Games per­fect for foot­ball re­union


A chance to catch up with old friends and play the game he loves is what the Mas­ters Games is all about for Matt Flana­gan.

The Pukerua Bay res­i­dent will join with a squad of fel­low Massey univer­sity alumni from across the coun­try - and three are com­ing from Aus­tralia - in Whanganui in Fe­bru­ary to com­pete at the Games.

This will be the sec­ond time the group has en­tered the New Zealand Mas­ters Games.

‘‘For the 2015 Mas­ters Games we had a squad of 16, but by the end of the tour­na­ment we only had 10 fit play­ers,’’ he said.

‘‘The group is fluid in terms of num­bers and the team will be boosted in 2017 by a few who couldn’t make it last time due to work or fam­ily com­mit­ments.’’

The men all met at Massey and are 1997 grad­u­ates in a range of de­grees such as busi­ness, arts, sci­ence, ve­teri­nary sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

The Mas­ters Games in 2015 was the first time they’d played foot­ball as a team for about 18 years.

It was a game that any­one can play, Flana­gan said, but it was im­por­tant to do some train­ing prior to the tour­na­ment this time.

‘‘The grounds are su­per-hard and the games are high in­ten­sity, even if only very short,’’ he said.

‘‘We re­ally en­joyed the chance to come to­gether for a pur­pose and en­joy each other’s com­pany again.

‘‘There were some lads who hadn’t seen each other for more than a decade but around the con­text of foot­ball, and a few beers, it was re­ally easy to fall back into old friend­ships.

‘‘Our main ob­jec­tive is to just come to­gether and have a great re­union.

‘‘The foot­ball is a bit of a means to an end, but hav­ing said that, we are a com­pet­i­tive lot and cer­tainly want to give a good ac­count of our­selves on the pitch!’’

The New Zealand Mas­ters Games, the coun­try’s big­gest multi-sport event, is on in Whanganui from Fe­bru­ary 3 till 12.

About 6000 com­peti­tors are ex­pected to com­pete across 55 sports and over 2400 in­di­vid­ual events.

It is con­sid­ered a so­cial, along with sport­ing, oc­ca­sion.

The New Zealand Mas­ters Games be­gan in 1989, with 1500 en­trants across 29 sports, to where it is to­day.

Check out for more de­tails and reg­is­tra­tion.

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