HE'S BACK: Rebels super veteran reserve grade hooker Stevie Kirby has turned back the clock to the days when he was merely a veteran guiding forward packs around the field.
HE'S BACK: Rebels super veteran reserve grade hooker Stevie Kirby has turned back the clock to the days when he was merely a veteran guiding forward packs around the field. Tim Howard

Winning know-how guides Rebels reggies to preliminary final

RUGBY LEAGUE: A decade after cementing his reputation as one of the craftiest veterans in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League, scheming dummy half Stevie Kirby is back.

Now in the super veteran class Kirby has returned to the field this season for the South Grafton Rebels where his son, Damian, plays in the under-18s.

Saturday night would have been bittersweet in the Kirby household with the older Kirby holding the bragging rights after scoring two tries in the Rebels 34-20 win of Woolgoolga.

The veteran playmaker showed while age might have slowed his body, the space between his ears was as sharp as ever.

The only time the Seahorses ever looked like gaining an ascendancy on was during a period when Kirby was having a rest on the bench - something skipper Josh Nagle made sure did not happen again.

Nagle said Kirby's decision to play again this season has helped the Rebels reserve to make next week's preliminary final.

"It took him a while to get fully fit," Nagle said. "But now in the second half of the season he's hit his straps.

"I was playing hooker at the start of the season, interchanging with him.

"Now I can stay at half and me and Andrew Kapeen can work with the backs, while I leave Stevie to run the forwards."

Kirby and Nagle are not the only veterans turning in big games for Rebels in the big games.

"Brian Quinlan has been playing well in the second rower and Kurt Sheuermann has also been an effective player for us.

"Their experience in these bigger games has made the difference. They just seem to know what needs to be done to get us across the line."

Nagle is looking forward to next week's game against the Grafton Ghosts in the preliminary final.



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