Image: Newport Breakers Cooper Halligan, his dad Daryl and team mate Paul Carswell after they played together.

Super Boot Daryl Halligan Makes Comeback at 50 to Play with His Son

This article by Jon Geddes originally appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/manly-daily at 4:59 pm on Wednesday

Former rugby league super boot Daryl Halligan has made a shock comeback at the age of 50 — to play alongside his son Cooper with the Newport rugby club.

The pair teamed up in the centres for the second half of the Breakers third grade side against St Ives at Hassall Park last Saturday.

And, yes, the man who retired with the record for the highest ever point scorer in the Australian rugby league premiership, booted a goal.

Playing with a son is a dream that a lot of dads have, but very rarely does it become a reality.

Daryl Halligan takes a kick for goal with the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2000, Picture: Colleen Petch.

“I thought if I was ever going to do it I’ve got to do it now,” Halligan senior said.

“I had a ‘nosy’ a couple of weeks ago when I went and watched him and thought maybe I could handle that.”

Then last Saturday he was at Cooper’s game again and was asked if he had brought his boots.

“I said ‘yep’ and they said ‘get them out and get them on’,” he said.

“The opportunity was there so I thought why not, you live and tear.”

But the midfield partnership got off to a bit of a shaky start.

“He gave me a hospital pass first up,” Daryl claimed.

Daryl Halligan, wife Linda with children Devon, Cooper and Bronte in 2000.

And the man who scored 2034 points with North Sydney and Canterbury had not planned on doing any goal-kicking in his return.

But when Newport skipper Heath Radel said he would attempt to convert a try, the crowd and his team mates called on Halligan to take the shot.

“I thought I better nail it, I am under so much pressure here,” said Halligan, who is now a world renowned goal-kicking coach.

And the attempt from near the sideline sailed through the posts as Newport won 17-5.

“I would have had to walk straight off if I missed it, got in my car and gone home,” he said.

It was just like riding a bike for Halligan who retired from the NRL at the end of 2000.

“As I came off I touched me knees and my teeth and everything was in one piece,” he said.

“I was that sore on Sunday and I played like I normally do- I did nothing.”

It was a game that Cooper, a 22-year-old apprentice carpenter, will never forget.

“It was such a good feeling just running around with him and he loved it as well,” he said.

“He had to make a few tackles which was pretty good and he definitely was showing me the ropes a bit.”