Rare feat of state representation in both league and union
SOUTH Grafton's Caleb Barker has the potential to go all the way.
This statement has been made by teachers at South Grafton Primary School and echoed by his Grafton Ghosts coaches.
His football talent was detailed in The Daily Examiner earlier this year when he gained selection in the NSW rugby league team to play in the national titles at Perth.
Barker's latest achievement sets up an unforgettable year for the 12-year-old school captain, after being selected in the NSW rugby union team.
The extraordinary feat means Barker travels with his second code's state team in the space of a few months, and SGPS teacher Tony Skinner said he was unlucky not to make it a third.
"He made the North Coast team for rugby league, union and AFL," Skinner said.
"We set him the goal of making the state squad for all codes, but two out of three isn't too bad.
"He's a good sportsman but a great kid as well."
Barker's talents on the field are of no surprise to many people who have seen him play, but it's his modesty off the field that makes him a true champion.
He is involved with as many programs at school as he can possibly muster, and has represented the school in seven different sports this year.
His dad, Jason, said it had been a pretty decent year for Caleb, who will travel with the state team to the ACT on the October long weekend.
"He'll have to decide whether to represent his state or watch the NRL grand final," Jason joked.
"Caleb's tickled pink with having the opportunities he's had this year."
You would have to think Caleb will have the time of his life in October, especially if Jason's account of the trip to Perth is anything to go by.
But it's the community's generosity that blew the Barker family off their feet, with both the Grafton District Services Club and Souths Ex-Services Club offering financial assistance.
"We kept it to ourselves so we were very surprised when we found out," Jason said.
"They've been extraordinarily generous, especially when you know most businesses are doing it tough these days.
"We're extremely appreciative of their help and are touched by their generosity."