Brett Phillips and Dave ‘Irish’ Smith are excited about competing in the International Wide Bay Carnival.
Brett Phillips and Dave ‘Irish’ Smith are excited about competing in the International Wide Bay Carnival. Max Fleet

Golden Oldies take to the field

FUN, fraternity and friendship will be the modus operandi for competitors in today's Bundaberg International Wide Bay Over-35s Rugby Carnival.

Golden Oldies from across the region will reach for the electrical tape and dust off their best side-step in anticipation of the biennial event.

Bundaberg Rum Ruckers president Dave Smith said in spite of the official-sounding title, the competition would be more about having a laugh and sharing a beer than the numbers on the scoreboard.

“Let's face it, most of the guys are well, well passed their prime,” he said.

“There's an old saying: Good rugby players never die, they just get fatter.”

In keeping with Golden Oldies rules, the final score of matches will be agreed upon by the two captains before the kick-off, and the game will be cut short at three-quarter time.

“It's symbolic in a way, because idiots like us never really finish up playing the game,” Smith said.

Smith said the Rum Ruckers had considered embarking on a strict diet and a regimented training regime in preparation for the carnival but ultimately decided against it.

“We've been at this for a while and to be honest, we've found making sure we drink plenty of beer and keeping our meat pie intake up to be the best course of action.”

Smith said the Rum Ruckers would boast a “dream team”, bolstered by the medical mauling of Bundaberg's Base Hospital Bones.

A few of the esteemed medical professionals have been hand-picked to give Rum Ruckers the edge.

The competition will feature visiting Golden Oldies teams the Hervey Bay Bats, Gladstone Goats, Sunnybank Puffin' Dragons, Redcliffe Rusty Old Demons and visiting “internationals”, Norfolk Island's legendary Creaky Old Convicts.

Smith said a social beer after the carnival quickly treated any wounds inflicted upon the veterans.

“We don't take it all that seriously but it's still a fair effort for an old bloke to get out there and get in the ruck,” he said.

“You usually hop off the field a bit stiff and sore but a pot or two quickly sorts you out.”

Former Wallaby and honorary Rum Rucker Chris “Buddha” Hanley will make an appearance at the carnival.

Proceeds will go to Bundaberg District Junior Rugby Union and Cancer Council Australia.

The carnival will begin today at noon at Western Suburbs Leagues Club.



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