Pirates master new way to play game they love
THE love of rugby league has never faded for Paul Musumeci.
Musumeci is part of the Townsville Pirates Masters Rugby League Club, which runs an annual carnival for players aged 35 years and over to relive their glory days on the footy field.
Musumeci stopped playing competitively in 2006, but he turned out for his old Mt Isa team at a carnival on the Gold Coast in 2014 and from there his love of the game blossomed again.
He formed the Pirates along with Nathan Scholes in 2015 and their gala day has almost doubled in size with a record eight teams and 129 players taking part in this year’s event.
“At first we’d just set up a game when we could get enough players to get it going and it’s built from there,” Musumeci said.
“We’ve got about five local teams that play and we try to give them at least two or three games a year at local league games and we have our big gala day in September every year with teams coming from out of town.”
Masters rugby league is played with modified rules to protect players who may not be able to handle the full contact with a strong focus on the camaraderie with teammates.
“We had a guy come down to the gala day from Cairns and he was 70 years old and still running around playing,” Musumeci said.
“There’s guys here locally that it had been 10 to 15 years since I’ve played footy with them. You’re catching back up with old mates as if you never parted company.”
The Pirates club has also become about more than just rugby league after making a donation to the Townsville Men’s Shed following last month’s gala day.
Musumeci said the club was able to raise more than $ 1400 through signed jersey auctions and he hoped the Pi- rates could continue to support the local community through masters footy. “The Men’s Shed do great work in the community and we were looking specifically at men’s health because obviously we’re a bunch of old men playing masters footy,” he said.
“Like any association we have a small but very committed group of volunteers selling raffles and assisting with the set up, and also playing most games throughout the year.”
Musumeci said the club was always looking for new players.
Anyone interested can get in contact through the Townsville Pirates Masters Facebook page.
STRENGTH TO STRENGTH: Townsville Pirates Masters stalwart Paul Musumeci is helping the club move into a bright new future.