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Greg Smith with his daughter Kelly and one of his six grandchildren.

Greg Smith is the oldest player registered to Rugby League Brisbane.

But at 60 years of age, Smith is feeling anything but old.

The dedicated veteran will this weekend play finals with his Moreton Bay Raiders side in the Open Men’s Division 3 North competition.

And he says despite the occasional complaint of having tight calves, the game of rugby league is keeping him healthy, fit and, most importantly, happy.

“I don’t feel 60,” Smith said.

“I might look it, but I don’t feel it. Rugby league seems to keep me mentally fit and strong.

“It helps me alleviate the stress from work. I still have that drive to be out there and play. The body may sometimes say differently but the brain and heart still have me out there.

“I just like it. I like the camaraderie, the physicality.”

Greg Smith in action for Banyo in 2018.
Greg Smith in action for Banyo in 2018.

Smith didn’t actually start playing rugby league until he was 34.

He grew up playing AFL but gave it away shortly after turning 18 due to work demands.

However, when his sons Michael and Josh then showed an interest in rugby league, he was conned into signing up himself.

“I went down to sign them up and somehow walked out coaching the under 10s and playing seniors,” Smith said of his first season in rugby league.

“They wanted me to coach my son’s side and I said I had never played rugby league in my life and wouldn’t have a clue. I’d watched it on TV but that was it.

“The seniors coach was standing nearby and said, ‘come down and I’ll teach you how to play’.

“My son’s going, ‘yeah, Dad, do it, Dad,’ so I said, ‘righto’. And I just loved it.

“One thing led to another and each year the guys kept asking me if I was coming down. The group has changed dramatically over the years but they just say to me, ‘come down’, so I come down.”

Smith first started playing with Burpengary Cobras – with his sons at the Burpengary Jets - before moving to Beenleigh Pride and then Banyo Devils.

Now Smith has been with the Moreton Bay Raiders for three seasons while both his sons – Michael, 40, and Josh, 37 – are taking a break from the game due to work and family commitments.

They all managed to play one senior season together for the Cobras in 2003 and actually won a grand final, which is one of the highlights of Smith’s career.

Josh continued to play with his father after that year and they went on to win a second premiership in 2016, this time with Beenleigh.

And Smith also won last year’s Opens Division 3 grand final with Moreton Bay.

The 2021 premiership-winning Moreton Bay Raiders.
The 2021 premiership-winning Moreton Bay Raiders.

He has now been playing for so long that one of his six grandchildren is playing under 6s with the Caloundra Sharks.

He has his eyes on a second grandchild possibly taking up the game, with his eight-month-old granddaughter only sitting quietly when rugby league is on the TV.

He said it’s those years with his family that have been the most special.

“The biggest one was winning the grand final with my two sons in the side,” Smith said.

“I was front row, Michael was second row and Josh was centre. That was the best moment ever.

“The Pride grand final and last year were pretty good too.”

And two of his biggest supporters include his wife, Liz, and his daughter, Kelly.

Kelly never misses a game – even going along to support Moreton Bay when her dad was sidelined with Covid – while Liz is part of the reason why Smith is still playing today.

Greg Smith with his daughter Kelly and one of his six grandchildren.
Greg Smith with his daughter Kelly and one of his six grandchildren.

“He wasn’t going to be play this year but I told him he should play because he’s 60 and that’s something he should really be proud of,” Liz said.

“It’s very good for him to get that stress out.”

Smith, who is a facility manager of an air freight company, said he did consider retiring after winning last year’s grand final but took his wife’s advice on board.

He celebrated his 60th birthday in June and now is two games away from another grand final appearance.

And after all this time, 26 years of rugby league, this might be the final year.

“If we win the grand final - which is a bit of a long shot, but we’re capable of it - you never know,” he said of the possibility of retiring.

“A couple of the guys I’ve played with, they want me to come and play Masters. They reckon they’re too old for Opens anymore so they want to start a Masters side.

“But Masters doesn’t play for a grand final and I like that still, to have that goal. I like the competition and competitiveness of it all.

“But there does have to be a use by date eventually.”

Smith's Moreton Bay Raiders will play an elimination final against Wests Mitchelton this Saturday, August 13, at midday at West Arana's Kev McKell Oval.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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