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Chris Churm

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No Helmets Required: The Remarkable Story of the American All Stars
No Helmets Required: The Remarkable Story of the American All Stars
by Gavin Willacy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about Rugby League, and a lot more too!, 6 Nov. 2013
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In the 1950's a group of Californian college footballers were assembled together by a guy with vision, cheek and an entrepreneurial spirit, flown to Australia, NZ and France and - despite no previous RL experience - competed valiantly against some of the best rugby league players and teams of the day. Now that is a remarkable story!

Despite being an avid reader of sports history/ biography and a big RL fan, this was certainly news to me when I heard the author being interviewed on the radio. The book really drew me in. We get to learn about the characters involved, the trials and tribulations of getting the trip together, their experiences, their gruelling schedule, the generally warm welcome they received (especially from the local ladies!), how they competed to a remarkably high standard and ultimately about the lasting frienships which were formed by such an incredible experience these young athletes enjoyed. What is clear is that this meagre squad were exceptional athletes and they loved the new code of football they had discovered - or rather, had thrust upon them. And what a near-miss in terms of how this could have led to RL being established as a serious sport in the US!

The story is fluid, fast moving, immediate, engaging and presented beautifully with photos and newspaper cuttings on every page. It's like discovering a magical, long-lost scrap book.

Respect to the players, respect to their hosts in the RL communities of the time and respect to the author for bringing the story to life!

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