REVIEW: The Gillette Rugby League Yearbook 2011-12, by Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer

Neil Barraclough

How will you remember 2011? Sam Tomkins’ brilliance? Darren Lockyer’s farewell? Or Leeds’ back-from-the-dead title surge? Whatever your memory, the Gillette Rugby League Yearbook captures it all in its usual comprehensive and compelling style.

With in-depth sections on the Super League, Championships, NRL and international scenes, there’s little left out. And if you’ve still any questions, the exhaustive statistical breakdown of the season will almost certainly provide the answers.

The selections of the Yearbook’s five personalities of the season is always interesting, and few would argue with the quintet of Tomkins, Lockyer, Brian McDermott, Rangi Chase and Daryl Powell as this year’s headline grabbers.

“Unprecedented, unthinkable, but true,” is Butcher’s description of Leeds’ historic fifth Super League title. Few would argue with that assessment.

“How good it must have felt for first-season coach Brian McDermott and his players, who were written off barely two months before the end of the regular season when the Rhinos languished in eighth spot. Such was their form that by the Gillette Four Nations kick-off, Leeds players made up one third of the England squad.”

But it is images that resonate most in people’s minds, and the Gillette Rugby League Yearbook doesn’t fail on that front, either. Full colour pictures from every round of Super League, the Four Nations, the Championship Grand Finals and the later stages of the Challenge Cup are sure to bring back memories for rugby league fans across the country.

League Publications can be rightly proud of this year’s Yearbook, and its now guaranteed reputation as the modern-day equivalent of the treasured Rothmans Yearbooks. There’s certainly enough here to keep you going until the new season starts.

The Gillette Rugby League Yearbook 2011-12, by Tim Butcher and Daniel Spencer, is out now. ISBN 978-1901347241, published by League Publications. Buy now and save on the cover price.