A remarkably old 13 of players still playing in 2024 including 8 former Super League stars

Aaron Bower

These days, there’s no defined age for rugby league players to call it quits – as some of the game’s oldest players still doing the business in 2024 can attest to.

Remarkably, there are two players over the age of 40 still playing on a fairly regular basis – albeit outside of Super League – which, quite simply, we tip our hat to.

Some of Super League’s modern-day icons are among the oldest players in the game, as well as some stalwarts of the lower leagues who have served their clubs with pride. Without further ado, here’s our 13 featuring every player still active over the age of 36.

1. Jarrod Sammut (Workington Town, 37)

Jarrod Sammut
Jarrod Sammut in action for Workington Town in 2024

One of the biggest mavericks ever to appear in Super League, Sammut is still playing professionally now with League 1 side Workington Town at the age of 37. Over a decade on from his unforgettable debut for Crusaders at Magic Weekend, the Maltese international is one of the modern game’s great cult heroes, having appeared for a whole string of clubs at all levels of the sport!

2. Jason Mossop (Workington Town, 38)

Sticking with Workington – who have three players in this team! – and onto one of their most distinguished players in recent times. Mossop is 38 years of age and turns 39 later this year, and outside of short stints with Sheffield and Hunslet, he has been with Workington ever since first joining in 2007.

3. Misi Taulapapa (Doncaster, 42)

Misi Taulapapa

The second-oldest player still playing in the professional game is Championship icon Misi Taulapapa. The Samoan international first arrived on these shores in 2010, signing a deal with Sheffield after a move to Gateshead fell through.

He was with the Eagles during their period of success in the mid-2010s before having spells at Featherstone and Newcastle. He’s been at Doncaster since 2021, helping them win promotion last season.

4. Kris Welham (Sheffield Eagles, 37)

A modern-day icon at Hull KR, having played over 200 times for the Robins, Welham is still going strong now at the age of 37 in the Championship with Sheffield.

Welham has also had stints with Bradford Bulls, Salford Red Devils and Featherstone Rovers – and he should, all being well, be involved in the Sheffield side that walk out at Wembley next month for the 1895 Cup final.

5. Ryan Hall (Hull KR, 36)

Ryan Hall Hull KR Alamy
Ryan Hall in action for Hull KR in 2024

The only Super League player in this 13! The Leeds Rhinos and England legend will go around again next year after agreeing a one-year deal to return to the Rhinos. By that point, he will have turned 37 and, barring a miracle, will have already cemented his place as Super League’s all-time top try-scorer. His longevity at the highest level is certainly to be admired.

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6. Paul Sykes (Dewsbury Rams, 42)

Paul Sykes Dewsbury Rams Alamy
Veteran Paul Sykes in action for Dewsbury Rams in 2022 – Alamy

The oldest player in the professional game in 2024 is the one and only Sykes – who will turn 43 later this year!

Well over 500 games into an illustrious playing career, Sykes is still contributing on a regular basis for Dewsbury Rams, having helped the club to promotion back to the Championship last year. He is undisputedly one of the game’s modern greats when it comes to defying age!

7. Anthony Thackeray (Sheffield Eagles, 38)

Anthony Thackeray
Anthony Thackeray in action for Sheffield Eagles in 2023 – Alamy

Sykes’ half-back partner is another with links to Dewsbury: current Sheffield half-back Thackeray. He made his professional debut all the way back in 2007 for Hull FC and is still going strong today. He’s another member of Mark Aston’s squad who will hope to play at Wembley in his late-30s next month in the 1895 Cup final.

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8. Craig Kopczak (Oldham, 37)

Craig Kopczak Featherstone Rovers 2023 Alamy

Now plying his trade with League 1 favourites Oldham, Kopczak has had a long and impressive career. A large portion of that was in Super League with clubs including Wakefield Trinity and Salford Red Devils, before dropping down to the Championship with Featherstone Rovers.

9. George Flanagan (Keighley Cougars, 37)

The Bradford-born hooker has just joined local rivals Keighley on a loan deal, having struggled for regular game-time at Odsal this season. But Flanagan is another player synonymous with the Championship, having played hundreds of games at that level throughout a commendable career.

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10. Ukuma Ta’ai (York Knights, 37)

The Tongan international first came to England in 2013 when he agreed a deal to sign for Huddersfield – and he’s stayed ever since!

Ta’ai played over 200 games for the Giants during his time in West Yorkshire before agreeing a deal to sign for Newcastle Thunder. He’s now in the squad at Championship side York Knights.

11. Harrison Hansen (Toulouse, 39)

Harrison Hansen Wigan Warriors Alamy

An icon at Wigan Warriors, Hansen is still doing the business in France with Toulouse.

He’s been at Toulouse since 2020, featuring for them in Super League in 2022 and helping them to promotion the previous year. He’s also had spells with the likes of Widnes and Leigh, and he will turn 39 later this year.

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12. Brett Ferres (Doncaster, 38)

Brett Ferres in action for Featherstone back in January 2022.
Brett Ferres in action for Featherstone Rovers in 2022 – Alamy

One of Super League’s most consistent forwards for a number of years, Ferres was part of the Doncaster squad who achieved promotion to the Championship last season: and he’s still playing in 2024.

A stalwart of clubs including Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos, Ferres has enjoyed great success in the game – and he’s still going strong today.

13. Carl Forber (Workington Town, 39)

A stretch perhaps to nudge Forber in at 13, but as well as having the odd bit of experience there, we couldn’t exclude him at the age of 39! It’s 20 years since he made his professional debut with St Helens, but Forber has become synonymous with Workington since joining the club in 2012. Will he continue next year at the age of 40?

Subs: Mike Knowles (Hunslet, 37), Junior Sa’u (Keighley, 37), Martyn Ridyard (Rochdale, 37), Adam Sidlow (Salford, 36)

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