Sport

At home in Copmanhurst

Grafton Redmen’s electrifying fullback Ben Stone loves the wide open spaces on and off the field.
Grafton Redmen’s electrifying fullback Ben Stone loves the wide open spaces on and off the field. Gary Nichols

AS Ben Stone looks out over the Clarence River he can see a splendid vision.

A self-confessed "bushy" at heart, the Grafton Redmen fullback has found his calling.

After moving to Grafton nine months ago, the 28-year-old law enforcement officer has made the charming village of Copmanhurst his home. And he couldn't be happier.

"I grew up as a young fellow on a farm with my grandparents out at Peak Hill, which is located between Parks and Dubbo, out in the red-soil dust," Stone said.

"I spent a bit of time in Sydney with work and I hated it. I love the space.

"We came out and looked at the place (Copmanhurst) before I took the job and I love it. Grafton is only 30 minutes away and it has a rural feel about it, which suits me right down to the ground."

A former league player, it was a chance meeting with Redmen under-19 coach Steve Hackett that swayed Stone to the 15-a-side game.

"I played league for the Macquarie Raiders in Dubbo and played half-a-season last year with the Dubbo Rhinos rugby side.

"And obviously with the transfer with work I ended up here. It all came about while I was pushing the lawn mower and Steve saw me while he was having a beer in the pub.

"So I walked down to the pub after I finished mowing and he asked if I played rugby. I told him I played half-a-season last year so he convinced me to come over to the Redmen and that was pretty much how it came about."

A noted speedster on the footy field and a crowd favourite, Stone can turn a game in the blink of an eye.

But it wasn't until he was in his late teens that he decided to try his hand at rugby league.

"Growing up I was a representative hockey player for New South Wales All Schools and I was actually captain of the NSW CHS side," Stone said.

"I've always had a bit of pace but I stopped enjoying hockey in 2001, so I thought I'd have a go at league.

"My grandma always said: 'If you don't enjoy what you're doing, find something else to do'."

Stone has made an art form of the chip-and-chase this season, backing his electrifying pace against opposition defenders.

However, the Redmen number 15 says his teammates cringe every time he gets "that look" in his eye and sets himself to put one over the top, sometimes from well within his own half.

"Obviously not being union minded yet, a few blokes have said to me it's a pretty risky thing to do," Stone said.

"I think I just see an opportunity and go for it, back my pace."

Stone admits the Redmen have struggled in recent weeks and things don't get any easier on Saturday when they come up against an in-form Lismore team.

"I think having the home crowd will help.

"Each week there has been positives coming out of the game," he said.

"Our biggest drama at the moment, from where I'm standing, is getting the same combinations in the backline each week."

Topics:  grafton redmen



Work starts on highway overpass

The Pacific Highway upgrade continues

Motorists to be diverted to service Road

Summit the first step for bush footy

One of the round table discussions held by one of the groups led by scribe Col Hennessy during the NSW Grassroots Rugby League Summit staged at the Yamba Sports Complex on Saturday, 18th February, 2017.

Orange Sky Laundry inspiring at grassroots footy summit.

Rebels 'dumbfounded' over Coffs Coast 9s final snub

South Grafton Rebels first grade side at the Coffs Coast 9s.

Coach Ron Gordon admitted club felt like it had been "robbed”.

Local Partners

Hi-tech welcome for bishop

Bishops ordination to be a colourful and reverent event, and if you can't get to the church, youc an watch it on the web


Share a cuppa coffee with a cop

Coffee and conversation go hand in hand in the Clarence whether you like it or not.

Chance to come along and meet your local police officers

Deputy premier on his way to the Clarence Valley

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro during question time at NSW Parliament in Sydney, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.  Berejiklian was elected Premier by her party room after Mike Baird announced his shock resignation.(AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING

John Barilaro's first visit at NSW deputy

OUR SAY: Perfect opportunity for people with passion

The Mouldy Lovers get the crowd dancing at the Surfing the Coldstream Festival.  Photo Clair Morton / Daily Examiner

Events large or small require helping hands of volunteers

Nadia visits Coast to escape Married At First Sight drama

MARRIED At First Sight contestant Nadia Stamp escaped to the Coast for a girl's weekend to take stock ahead of week of drama.

‘I didn’t stuff it up like you have’: Plibersek on Q&A

“I didn’t stuff it up the way you have stuffed it up, George”: Tanya Plibersek.

Plibersek lashed out at Brandis to plenty of applause

MKR cheating scandal: Alyse and Matt hit back

Matt Jenner shows his MKR rivals the curry paste he and Alyse used.

Alyse and Matt Jenner have hit back at claims they cheated on MKR

MKR rocked by satay sauce cheating scandal

Alyse and Matt slammed for satay sauce fiasco.

'Nasty' Married At First Sight groom ripped apart on TV

Anthony gets torn down during the Married At First Sight commitment ceremony.

MAFS groom Anthony faces the music after fiery dinner party.

MOVIE REVIEW: Matt Damon's The Great Wall gets lost

Matt Damon fails in a scene from the movie The Great Wall.

Did The Great Wall get lost in translation?

Paul Murray listens to regions

Paul Murray is taking his Sky News show on the road to shine a spotlight on regional Australia.

Radio broadcaster wants viewers to 'turn up and fire up'

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Living with river view

LABOUR OF LOVE: Peter and Narelle Cauldwell are selling Bemuda Estate in Great Marlow (pictured below).

A rare opportunity to own a luxury estate

Clarence River island paradise selling for $5M

Former Ballina councillor Margaret Howes is selling her island getaway.

GALLERY: Tropical getaway with beaches and airstrip put on market.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!