Player: Nigel "vic masters is my man therapy" Aitken
Club: Melbourne University Gents.
5 nations team: Old Blacks
Position: Half back #9.
Club: Melbourne University Gents.
Born in 1963 in Stokes Valley New Zealand, Nigel played his first game of Rugby for Stokes Valley Midgets aged 6.
After a couple of seasons, they moved to Normandale in Lower Hutt where he decided to take a break from the game to save his body for games in later years.
After moving into Wellington in 1977 went to college at the “Coutts St Academy” aka Rongotai College (known for other Rugby greats as Ma’a Nonu & Ardie & Julian Savea).
During College he enjoyed getting back into Rugby, playing every year in the school social grades.
After leaving School he hit his peak in NZ Rugby playing for Victoria Universities “Tanalised” U21B’s. He wasn’t sure how they went but was certain they worshipped “The Man God” Colin Meades & drank way to much amber nectar.
During school, his main focus was Fastpitch Softball where he played for Island Bay & debuted in Major A aged 14. He represented Wellington at U14, 16, 18 & Colts Nationals, winning two Nationals, going undefeated in the U18 Nationals & being selected for a NZ Squad to tour to Canada, which was unfortunately cancelled.
In 1984 he left NZ for a two year back packing holiday, spending 8 months in a Kombi in Europe, lived in London for 10 months. The whole time identifying as an Australian because they were pretty wild times & not wanting to give Kiwis a bad name…
London was a turning point in his life as he met his wife of 30 years, played a rugby season for London French then in the summer months played Baseball for the first time, making the London Div 2 All Star Team & being selected to represent UK in the first ever Men’s representative Fastpitch Softball Team
After leaving England, he & travelled for 7 months through Asia ending up in Melbourne, his wives home town.
During his time in Melbourne he had 3 children & spent time coaching Auskick, Soccer & getting involved in whatever & wherever was needed.
Waterskiing was always a passion & the family quickly adopted boating as the favoured family pastime, eventually beginning to compete in the local wakeboarding scene. After a year or so he took on the role of Wakeboard Victoria President & eventually became the Vice President of Wakeboard Australia & sitting on the board of the Victorian Waterskiing Federation as the Wakeboarding delegate.
A highlight was organising the National titles being held in Melbourne Docklands in 2008 & having Wakeboarding reintroduced in the Moomba Masters on the Yarra where he ran the Wakeboarding event at Moomba for several years.
In 1997 one of his clients suggested he played a game for Melbourne University Rugby Gents & after 21 seasons he still can’t get enough of the game. During the mid 2000’s Uni struggled for numbers & they turned up every week with 7 – 10 players & Nigel takes pleasure to note that due to the spirit & good vibes in the Vic Masters community, they never had to forfeit a game.
During the years he played for every team going around & sometime around 2005 - 07 he was awarded a Melbourne “Gerries” keyring at the team dinner for playing every game with their team during the season (As well as Uni of course).
His masters team career highlight was playing Powerhouse on Grand Final Day in 2016, “it was a bloody ripper game” he remembers.
He’s also very proud to have played in the inaugural Old Blacks team & pays credit to the spirit & mate ship the concept has brought to the Vic Masters.
There is no better feeling than turning up on a winters Saturday & seeing the smiles on everyones faces & the banter before & after they play, “its man therapy”
With no playing exit strategy, he has to keep playing longer than the other “Lippy Halfback” Brian Harris & he also aims to beat the legendary Dennis Collard’s longevity in the game…