The Melbourne Metro Masters Gala Series organised by VIC Stormers has wrapped up for 2022, with the final gala day taking place down at Werribee last weekend.
The event offers men above the age of 35 and women over the age of 30 a chance to lace up the boots for their local club once again and run out alongside friends and family.
Sione Santos is one of the many players that represented their local club on the weekend, taking on the role of coach/player for the Truganina Rabbitohs side.
Santos who still remains involved with the club in a coaching capacity said the chance to run out onto the field again is an opportunity many of the older players relish.
“I finished up playing grade footy this year and just wanted to still feel that kind of connection to the club, it’s obviously quite a big change going from training two times a week plus games every weekend to nothing,” Santos said.
“While I’m still coaching at the club, it was good just for myself to get back out there on the field,” he said.
While the day was filled with plenty of family-friendly entertainment and good times, Santos said the contest out on the field was far from a walk in the park.
“It was really good turnout, they had the music and food vans going, I thought Werribee hosted really well," he said.
"Whoever says that Masters is just for fun is lying, it certainly brings out the competitive side of people when they’re playing.
"It brings to life all their childhood memories, there are suddenly blokes who played prop their whole lives who are now playing six,” he said.
Santos said what makes the Masters so special is its ability to offer those in the rugby league community a chance to rekindle old friendships, all while making new ones.
“It’s interesting because there are lots of guys I would have played against 5-6 years ago and they’d come up to me and you have a good yarn," he said.
“There were a lot of new bonds and friendships being formed, especially with players I have never played with or against, it’s just honestly a great experience."