The Line Formation, by Pat Flynn

The coach looked up at the stand. ‘Let me say this, girls. I know y’all are as pretty as pictures, I can see that with my own eyes. But what I want to know is this: can you tackle? Because I tell you right now, I need some people who can tackle on my team and I don’t know if these boys can.’
Some of the girls gave a nervous giggle.
Then the coach spotted Ozzie. ‘How about you, boy. I know you can talk to all the purdy girls, but can you tackle? If you can, come down here right now, ‘cause I need some players who can tackle on my team.’

The Rugby League season is over and, before he decides what to do next with his life, Ozzie Eaton is off to Texas, for a year as an exchange student. He doesn’t know what he will find there – Hope, Texas is about as far away from Yuranigh, Queensland, as he could get. But the last thing he expects is to find himself playing football, American style.

Still, that’s exactly what happens. Ozzie proves that he can tackle and despite knowing nothing else about the sport, is given a spot on the team. Soon, he discovers he has skills he can teach his team – but equally, he can learn from his time as a team member, even if the hardest lessons have little to do with what goes on out on the field.

The Line Formation is a high-sport read aimed at teenage boys, who will enjoy the twist of an Australian showing the Americans how to play their own game. At the same time it also a novel about loyalty, trust, friendship and growing up. From the creator of the popular Alex Jackson skateboarding series, The Line Formation is a coming of age novel suitable for high school age readers.

The Line Formation, by Pat Flynn
UQP, 2006