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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Longy - The Autobiography of Sean Long

I was looking forward to reading about the career of one of the leading British Rugby League players of his generation but the subtitle of the book should've provided a warning.
"Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal - The Autobiography of the Wild Man of Rugby League"
It's undemanding but interesting enough, Sean does his best to provide minor league celebrity gossip and in the process feed his vanity and live up to his self description. He seems to think that everybody is interested in tittle tattle about his sex life and booze inspired juvenile pranks.
Sorry Sean, we're not.
I would be surprised if some his family, friends and equally famous colleagues are not embarrassed to have their antics recorded for posterity. I suspect that Sean himself might regret some of the information divulged in the not too distant future
Sean does write in detail about his distinguished Rugby League career including the notorious betting scandal and the famous "wide to West" try against Bradford. He describes his Challenge Cup and Grand Final successes with St Helens and some of his experiences at international level including the famous match in 2006 when GB beat Australia in Sydney. Surprisingly, he doesn't mention the 2003 Ashes series in which he played where Australia won 3-0 but the closeness of the competition was not shown by the series result
It is difficult to describe a player like Sean Long as an underachiever. He can look back on a fantastic career including three Lance Todd trophies and a Man of Steel Award but at the highest level i.e. in international matches against Australia, he was unsuccessful. His description of regular unprofessional behaviour and a consistently poor attitude might have been contributing factors in this.
In 2006, when he chose to return home from the Great Britain tour to Australasia I personally was disgusted by his cowardice. Sean's description of his continuing poor attitude and unprofessional behaviour only strengthen my feelings and his treatment of coach Brian Noble was and is shameful. When you consider the courage and bravery shown in the Great Britain jersey in the past by true legends such as Wagstaffe, Prescott and even ex-Great Britain captain Brian Noble, Sean's excuses were and are pathetic.
Sorry Sean, this is not good enough. You let us down badly.
At club level, Sean has consistently shown enough bravery and courage to overcome adversity in some very difficult situations. For some reason, Sean and other modern day players seem unwilling or unable to shown the necessary commitment to repeat this at international level. This is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed by the RFL.

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