Brad Walter in The Brisbane Courier, March 25, 2009
"This is the chapter I never wanted to write … "
With those words, Shane Webcke begins a controversial chapter entitled Broncos Behaving Badly in his new book Hard Road.
But after penning his thoughts on the game, including the view that Brisbane stars Karmichael Hunt, Sam Thaiday and Darius Boyd should have been stood down by the club last season when sexual assault allegations were made against them, Webcke now doesn't want anyone to read them.
Just a week before the book was due to be launched publicly on April 1, Webcke yesterday asked the publishers Pan Macmillan to pulp it.
His decision marks one of the most sudden changes of heart since fellow league great Mal Meninga went on ABC radio to announce he was entering into politics only to publicly withdraw his candidacy during the same interview.
News Limited had paid for the rights to publish extracts from Hard Road and the company's Sunday newspapers were due to do so next weekend.
Webcke offered no real explanation yesterday - even to co-author Ian Heads, with whom he had worked on the book for eight months. His manager, David Crofts, indicated the former Test prop would make a statement but an expectation that he was going to do so on last night's Channel Seven News in Brisbane, where he presents the sport, came to nought.
The network later confirmed that Webcke had gone on immediate leave for 10 days, returning on Friday week to broadcast a live cross from Suncorp Stadium when his mentor, Wayne Bennett, returns to Brisbane for the first time as coach of St George Illawarra.
The Broncos, for whom he works as a forwards coach, said he wasn't due at training again until Monday week. Brisbane officials said the club had no concerns with anything he had written and did not influence his decision to cancel the book.