Applying his trade mostly in the forward pack, Iosia Soliola made well over 300 appearances for the Roosters, Raiders and St Helens over a 16-year career span before ending his first-grade NRL career last year.
Soliola wasn't expecting a return to the game at any point, but his return to footy has been aided by his former teammate at the Raiders Sam Williams who has a captain-coach role with the Queanbeyan Kangaroos in the Canberra Raiders Cup.
Soliola will now play for the club in 2023 according to The Canberra Times.
“I didn't really have any intentions of returning to the game at any level to be honest,” Soliola told The Canberra Times.
“I was actually enjoying retirement, but Samuel was the biggest influence in the decision.
“Obviously the connection that we have and the history we have was the biggest one.”
Soliola suspects that getting back into training will be the most difficult part of his return but hopes to have a positive influence on the bolstered squad with the likes of former NRL talent like Sam Williams.
“Making the time and effort to get out to training will probably be my biggest challenge right now," he told the publication.
“We'd like to think that with the distribution of a couple of our squad players throughout the region it will definitely lift the level of football to a really good standard that a lot of people can enjoy."
Also playing in the Canberra Raiders first grade cup up until the end of last year was Terry Campese.
Despite not playing professional rugby league since 2016, Campese had been playing for the Queanbeyan Blues until announcing his permanent retirement at the end of last year.
His new side missed out on a finals place, finishing in sixth place last season. Getting some playing time under his belt Soliola hopes will help raise the standard.
“I'm not going to put too much expectation on myself," he said.
“I'm fortunate I'm in an environment where I can probably do a few sessions here and there with the 21s maybe or the SG Ball boys.”
“That'll probably be a good gauge of where I'm at.”