Always a team player, Luke Page has been embracing a new role with the Burleigh Bears this year, but he can’t wait to get back amongst the action next season.
Currently running the water as a LeagueSafe officer for Burleigh’s A Grade team, Page admitted he sometimes had to stop himself from charging into the opposition.
“I have kept myself involved with the club all year,” Page said.
“The local A Grade is still playing, I have gone down to the club and trained with them Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays and I am running the water for the boys on the weekends.
“I had to do my LeagueSafe course, so I had to do that online, but I am only running the water for the boys and delivering messages, so I find that I get a little kick out of that.
“Stepping away (from playing) for a year, I haven’t had a year off footy since I was eight years old, so stepping away for nine months hasn’t been too bad... (but) I really miss it now and seeing the boys play every weekend at A Grade, I go ‘I am ready, give me the ball!’
“I am running the water and I want the ball you know?
“I am calling the plays at the back and I have got the water and I go ‘oh, actually, I am the water boy, I can’t do that.’
“I could play A Grade, but I just wanted a year off and it’s given me the drive, it’s given me the itch to play next year that’s for sure, I am keen as for next year.”
This last weekend was originally scheduled to be the 2020 Intrust Super Cup grand final, and for Page, reminders of his team’s triumph in both the 2016 and last year’s Cup grand finals have been another factor which has him looking forward to next season with anticipation.
“I saw the 2016 memories and last year’s memories pop up on my Facebook all week – and I have just been watching all the replays and that and it’s just unreal that it really happened,” Page said.
“We were looking good for this year, we had a really good team, but seeing Jamal (Fogarty) doing what he’s done this year (with Gold Coast Titans) from the Bears is just an achievement in itself for us... we see Jamal succeeding and we think ‘we built the platform for Jamal to go off and he’s going so well’.
“All in all, I miss rugby league in general, but I’ve really soaked up the break, especially now that I am 30 in January, I am not the youngest front rower getting around anymore... but I am enjoying the break, it’s been pretty good, but I really, really, really do miss footy, I really miss it.”
Intrust Super Cup Grand Final Highlights: Wynnum v Bears
Page is also hoping to again feature for the PNG Kumuls in the Rugby League World Cup next year if it goes ahead as planned.
“I really, really, really want it to happen, because it will be my last World Cup, I have only got one World Cup under my belt and that was probably one of the best experiences to have in rugby league,” Page said.
“We can only wait and see, I will be training next year and playing and if it comes, it comes, and if it doesn’t, well what can you do?
“I am just staying positive and revolving myself around the boys, all the young fellas keep me young.”
While Page can’t wait to get back onto the field again, the break has allowed him to turn his hand at completing new projects and indulging in some favourite pastimes on top of his work as a builder.
“I am DJ-ing more, so that is good,” Page – who also goes by DJ Moey Fresh – said.
“I have other things I do, I am into my cars and I own an old Datsun, so I have been spending my money on that on the weekends and doing that over a few beers with the boys, and little projects around the house.
“I went to Bunnings the other day and spent $200 on flowers to plant around the house with my wife... it’s things like that that I don’t really have time for; you don’t realise how much time footy does involve.”
As well as another international call-up, Page has a few more goals he wants to achieve in a Bears jersey, and the break has allowed him to freshen up his body in a move he hopes will prolong his time with the club.
At last count, the prop had played 161 Cup games so far in his career, 127 of them for Burleigh.
“I love it, I am going to retire at Burleigh, I want to try and get 200 games for Burleigh, and I will be a happy man," Page said.
“I think I am at 130 … if had played a full season this year and add next year, I would nearly be at 200 by the end of next year.
“Old Pagey still has a number of seasons in him yet.”