Legend Walker calling the shots for Brumbies
ANYONE can be a wildcard but very few 44-year-olds can actually take charge and direct the play as evergreen Andrew Walker will at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
The natural gifts that made the enigmatic figure an Australian representative in rugby and rugby league are still in his sinewy frame.
He may have slowed but he still sees the game with the same ad lib vision that former coaches like Eddie Jones and Phil Gould put on a pedestal.
So how did the invites to stars of yesteryear work out at the inaugural tournament 12 months ago?
Hmmm. Chris Latham tweaked a hamstring on tournament eve, Steve Larkham invented a muscle twinge to avoid playing, Lote Tuqiri manfully huffed down the touchline like a forward and Morgan Turinui retired for good after his hitout.
Ageless Radike Samo did put on the hit of the tournament and Walker, well, he looked totally at home in the midfield for the Brumbies.
Walker made such an impression at last year's tournament that then-Brumbies coach Steve Larkham pencilled down his name if the club had a crisis at five-eighth.
The Brumbies have extended the invitation to Walker to play again, starting with Friday's pool games against Fiji (5.09pm) and the Crusaders (9.30pm) at Suncorp Stadium.
The father-of-five was winning an Ipswich rugby league premiership with Fassifern as recently as 2012 when 38 so the footy fire is still there.
Former All Blacks five-eighth Carlos Spencer, now 42, was named in the Blues side for the Tens and you fancy there is still a trick or two for him to show.
Hooker Adam Freier (Rebels) is the latest wildcard to step up for the festive footy with Carl Hayman (Pau), Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) and Pita Alatini (Highlanders).
The Brumbies have named eye-catching backrower Rob Valetini, just 19 but a strong-running standout in last year's National Rugby Championship.
Also included is halfback Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, the quicksilver Sunnybank halfback who has headed to Canberra in search of a break.
WHERE TO MEET THE STARS OF THE GLOBAL TENS
PAU ... Open training at Easts Rugby (4.30-6.30pm at Bottomley Park)
WARATAHS ... Open training at Riverside Rebels (4.30-6.30pm at Bulimba Sports Club)
PANASONIC WILD KNIGHTS ... Open training at Wests Rugby (4.30-6.30pm at Sci-Fleet Stadium)
FIJI ... Open training at Norths Rugby (4.30-6.30pm at Hugh Courtney Oval)
CHIEFS ... Open training at Souths Rugby (5-6.30pm at Chipsy Wood Oval)
BRUMBIES ... Open training at Sunshine Coast Grammar (5-6.30pm at Mons Rd, Forest Glen)
TENS HQ @ Queen Street Mall Stage
11.15-11.45am: Wild Knights (Berrick Barnes)
Noon-12.30pm: Pau (Conrad Smith, Carl Hayman)
12.45-1.15pm: Reds (Samu Kerevi, Taniela Tupou)