The friendly cougar
By Tony White
Casino Cougars utility back Cameron George has always maintained a fond relationship with Grafton as a football player, visitor and in a working capacity.
The 29-year-old was one the the Cougar's stars when Casino upset the Grafton Ghosts 44-20 in last Sunday's clash at Frank McGuren Park.
"I played for Casino in the early 1990s and we won that game too. Frank McGuren Park, that's my park," George suggested tongue-in-cheek.
While delighted the Cougars had notched the club's first win this season, George could feel for the Ghosts.
"Like us they are in a rebuilding stage," George said.
"There are a lot of young blokes in the team and they had a number of player's out.
"They are a pretty physical team, but at the end of the day our (Casino's) fitness proved a winner. I reckon we played smarter. It was a commited team effort by our boys.
"They (Grafton) were a bit ill-disciplined."
Discipline has been part and parcel of George's working life.
Raised in Casino, the son of current Casino MP Thomas George and mother Rhonda, Cameron attended Woodlawn Boarding School in Lismore.
He returned home as a 17-year-old and played one season in first grade with the Cougars before finishing his HSC and heading to Brisbane to become a cadet steward under Ray Murrihy, now chief steward of Racing NSW.
George spent three months in Townsville then Murrihy left to take up his Sydney posting and George followed.
After 12 months in Sydney George was appointed deputy chairman of stewards in Tamworth where he stayed for four years and played football with the local league team.
It was then onto Alice Springs for three months, also playing football with United, before heading back to Sydney under Murrihy.
In 2003, after marrying his wife Cindy in November the previous year, George elected on a career change after 10 years as a stipe.
After moving to Evans Head, he linked with cousin David Mason, the son of Gary and Esther Mason, who were proprietors of the Village Green Hotel in Grafton from 1992 to 2001.
During his childhood George had been a regular visitor to Grafton often staying with the Mason's.
The pair took over the First National Real Estate at Evans Head.
"I thought being a steward was the best job in the world, but it's paradise here, a great place to live and work," George said of his new abode. "We've had to work hard to make a go of things but I can't complain."
During his time as a steward George would always put in to cover the famous Grafton July Racing Carnival.
"It's a fabulous carnival and was always a great chance to catch up with a lot of racing people and friends from home and Grafton," he said.
"Apart from the racing the social side of things is great, having a few beers with mates and tossing around a yarn or two."