Side Stepping Shrapnel

A deep tradition of Rugby Union in the  New South Wales coal mining town of Lithgow at the turn of the 20th century. 


The young men who dared to play a new game of  football – Rugby League. 


The World War that engulfed the same men  and brought back the survivors to challenge for Rugby League country  supremacy. 


Meticulously researched ‘Side-Stepping Shrapnel ‘ is set between 1907 and 1921 with an array of characters headed by William ‘Pummy’ Mantle who lived  in Lithgow’s valley, the site of one of the largest industrialised towns of New South Wales. It is a story of the rise of Rugby League in country New South Wales. The working class men and women who pioneered the early years were robbed of their best years by a world war. It is a story of triumph and mettle as the veterans return from the trenches of France to the battlefield of the football field and form a champion Premiership Diggers team.