PART OF THE FAMILY: Lethal Curnow aims for maiden decider
RUGBY LEAGUE: Grafton Ghosts captain-coach Danny Wicks calls him the club's blessing in disguise, but for lethal centre Michael Curnow it is just a blessing getting to step on the field each week.
The kid from Corindi joined the Ghosts early in the season after former club Woolgoolga Seahorses folded, and he has not looked back since.
He has been a Mr Fix-It for the Group 2 minor premiers, filling in the centres for the injured Dylan Collett and also switching into the second row.
But regardless of where he has lined up on the field, success has followed, with the centre topping the Group 2 try-scoring ranks with 15, two tries ahead of Collett.
Curnow was quick to avoid the plaudits and heap praise on his inside men who helped him find the try line each game.
"I think it is the guys playing inside me to get me to that position,” Curnow said. "I don't have to go looking for the ball, it comes to me.
"I never intend to score, I just go out there to play my best game possible. Getting across the line is a bonus.”
Curnow is a strong believer in the strength of family bonds, with 'Family and Friends' inked on his arm in his mother's native Maori tongue.
But it is a family of a different kind he has found at the Ghosts, that he believes has gone a long way to the Ghosts' success this season.
"It has been great playing for (the Ghosts) this season. There is a great culture around the club, especially with all the old boys who hang around to watch every game,” he said.
"They make you feel a part of it all. Guys who I've never met before are coming up patting me on the back and congratulating me on my game. I have felt so welcomed.”
While he has enjoyed one of his best seasons, that does not mean the focus has left Curnow, with the centre knowing what needs to be done against Coffs Harbour Comets in the major semi-final tomorrow.
"The attitude is there to win these big games, it is just about going out there and doing the little things right on game day,” Curnow said.
If the Ghosts win they will ensure Frank McGuren Field plays host to the Group 2 grand finals for the second straight year. For Curnow, it would be his first decider.
GAME DAY: Group 2 major semi-finals at Frank McGuren Field. League tag kicks off the day at 10.30am. Grafton Ghosts v Coffs Harbour, kick off at 2.30pm
LAST TIME THEY MET: In the final round at Geoff King Motors Oval the Ghosts staged a somewhat miraculous comeback, scoring three tries in the final 10 minutes. English forward Adam Slater crashed across for the match-winner on the stroke of full time.
GHOSTS' SIDE: 1. Cooper Woods, 2. Joel Moss, 3. Dylan Collett, 4 Mike Curnow, 5 Jay Olsen, 6. Blake Winmill, 7. Jake Frame, 8. Riley Law, 9 Todd Cameron, 10. Brett Wicks, 11. Like Collison, 15. Danny Wicks (c/c), 12. Adam Slater, 13. Ben McLennan, 14. Tim Tilse, 16 Daniel Lavender, 17 Mason Graham/James Hughes; Manager: Joe Kinnane.