Menzies inspires 'golden oldies'
Steve Menzies has revealed the secret of longevity as he contemplates playing on beyond his 40th birthday.
The evergreen Australian is comfortably Super League's oldest player, having turned 39 last December, and is set to decide in the next few weeks whether to finally hang up his boots.
The Manly Sea Eagles all-time great, who won the first of his 19 caps on the 1994 Kangaroo tour, was thought to be entering the twilight of his career when he arrived in Super League nearly five years ago.
But, after enjoying two successful years with Bradford Bulls, Menzies is now in his third season with Catalan Dragons and has become a trailblazer for Super League's golden oldies.
Jamie Peacock, 35, who played close to the full 80 minutes for Leeds Rhinos last night, and Adrian Morley, 36, have both pointed to the extraordinary feat of Menzies in opting to extend their own playing careers.
Menzies reckons he is just as fit now as he was when he arrived in Super League in 2008 and says ageing as a player is all in the mind.
"It used to be the case that, when you got to 33 or 34, you stopped playing but, as long as your mind is ready to go, most of the boys mentally can keep playing if they want to," he said.
"It's if your body has had a few too many bumps that slow you down. If it affects the way you train, it can affect the way you play.
"But I do 90% of the training. Mondays are probably a bit light for me when the boys do a bit of a run-round.
"Other than that, I do whatever they do and wake up alright the next morning."
Menzies missed four matches in mid-season with a broken finger but is otherwise an ever-present for the Dragons this year and made his second appearance for the Exiles in last Friday's game against England at Warrington, where he was one of the best players on the pitch.
He made it clear that that was his final representative appearance and admits he is likely to make his 21st season his last.
"I haven't made a decision but I'm probably leaning towards finishing," he said.
"I'm talking to the club at the moment. I'll decide what's best for me and what's best for them."
Menzies, who is living with his wife and two young children near the beach on the outskirts of Perpignan, had been tipped to cut his coaching teeth with the Catalans.
But he is more likely to return to a job with his beloved Sea Eagles, where he enjoys legendary status after making a total of 349 appearances and scoring 180 tries, which puts him second in the Australian all-time list behind winger Ken Irvine.
"I'll either play or go home," Menzies said. "I'd like to have some involvement in my old club.
"I'll see what they've got in mind and hopefully it will work out. I was born in the area and I'm passionate about the club."
If it is to be Menzies' final season, it would be fitting if he could end it with a major trophy and the Dragons are on course to reach both finals.
They are in the top five of Super League and next month meet Hull FC in Perpignan for a place in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, not that the laid-back Menzies is allowing himself to get carried away by the prospect of further glory.
He made four Grand-Final appearances for Manly and played at the old Wembley in 1995 when he helped the Kangaroos to victory over England in the World Cup final.
"Obviously we're two matches away but I don't really think about it too much," he said. "It would be great for the club, though."