Review: Playing Offside by Jax Calder

Quick Info
Playing Offside

  • title: Playing Offside
  • author: Jax Calder
  • release date: 26th August 2021
  • series: Sporting Secrets
    book 1
  • genre: Contemporary, Romance
  • content warnings: mentions of physical abuse, homophobia, slurs, forced coming out
  • rating: 3/5 Stars

Playing Offside

Falling for the guy whose starting spot you’re after? Never a good idea.

Aiden Jones, aka the Ice King, is one of the best rugby players in the world. He got there by working hard and sacrificing a lot, including denying a large part of himself. But there’s plenty of time to be the poster boy for gay rugby players after he retires. At the moment, he’s focused on passing a long-standing points record to cement his legacy, and he’s not about to surrender his starting spot to the cocky loudmouth who just joined the training squad, no matter how talented the kid might be.

Tyler can’t believe he’s made it into the New Zealand rugby training squad after only his first professional rugby season. Now management has decided that it’s a good idea for him to room with Aiden Jones, who Tyler’s had a long-range crush on for years. And although Aiden is icy to him both on and off the field, Tyler figures with a little charm, he can melt the Ice King. But even he’s not prepared for how heated things become between them. Now Tyler’s falling for the same guy who’s starting spot he’s gunning for. But all is fair in both love and sport, right?

A M/M enemies to lovers sports romance

The Queer’s Review

There were parts that I loved but Playing Offside still left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth.

I’m not into Rugby in the sense that I know absolutely nothing about but I was able to follow that theme well enough and I did enjoy Aiden and Tyler on their own.

But that enjoyment didn’t carry over well into their relationship because to me way too much time is spent in them having sex. Give me more of their banter and them slowly being a couple without really realizing at first that they are in fact acting as one.

Since I do have that issue rather often I’m kinda willing to ignore it to an extent. But the ending and the way of handling traumatic events?

Bookish Thoughts


And I need to spoiler this part because I want you to make an informed decision whether you want to read PLaying Offside or not.

That ending ruined everything for me. We’re confronted with that whole “you need to come out for me or I’ll break things off” trope which is “solved” through a public forced coming out – not done but either of the characters. On top of that the father who physically abused his son for being gay suddenly is supporting him and all is well. Sure. Nevermind the son is sporting scars from the abusive punishment. Who cares right?


I receid a free ARC through Gay Romance Reviews Tours in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

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