By STEVE SPINKS
IN 1951 John Creagh represented Far North Coast against the touring French rugby league team at Oakes Oval, Lismore.
On Friday night, his grandson Ben Creagh will make his senior representative debut on the same ground when he runs out for Country from the interchange bench in their traditional clash with City.
It's a remarkable coincidence, and one that is not lost on Creagh's grandmother, Mrs Judy Creagh, who lives at Lismore Heights.
"It's been an exciting little period watching him on television and then seeing him get picked," Mrs Creagh said.
"It was a nice little surprise."
Mrs Creagh, nee Somerville, was born and raised in Lismore.
Her late husband, John, was from Grafton but he played plenty of rugby league for the old South Lismore club.
Their first son Nick, Ben's father, was born in Lismore before the family moved to Sydney.
But the Lismore links don't end there.
Ben Creagh's uncles Andrew, of Lennox Head, and Simon, of Lismore, both live locally.
"I was up there only a few months ago over Christmas," Creagh said from Sydney yesterday. "I usually try to get up there every year."
Despite being born in Sydney, the 20-year-old still sees himself as a country boy through and through.
"Definitely," he said.
"I was born in Sydney but I moved to Wollongong when I was nine and I played all my footy down there.
The St George Illawarra back-rower was a little surprised that he was selected in the Country team.
"I missed the first few games because I had a torn quad," Creagh said.
"So it was a bit of a surprise.
"But it's pretty exciting."
When Mrs Creagh was first contacted by The Northern Star she wasn't sure if she was going to attend the game on Friday night.
But when told that Ben was very keen for her to go, she relented.
"I'll have to see if I can get tickets first," Mrs Creagh said.
"But I guess I'd better go."
Ben's father Nick is making the trek from Wollongong to watch the match and he is ecstatic that his son's debut coincides with the place of his (Nick's) birth.
"It's fantastic," Mr Creagh said.
"Even though I haven't lived there for a long time, the place has played a big part in my life for 40-odd years."
The Creaghs' link with Lismore has always been strong.
Come Friday night it may even be stronger.