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



NETFLIX FIRST: Townsend boy's leading role

SHOOTING STAR: Former Townsend resident Leigh McGrath, right, on the set of the soon to be released movie Australia Day.

Leigh McGrath is helping shake up entertainment industry.

Support for Kara's treadmill marathon explodes

Former Grafton and now NSW cricketer Kara Sutherland bowling to cricket legend Sir Viv Richards. Photo: MARK NEWSHAM

Support for treadmill marathon thrills organiser Kara Sutherland.

BACKWARD GLANCES: Cemetery mutilation rumour investigated

Front page from The Daily Examiner, May 26, 1967.

See what was making headlines 50 years ago

Local Partners

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

JUST WHEN you thought you’d all of Bella Hadid’s supermodel figure — she gets her Cannes out on the red carpet of an AIDS gala dinner in France.

Working dogs put on a show at Ulmarra

The skills of man's best friend will be put to the test with the Ulmarra Dog Trials on June 24-25.

Man's best friend will be put the test at the Ulmarra Dog Trials.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

NETFLIX FIRST: Townsend boy's leading role

SHOOTING STAR: Former Townsend resident Leigh McGrath, right, on the set of the soon to be released movie Australia Day.

Leigh McGrath is helping shake up entertainment industry.

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!