Ruben Wiki at the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines.

It mightn't have been the result he was after but Warriors skipper Ruben Wiki was still chuffed about his return to the footy field, proving 44-year-olds can still match it with the new breed. 

"As you can see, I survived. It was fun to get out there with the boys. Pity about the result but we'll work on that for the next game," he said after the first-up loss to Manly. 

"It wasn't really that tough. But I think if you give them that much ball then you're going to suffer. We had unlimited interchanges so it made it easier on this old fella. 

"Martin Taupau ran straight at me and I just had him by the legs so I held on. It was fine… they kept running away from me for some reason, or was it me trying to avoid them?"

Asked if he would play reduced minutes for the remainder of the tournament now that he'd proven he could still cut it, the New Zealand legend had this to say: "I've only got 48 hours, use me up!" 

For 20-year-old Bunty Afoa, playing alongside one of his childhood heroes was something he never thought possible; now it's something he'll cherish for the rest of his career. 

"It was awesome. We looked up to him during the years that he played so to play alongside him – a role model to us – was great," he told NRL.com.  

"He's still got it. He's still got some bumps and bruises but he'll come back a lot stronger. 

"I never thought I'd get to play with him so when he put on his jersey in the changing room it was a proud moment to be standing next to him."