The biff had been part and parcel of rugby league for a century. Condoned even. As violent play like stiff arms, spear tackles, facial massages and stomping were weeded out of the game, the punch remained. As recently as the 1980s, league bosses would say there was nothing fans liked to see more than two forwards trading blows. But the biff is an endangered species in the NRL era. In Biff: Rugby League's Infamous Fights, Glen Humphries explores the most violent grand final, State of Origin fisticuffs, the Fibros versus Silvertails and how 'the hits keep coming' in the 2020s.
As well as offering a ringside view, Biff also discusses the reasons behind the fights and what happened to the players afterwards. Some escaped suspension, while others were rubbed out of the game. A few missed the chance to play in a grand final or found their careers cut short after being on the receiving end of a nasty punch.
Glen Humphries is a journalist with the Illawarra Mercury, during which time he has covered pretty much everything. As a writer and author, he has won several awards, including Beer Writer of the Year and a Sydney local history prize. He also writes his own books at Lastdayofschool.net. He's a lifelong rugby league tragic. While he has played 'league', he's never been involved in any onfield biff - hardly surprising considering he last played the sport in primary school. The 1970s is his favourite decade of rugby league: heavy leather footballs; players with enormous masses of facial hair and black goo under the eyes; sandboys, ankle-high football boots and daytime grand finals. He lives in Wollongong with his wife, daughter and an exceptionally needy staffie cross.
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