41 years and still playing union
HERVEY Bay’s Andrew Beattie played his first game of rugby union when he was nine.
Forty-one years later Beattie’s still playing the game he loves and with as much passion as did all those years ago while growing up in England.
Beattie was again in the thick of the action playing for the Fraser Coast Mariners in an end of year hit-out against University of Queensland in the Whale City at the weekend.
In true rugby fashion, the game finished in a draw, a gentleman’s agreement.
The two clubs are now hoping to make it an annual fixture.
Although he’s been playing the game for years Beattie, or Pommy as he is known, said he was still discovering new ways to play it, well, positional play, that is.
“I thought I’d star on the wing,” Beattie laughed.
“Instead, I found myself playing in the second-row, a position I’d never played in before – I think they put me there because they were short of big men.
“I really enjoyed it, well, I always do when I am playing.”
But what is Beattie’s secret to his longevity in the game?
“I keep myself fit and work hard at it over summer,” said Beattie, who plays for the Fraser Coast Mariners reserve grade team in the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union competition.
“I haven’t missed a season of rugby since I started playing the game and I don’t intend to.
“Sure, it takes me a few more days to recover after a game nowadays, but I wouldn’t miss playing a game for anything.
“I reckon I’ve got a few good years left in me yet.
“I’ll know when it’s time to hang up the boots when my teammates start moaning about my performance.
“Hang on, don’t put that in the paper or they will tell me to retire today.”
I am sure they won’t Pommy.