LEGEND: Foundation Knights skipper Sam Stewart.

SAM Stewart joked that the last time he played rugby league, the ball was made of leather.

Nonetheless, the Newcastle Knights legend –who captained the club in its inaugural seasons –is committed to making a comeback within a matter of weeks, at the age of 54.The former Kiwi international, who does not appear to have aged a day since he led the Knights out for their first-ever game, against Parramatta in 1988, has agreed to play for North Newcastle Bluebags in their resurrection campaign.

North were arguably the most famous club in the Newcastle district competition between 1910 and 1989, winning 15 first-grade premierships before merging with Nelson Bay. They have effectively been defunct since, but have now recruited a coach and more than 40 players to compete in the Newcastle and Hunter second-division competition.

BLUEBLOODS: Rebecca Young and Sam Stewart share a joke before North Newcastle’s training session at Carrington on Wednesday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

They will also field a team in the NSWRL women’s competition that will include a host of Australian representatives, headed by dual international Bec Young.

Next week they will hold talks with Newcastle City Council about securing a home ground.

Stewart said he had agreed to play at least one game as a favour for his friend Gary Callaghan, who is North’s vice-chairman and a former team manager of the Knights.

“Gary and Iwere talking about their plans to put North Newcastle back together,’’ Stewart told the Herald. “He asked if I would like to be involved, and I said maybe I could come and do a training session or run the water out. He asked if I’d pull on the boots again …obviously I said yes, and here I am. We’re still a month away, and anything could happen in a month, but I’m looking forward to it.’’

Stewart said it had been 21 years since he played a game, but he still keeps fit on the Gold Coast throughswimming, mountain biking and other activities.

He attended North’s training session at Pat Jordan Oval, Carrington, on Wednesday to meet his new teammates, and on Thursday will address his latter-day Knights counterparts before their round-one clash with the Warriors.

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