David "Freddy" Bassett: Half-century Outlaw

Albion Park Outlaws rugby league veteran David Bassett has no immediate plans to retire, despite celebrating his 50th birthday earlier this year. He has notched up more than 400 grade games, well in excess of 300 of them for the Outlaws. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

Albion Park Outlaws rugby league veteran David Bassett has no immediate plans to retire, despite celebrating his 50th birthday earlier this year. He has notched up more than 400 grade games, well in excess of 300 of them for the Outlaws. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

ALBION Park Outlaws rugby league player David "Freddy" Bassett, who turned 50 earlier this year, has played more than 400 grade games during his career, despite not taking up rugby league until he was 16.

"With our family being from England it was probably only natural that I played soccer, but decided to make a change at the age of 16 and haven't regretted it one bit," Bassett said.

"I joined the Albion Park-Oak Flats club and played under-18s then thirds, before working my way up to first grade, playing halfback or five-eighth and won the Sammy Downes first grade Player of the Year in 1987.

"I think I played nearly 90 grade games for them, but in 1993 decided I needed a change and wanted to start playing for fun, and joined the Albion Park Outlaws in the Group 7 Regan Cup (third grade) competition.

"I received a framed jumper about three years ago from the Outlaws for my 300 games with them, so I really don't know my tally of games, but it would be a lot."

Surprisingly, despite being comfortably the oldest player still participating in the senior Group 7 competition, he said he still feels the same as he did many years ago.

He also believes his job as a plasterer helps the post-match recovery process.

"You have to get up every Monday morning and throw sheets [of plasterboard], and it certainly gives you a good stretch.

"I still go to training all the time and haven't missed a year of football since I started.

"I think that definitely helps.

"I still used to get sore after games in under-18s, so nothing has changed really."

When asked about whether he has ever considered retirement, he said it wasn't really an option at this stage.

"When I feel that I am not playing well and become a burden to the team, I will know that's the time to give it away.

"At the moment it's a season-by-season thing.

"I am currently playing off the bench and am just working on playing well when I get on the field, and getting my starting hooker spot back."

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