Co-author Webcke spikes new book - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Co-author Webcke spikes new book

By Wayne Heming 24/03/2009 10:49:29 PM Comments (0)

Author Ian Heads maintains he has no idea why the book he co-authored with Shane Webcke was spiked by the rugby league great just a week before it was due to hit the shelves.

Heads confirmed on Tuesday the prop forward had asked publishers Pan Macmillan to scrap his second book, Hard Road - Tough thoughts on a tough game, despite the impending release and review copies already made available to journalists.

"I couldn't possibly gazump him on that (decision)," Heads told AAP on Tuesday.

"It was a big call, and it was his call.

"I honestly don't know the reason why.

"He's a very intelligent and pragmatic bloke - I've got to respect and accept his decision.

"I know it wouldn't have been taken lightly."

Webcke is now an assistant coach at the Broncos but in the book he is critical of the club.

The book, made available to AAP, has a chapter entitled Broncos Behaving Badly in which he questions the Broncos' handling of the 2008 nightclub scandal, where there were allegations of a sexual assault against three players.

Webcke said the players caught up in the allegations should never have been allowed to play in the finals series match against The Storm shortly thereafter.

"As far as I'm concerned, their behaviour went far beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable," Webcke said in the book.

He went on to say: "Meanwhile at the Broncos, something that really narked me was that even as a storm raged around the three players involved in the Alhambra Lounge incident, it simply didn't appear to be important to them. They were seen laughing and carrying on as if nothing had happened."

The sequence of events left Webcke, who attended the match against the Storm "not really caring if they won or not".

In another chapter, How the Game Failed Joey, a reference to Newcastle great Andrew Johns' battle with drugs and depression, Webcke maintains that the Knights, the NRL and the ARL administration "all the way to the top" knew about Johns' "lifestyle and problems".

Attempts to contact Webcke and his agent Chris White of International Quarterback were unsuccessful.

Webcke has since taken leave from his job as a Brisbane television sports presenter.

A Seven Network spokesman told AAP on Tuesday that Webcke had been granted 10 days' leave from his duties at the station.

The former Kangaroo prop reportedly told the network he'd be back to present a live cross when ex-Broncos coach Wayne Bennett takes new club St George Illawarra to Suncorp Stadium next Friday night.

Heads said he and Webcke started working on the book in 2008 as part of the centenary of rugby league celebrations.

"He was very up front in the Webcke style," said Heads.

"That's the way he is.

"He's a pretty special bloke, almost unique.

"That's one of my regrets, that it's not becoming reality because he covered such a wide range of territory in the book.

"Because of his strong ideas in the book I've always thought of Shane in a future leadership in the game.

"Even though it's been pulled I hope they'll surface somewhere.

"I think the book's gone. Today was a challenging day for the publishers and Webbie."

A multi-premiership winning forward rated the game's best prop at the height of his career, Webcke this year joined former teammate Allan Langer as part of Ivan Henjak's coaching staff at the Broncos.

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