Raiders play­ers band around side­lined winger

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

RUGBY UNION

A GROUP of re­tired rugby union play­ers have suc­cess­fully re­turned from a master’s car­ni­val in Ar­gentina un­scathed and healthy.

The Whit­sun­day Whales trav­elled to Mar del Plata to contest the World Golden Oldies tour­na­ment – a com­pe­ti­tion con­sist­ing of three matches against teams from around the world held ev­ery sec­ond year.

The Whit­sun­day Whales have been in ex­is­tence for more than 30 years, pro­vid­ing an av­enue for play­ers 34 and over to tie the boots once again.

Team man­ager Bob Corskie said the team thor­oughly en­joyed them­selves this year, post­ing a win, a draw and a loss from their three games against an in­vi­ta­tional side, Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata.

A big open­ing cer­e­mony greeted the team on night one, fol­lowed by a mid- week ex­cur­sion and the fi­nal night’s sit­down meal. “Ev­ery­one en­joyed them­selves and the boys have re­turned with no ma­jor in­juries,” Corskie said.

Corskie said en­sur­ing play­ers re­turned with a clean bill of health was his main con­cern, and was re­lieved to re­port the squad of 25 were all fit and fir­ing.

The Whit­sun­day Whales have pre­vi­ously played fes­ti­vals in Cape Town, Ed­in­burgh, Syd­ney and Ja­pan.

WHIT­SUN­DAY Raider Tai Roberts was forced to watch his beloved Raiders’ claim suc­ces­sive grand fi­nals from the side­lines after a dev­as­tat­ing knee in­jury de­railed his 2014 sea­son.

His knee was pinned dur­ing a rou­tine tackle in a game against Slade Point in May this year, and sub­se­quently he has been off work and un­able to play ever since.

The winger also missed Whit­sun­day’s sec­ond straight premier­ship, as the back-to­back win­ners over­came Mackay City Red­skins to com­plete an un­de­feated year.

Roberts was hon­oured to dis­cover that the Raiders had raised $4500 to as­sist his re­cov­ery and med­i­cal costs.

“As I am un­em­ployed due to the in­jury, the funds will as­sist greatly for liv­ing ex­penses and med­i­cal ex­penses. My fam­ily and I are truly touched and grate­ful for the club's gen­eros­ity and con­tin­ued support,” he said.

Roberts’ sis­ter Rachel Cooper or­gan­ised a framed jersey to be auc­tioned at the Whit­sun­day Raiders’ pre­sen­ta­tion night late last month.

To his sur­prise, the club, led by coach Kon Fla­herty, or­gan­ised a fur­ther two jer­seys to be auc­tioned and a raf­fle with all pro­ceeds go­ing to his re­cov­ery.

Roberts said that in­jury or not, he is a Raider for life.

“I hope to make a full re­cov­ery but am un­cer­tain if I will be able to play in the fu­ture. I’ll re­main part of the team and never for­get what the club has done for me,” he said.

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