Still fiery: Former Rebels player Paul Danvers in his role as technical assistant with the Automotive and Welding Department at Grafton TAFE.
Still fiery: Former Rebels player Paul Danvers in his role as technical assistant with the Automotive and Welding Department at Grafton TAFE.

Paul remains a rebel at heart

CROSS-town rivalry remains alive in Grafton according to a man who spilt blood in some of the most fiery derby clashes.

South Grafton Rebel stalwart Paul Danvers spent more than a decade defending his Clarence Valley turf throughout the 1980s and early-90s.

And despite the Rebels winding up, hostility remains between the Ghosts and the new boys, the Rhinos.

“I think they will be fired up. I think it’s a little bit different now that it’s the Rhinos (and not the Rebels),” says Danvers.

“But I think there will still be a bit of tension.

“It’s something about that river and the people across both sides don’t always get along.

“It doesn’t equal a grand final, but it’s the next biggest match.”

A back injury curtailed Danvers’ time on the paddock in 1991.

But the lock forward has lasting memories of the brutal matches which divided a community twice a season.

“The Ghosts and the Rebels have always had a strong rivalry,” he says.

“I remember in 1983 we (the Rebels) won two games all season and they were both against the Ghosts.”

Now a technical assistant at Grafton TAFE, Danvers’ lasting reminder of the Ghosts-Rebels rivalry comes from a match he was not even involved in.

Danvers best recalls the violent 1970 grand final at the Grafton Showground when the overwhelming favourites, the Rebels, were rolled by a determined Ghosts’ outfit.

But a principle from that era remains etched in today’s heroes.

“What happened on the field stayed on the field,” Danvers says.

“After the game you walked off the field and had a beer.

“Because you were playing your mates, it made it all the more special.”

The Ghosts play the Rhinos at Frank McGuren Field on Sunday.



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