GOLDEN OLDIES: Gympie Numbats (not in order) Steven
GOLDEN OLDIES: Gympie Numbats (not in order) Steven "Crossy'' Cross, Paul "Blacki'' Blackburn, Jason "Macca'' McPherson, Matt "Salty'' Salter, KC King, Jason "Flikka” Flikweert, Laurence "Zulu” Epstein, Bruce McAllister and Ariki "Chief” Edwards with VRQ president Mikey T Hiko after the Rugby Oldies Carnival last Saturday.

Age tells on Numbats

Rugby Union: Playing in the first Rugby Oldies Carnival of the year, the over 35s Gympie Numbats struggled to contain the play of a 78-year-old known as Pops.

Nine players from the Numbats combined with the Sunnybank Puffing Dragons to make a full side for the carnival.

Numbats player and Gympie Hammer's president Paul "Blacki'' Blackburn said Pops' age shouldn't fool anyone.

"He played for the combined team of the Bundy Rum Ruckers and the Gladstone Goats and was pretty handy,” Blacki said.

"It is a tactical way in which they use Pops. He stands at the line and the forward runs up and punches through the line to score.

"The play is similar to touch. As two defenders are drawn in Pops passes the ball. We had a try scored against us on that play and it can be hard to defend at times.''

The carnival started in the 1980s as the Queensland Over 35s Association and today is known as the Veterans Rugby Queensland.

After retiring many players still had the burning desire to lace up the boots and play, which is why the carnival began.

Playing in the carnival for the second year running, Blacki said it was great that over 35s do not have to stop playing because of their age.

"The rules allow players to continue playing into their 70s if they wish.

"One rule is that the shorts the players wear determines their level of contact.

"Club shorts means full contact, red shorts mean partial contact - grab, no tackle - and purple, the ones Pops wears, are no contact.”

Numbats played four games at the carnival.

Blacki said different carnivals were played throughout the year and the players always enjoy them.

"The carnivals are held all over Queensland and we will host a carnival on Saturday, July 28,” he said.

"There's no scores on the day, you just play for tries and it's about fun, friendship and fraternity.

People wanting to play can visit the Facebook page Gympie Numbats Rugby.

Gympie Times


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