Former Brisbane Broncos prop forward Sam Thaiday has returned to the rugby league field.
The 36-year-old has made a return joining the Samford Stags.
Thaiday made more than 300 appearances in the NRL with Brisbane Broncos, having made his debut in 2003. He won 32 caps for Australia and also represented Queensland 29 times.
His last season came in 2018, announcing his retirement in ‘typical Sam Thaiday style‘.
Stags president Craig Urquhart said Thaiday reached out to the club at the start of the year, not just in an attempt to play footy again, but to give back to his community.
Sam Thaiday makes return with Samford Stags
“He’s lived in Samford for eight years and wanted to just give back to the community,” Urquhart said.
“He lives really close to the local school and a lot of the kids swamp him and continually ask him to play.
“A lot of people have asked me how much we’re paying him but he’s registered like any other player and has paid his fees just like anyone else.
“Everyone in Samford is talking about rugby league now. We have a really strong soccer club here, so to hear that rugby league is being talked about so much is fantastic.”
Thaiday featured in the Round 2 loss to Aspley, when he kicked a conversion from the sideline.
“We played Aspley a few weeks ago and there was a real carnival-like atmosphere at that game,” Urquhart added.
“Sam kicked one from the sideline and he was getting heckled. But everyone was just really enjoying the day. It’s almost like having his presence there levels the crowd because everyone is excited to see Sam get the ball or make a tackle or come off the bench.
“He’s very generous with his time. Very humble. It will take him 20 minutes to walk to the dressing room after the game because spectators grab him and want to take photos.
“What I like seeing as well is all the young 18, 19, 20-year-olds in the team and how he takes time out to talk to them about how they’re running or what they’re doing or how they make tackles.
“All those guys will get to say they played with Sam Thaiday. That’s pretty cool for the guys.”