Ahoy, Matey! Former NRL star to debut for Coast club
It's been a long time between games for former NRL star David Shillington.
The Queensland Origin representative last put the boots on for the Gold Coast Titans in 2016.
He announced his retirement due to recurring injury problems in 2017.
Shillington will run out in new colours on Saturday when he makes his debut for the Noosa Pirates against Southern Suburbs Toowoomba.
Shillington said there were a few nerves.
"People probably think that I'm mucking around when I say this but I am genuinely nervous, I haven't played for a number of years," he said.
"I've been doing a little bit of training with the boys and trying to be a part of it and polish up on my old skills.
"I'm sure after a few tackles and few runs I'll settle back into just like old times.
"First couple of touches will be a bit scary."
It's been almost five years since Shillington has had a run.
"I keep myself in OK shape, I emphasise OK," he said with a laugh.
"We've done a bit of fitness and a couple of the earlier sessions weren't too bad, just some shuttle runs.
"But then Tim, one of our trainers, got a bit excited one day and gave us a good old fashioned flogging and he almost broke me and I thought 'I didn't sign up for this'.
"It's made me feel a bit old but a bit younger at the same time."
Shillington said the choice to come back was easy.
"It was a bit of an itch I had to scratch I guess," he said.
"I coached at the Pirates last year, my son and daughters team, they played together in the under 6s.
"It's a really good club and good people there.
"I got talking to Greg (club president) over Christmas and said 'I'm thinking about strapping the boots back on' and he said 'well if you're going to play anywhere, you're playing for us right?'."
The Australian representative can't wait to hit the paddock with his new side.
"They've got a really young team, so it will take a little bit of time for them to mature and develop," he said.
"But mixed into that youth is probably a big enough core of experienced players for us to be able to win games.
"I'm looking forward to this trial."
This weekend's trial game kicks off three weeks of action at Pirate Park with the club hosting the Sunshine Coast Falcons trial against Norths Devils on March 6 before the start of the Sunshine Coast Rugby League season on March 13.
Noosa will meet reigning premiers Stanley River in round one of the regular season.
Noosa Pirates president Paul Dwyer is excited to see rugby league back in business after the season was called off last year due to COVID-19.
"Too much footy is never enough and our community is ready to get back into its stride and have some fun by getting behind their local team," he said.
The Pirates squad is champing at the bit to get into 2021 with several players now affiliated with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
"In the Falcons' ISC and Colts teams we have around seven or eight Pirates aligned players that will play at the March 6 trial," Mr Dwyer said.
"It is also likely that they will turn out for us in 2021 at some stage too, so that's a win/win.
"Plus there are five or six of our boys in the Mal Meninga squad from our 2020 premiership winning under 16s team that are playing for the Falcons.
"They are an important part of our club DNA these days where we have state league and NRL pathways opportunities for our players."
Noosa head coach Brett Winkler is firmly focused on a good early season start for his squad.
"It's getting pretty serious now, so we need this trial to go well as our last game lead in," Winkler said.
"Having Shillo go round will be great for the spectators but it will be a big boost for the players personally.
"Dave has a big presence on the field but it's his presence off the field that will also make a difference to how we perform as a team unit."
The main game will kick off on Saturday at 7pm.