Stone eyes return for Redmen after making splash in Hong Kong
GRAFTON Redmen flyer Ben Stone has a new perspective of rugby union after representing Australia in Hong Kong.
The senior constable was included in the national Emergency Services squad after receiving a late call-up to the New South Wales Police team in March.
Stone grabbed two tries against an Australian Federal Police team at a cold Canberra Stadium that night, but nothing could have prepared him for the highs of his first international tour.
"It was something I didn't think I would ever experience," Stone said.
"Everything was different at that level. Everything is much faster and the teams are clinical.
"Even at training they expected 100% every time. If you dropped the ball you'd cop it pretty bad."
The speedy outside back started on the bench in the first tour game against a Hong Kong outfit. It didn't however take him long to make his presence felt.
"I came on in the first game, went to fullback and ended up scoring two tries," Stone said.
The Australian Emergency Services team won their opening match but were not so lucky in their second outing.
A well-drilled British and Irish Police Lions stopped the Australians in their tracks to the tune of "about 40-19", but not before Stone pinched himself another souvenir.
"I scored a try in that game as well but they were clinical," Stone said.
"Apparently they'd had about 10 games together beforehand so were more than ready for us. We kept up with them for the first hour but the last 20 minutes was pretty ugly.
"I think they scored three or four tries in that time. It wasn't nice."
Stone is expected to return to the Redmen line-up for this weekend's match against Southern Cross Uni.
The return to country rugby can be a big step down from the class of national competition but Stone said he would try to take a lot of what he learned back with him.
"One of the main things I learned is the way the forwards and backs can work together even by staying out of each other's way," Stone said.
"With the national team, the forwards were doing their thing while the backs would be ready and waiting to go at the drop of the hat."