennett describes hatching the plan of bringing Allan Langer back from the UK for the deciding match in the 2001 State of Origin series.

‘Alf’, of course, put on a five-star display that inspired the Maroons to a famous victory.

The Courier-Mail either didn’t or couldn’t print enough papers the morning after, when every Queenslander wanted to read about the fairytale that came true. At the airport later on there was just him and me, that’s all. I thanked him, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so happy. I reckon he could have floated back to England.”

Rarely does a rugby league book transcend the sport and appeal to the wider public, but Bennett – just like in his footy career – has managed to produce something truly remarkable.

An absolutely outstanding read – grab it if you can.

Don’t die with the music in you‘, by Wayne Bennett, is out now. ISBN 978-0733311079, published by ABC Books. It is available to buy here.