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Footy cards are back, baby

There's nothing better than the feeling of opening your first pack of footy cards for a new season.

To celebrate the release of the 2020 NRL Trading Cards, takes a trip down memory lane and recalls the five things we loved most about footy cards.

  • Anticipation

You had somehow scored yourself some pocket money and were ready to invest in your next pack of footy cards. You’d carefully selected your pack from the box on the counter of the corner shop, convinced that this one contained that elusive ladder card, or the hard-to-find Steelers emblem card you desperately needed to complete your team logo set. Was this the pack that would deliver the goods? Or would you be stuck with a bunch of doubles that you’d have to trade away? Every purchase was a thrill ride of hope and excitement.

  • Rubber Bands

Before the term ‘mint condition’ was common place among your fellow collectors, there was no need for ring binders with special plastic sleeves to hold your prized collection. Who needs a bulky binder when a trusty rubber band would do the trick? Back in the day, you would dump your school bag on the turf, open the zipper, and pull out a wad of cards thicker than a phone book - all held together with a couple of heavy-duty hoops of red rubber.

  • Card Swapping

“Got it, got it, need it, got it” – the lunchtime trade was well and truly our first taste of economics at work, and the contrived complexity of deals was surely something worthy of Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas in 'Wall Street'. Was a Martin Bella worth a Cliff Lyons? Surely not, but if you throw in a Jamie Goddard and your Space Food Sticks, you’ve got a deal! Little did the other party know you had three Cliff Lyons already, needed Jamie Goddard to complete your Gold Coast Seagulls team, and had someone else around the corner willing to swap you a caramel Space Food Stick for the Steelers emblem card.

  • Flicks

When deals broke down, sometimes we had to rely on pure skill. The game of flicks came in various forms. Who could flick their card the longest distance, who could flick their card closest to a wall, who could flick their card up the biggest number of steps. Endless variations on a theme and there was only one non-negotiable ... we’re playing for keeps and winner takes all!

  • The gum

At the end of the day, even if you’d lost it all, you could always take comfort in the stick of gum that came in every pack. Sure it was hard, and sure it lost its taste after three chews... but the sweet smell it left on the cards and the dust that would stick to your fingers were something that would linger throughout each day of the season.

The latest season of NRL Traders trading cards are available now at your local newsagent, Caltex and Coles Express and also online via your club store or at

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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