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July 2019 n Volume 9 Issue 7

n He may be 69 years old, but there is no keeping Wayne Bennett out of the spotlight, hence our choice of cover star for this, our eighth birthday edition.

While in the UK meeting his squads – how good an actual game would have been – a brouhaha led by St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus erupted, criticising the England/Great Britain supremo for allegedly trying to tap Saints star man Luke Thompson up for his NRL club side, South Sydney.

It led to a petty rebuke from Super League, who issued a press release that detracted from a visit staged to publicise autumn’s Lions tour to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga on a weekend when international rugby league held centre stage in the southern hemisphere at least – nothing like working together, is there?

Read all about the fall-out and Supercoach himself in our special four-page feature inside, after which you will hopefully conclude that they can’t keep a good man – or rugby league mag – down.

n This celebratory issue features something else we’re passionate about – the continuing spread of the women’s game, culturally as well as on the field, with articles on universities here, State of Origin in Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Plus we welcome our new columnist, Women’s Super League player Danika Priim, who will take the place of long-time Forty20 favourite Angela Powers. After 21 years with Sky Sports and a loyal eight in these pages, here from the start, Angela is off to pastures new. We wish our friend and founder of Her RL well, certain she’ll be as big a hit in her new career as she has been a pioneer in rugby league.

Danika is a fine replacement, with inside knowledge of both the domestic and international scene,

Lacking financial resources, the women’s game faces challenges as it attempts to grow, witness the

Neurological revelation: St George Illawarra Brit James Graham is prepared to donate his brain on death to enable important scientific research

NRL Imagery

Enlightenment age n tonyhannan@forty-20.com philcaplan@forty-20.com n conflicting tweets that came out almost simultaneously from Wales and London. Brixton Bulls, stalwarts in the capital, wrote: “...with regret we have had to fold our women’s team this season. Not enough being done down here to promote the game for women. There’s the talent but it’s impossible to keep motivated with no local sides to play. How do we grow the game down here?’ Meanwhile Gareth Kear, father of London Broncos star Elliott and a prime mover in the Principality said: “Great to be at the launch of the @CardiffRL Women’s senior team. Great to see so many players keen to be part of the @WalesRugbyL journey to the emerging Nations @RLWC2021 in England #FuturesBright.”

n Another issue we’ve highlighted many times is the potential for RL to be financially overwhelmed by compensation payments to players who suffered repeated concussion, as famously happened in the NFL.

The issue became much more urgent following the revelation that potentially game-changer findings were uncovered by researchers and clinicians from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW Health Pathology and the University of Sydney’s

Brain and Mind Centre. Evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy was found in brains of deceased NRL players, both of whom played more than 150 first-grade games.

Findings were published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications. “The changes in the two brains were distinctive, definitive, and met consensus diagnostic criteria for CTE,” said professor Michael Buckland, head of the neuropathology department.

It led to two Sydney law firms revealing they are investigating the code’s liability for “reasonably preventable brain injuries as the root causes of post-retirement medical issues” for ex-players, with a view to a possible class action.

“We will also allege clubs have had the resources both medical and paramedical to understand and implement protocols and policies

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Rhinos under the pump 16 Phil Caplan meets Richard Agar

Rovers return

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Trevor Baxter’s monthly profile Five Drives & A Kick 7 London Broncos, women’s RL and the arrival of Luther Burrell The Reality Is... 13 Brian Noble MBE welcomes the appointment of new GB coaches Louie the Lip 15 It’s Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook Match of the Month 18 When Warrington met St Helens Stand Up for League 20 Ian Boldsworth considers Hull teamsheet

Supercoach stirs it up 22 Wayne Bennett from all angles Championship chat 26 Liam Claffey targets Wembley Footprints of the past 28 Anthony Williams in North Yorks Irvine’s Indigestion 29 Chris Irvine gets all nostalgic Mantality matters 30 The Stevie Ward column Destination: Bolton 31 Pete Smith has a Cup preview

Priim and Proper 33 The Women’s Super League Footy20 36 George Clarke on the NRL scene Too far for Tonga 38 Steve Deane sees the Kiwis win Pacific heights 42 Joanna Lester hails huge growth No Helmets Required 44 Gavin Willacy on union potential Latham’s Loft 46 Runcorn: a bridge too far Any Other Business 50 Martin Kelner has identity issues

Café des Treizistes 27 Mike Rylance at France’s big final

July 20193Forty2043

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