MAINTAINING their unique link to the rich history of the British and Irish Lions has become a point of the Maitland Rugby Union Club.
Maitland Blacks club members spent yesterday afternoon working at the grave of Robert Seddon, the captain of what has since been recognised as the first Lions team.
The Newcastle Herald has reported Seddon, considered one of the best players of the era, drowned during the tour while boating on the Hunter River and was buried in a Telarah cemetery.
The team, which had lost to a Coalfields outfit shortly before his death, was due to head to Newcastle for another game later that day.
Maitland Rugby Club vice-president Ben Emmett said members stopped by the site a few times a year to ensure it was up to scratch.
The modern team is expected to visit the site next week when they arrive in the Hunter to take on a Combined NSW and Queensland Country side at Hunter Stadium on Tuesday.
But while they were ensuring it looked its best for the modern side's arrival next week, Mr Emmett said the maintenance was a broader mark of respect.
"This is a guy who has passed away in tragic circumstances thousands of miles from home while he was on tour," he said.
"If the circumstances were reversed I'm sure there may well be someone in Britain who would take care of the Australian player's grave."
"It probably is quite an indication of the sport that you have at one end the British and Irish Lions and at the other end a country rugby club and they have this strange link."
The Blacks may also add to their connection to the Lions on the field.
Maitland, which was formed in 1877 and is the second oldest rugby club in Australia, has produced the only current Super 15-contracted players from the Hunter - Nic White (ACT Brumbies), Luke Burgess (Melbourne Rebels), Patrick Dellit (Western Force) and Jeremy Tilse (NSW Waratahs).
Burgess and White, who face off this weekend in Super 15, are in the selection mix for the Wallabies back-up halfback position for the coming Test series against the Lions.