Central second-rower Ethan Campbell knows all about travelling distances for rugby league.
Born and bred in Inverell, his junior career for the Hawks was spent trekking between towns at least 90 minutes away such as Moree, Armidale and Uralla.
"We did a bit of travelling," the 19-year-old apprentice plumber said.
"We saw a lot of the countryside."
Having relocated from the state's northern tablelands to the Newcastle region at the end of 2018, Campbell now finds himself in a familiar situation.
He started out living with some cousins in New Lambton, ventured to Fern Bay with an aunty and has recently moved to Shoal Bay with girlfirend Kahlee.
It means an almost two-and-a-half hour round trip from Port Stephens to play and train with the Charlestown-based club at St John Oval.
"I love it. This is God's Country. It's a bit of a wake up call from little old Inverell," Campbell said.
And while he intends to try his hand at surfing this summer, Campbell said he feels more comfortable behind a boat having spent hours skiing and wakeboarding at Copeton Dam nearby where he grew up.
His other passion from childhood was, and remains, playing footy. Campbell was raised on 62 acres just outside of town and had relatives within close range.
"I first started playing rugby league in under 8s. All my cousins played so I decided to play as well. I've loved it ever since," he said.
'We had heaps [of backyard battles] and it did get competitive. I didn't really ever have a favourite team or a player I looked up to, I just loved playing."
Campbell was picked up by the Knights when representing Greater Western at the NSW Combined High Schools Campionships at Toronto. He played SG Ball last year and was set to progress to under 20s this year before the global coronavirus pandemic struck.
"It was pretty disappointing because we did the whole pre-season for nothing," he said.
"It would be good to go back but it's the last year of my contract so it depends on how I go with Central."
Campbell linked with Central for the second half of last season, helping them win seven straight and jump from last on the ladder to one game shy of a Newcastle RL grand final appearance.
He's back with the Butcher Boys again and he hopes they can snap a four-game losing streak when they host Western Suburbs on Sunday.
Central coach Phil Williams describes Campbell as "full of energy" and someone who "plays at 100 miles an hour".
"He is always looking for ways to improve and asking questions," Williams said.
Meanwhile, a total of $2000 was raised for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Australia following Sunday's Creer Cup clash between Central and Lakes.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- NRL: Former Knights star Jarrod Mullen in bold bid for comeback after drugs ban
- A-League: Topor-Stanley's 30-metre screamer awarded goal of the year
- NNSW WPL: Eagles part ways with head coach ahead of Olympic clash
- Rugby Union: Knee injury spells end of campaign for Wildfires fly-half
- Racing: James McDonald doubles down for blueblood wins at Newcastle