Age it seems isn’t wearying several veteran rugby league players, who are lacing up the boots for the start of the new Group 4 season.
At Jack Woolaston Oval last Friday Bendemeer played the Bears in a second grade trial.
They lost 36-22 but had led 18-14 at one stage of a see-sawing game.
On the sideline coaching was Will Jerrard.
His two sons, Braden, who scored one electric try, and Jemarley, who kicked three goals, played and shone for the Mountain Men.
Giving Will some help on the sideline were two Bendy stalwarts, Jamie “Skippy” Bullock and Jake Reid.
Both reckon they will play.
“I’m 43 this year,” Jamie said.
“I’m 31,” Jake lied convincingly.
He’s actually closer to 48, confirmed by former Bendy stalwart Scott Fitzgerald.
However Skippy and Jake have nothing on Brian “Poppy” Tighe.
“I’m 60 this year,” Tighe said as he took off his head gear.
He had played in the Bendy second grade side and left his mark with some telling tackles in the second half.
“Having a bit of fun,” he grinned
“We’ve got some good kids here.”
Anyone under 30 would seem to be a “kid” for Brian.
Will Jerrard thinks the younger ones in his side will be part of a strong team.
“It’s looking not too bad,” the quietly spoken former fullback whizz said.
“We’ve had two trials now. Beat Armidale 50-nil up there, wasn’t too bad. We do have some good young players.”
The Bendy first grade side then played Werris Creek in a trial at David Taylor Park, Werris Creek on Saturday.
They only had 11 players so the Creek agreed to play them in an 11 on 11 game.
“Guess who played five-eighth for us,” Werris Creek’s long time legendary coach Ron Dellar asked.
“Brendan Hunt and Fuzz,” he finally answered to end the guessing game.
Pretty handy pivots both. The younger, Brendan Hunt, came through Farrer and was a member of the great West Lions premiership winning sides under Tony La Chuisa.
Fuzz, also known as Stewart Porter, was one of the outstanding Magpies in the early ‘90s who reigned supreme in Group 4, winning a succession of first grade premierships and a Clayton Cup.
His ball play was sublime and some of his bullet cut out passes immaculate and unmatched in their trajectory and precision.
He seems ageless and appears set to help the Magpies in this new and much different footballing landscape in 2018, a season of “compromise” for players and their clubs with the new look first and second grade system pitting former second division and first division clubs against each other.
Those clashes may be enthralling as watching some of the old vets such as Stewie, Brian, Skippy and Jake reprise old memories for many sideline eyes.
The competition kicks off next weekend (April 28 and 29).