Strange homecoming for Clint
UNTIL the day he dies Clint Greenshields will always be a Sawtell Panther.
He grew up at Rex Hardaker Oval where his father Mark is a club legend and member of the club's first first grade premiership in 1978 as well as where he played his junior football.
But on Sunday Greenshields returned to his football home and got changed in the opposition dressing sheds rather than alongside the Panthers.
"Coming back to play Group 2 on its own would've been weird but playing against my home team was a bit strange as well," Greenshields said.
"I had mixed emotions before the game because I wanted to play with best mate Danny (Wicks) but I don't want to play against my home team but that's the way it goes, it's footy."
Playing for Grafton came about because of a promise he made to his good friend Danny Wicks who's in charge of the Ghosts this season.
Greenshields said it wasn't a matter of money that attracted him to the Clarence River, it was simply a matter of mates.
"If I knew a lot of the boys, I would've played for Sawty and I didn't," he said.
"Robbo (Troy Robinson) is at Bello, Anthony Donovan has gone up to Woopi, Box Head (Neal McCarthy) has retired, Damo (Damien Irvine) has retired, (Brendan) Hope doesn't play, (Jason) Usher's not here.
"That was my crew and they're not here any more."
After a fine career with Catalans Dragons in the English Super League as well as first grade stints with St George/Illawarra and North Queensland, Greenshields played his first game in more than three years on Sunday.
The time away has made him feel like a bit of a stranger. An old one at that.
"I think I know only one of the boys in that Sawtell team," the 35 year-old said.
"I know a lot of the sponsors and a lot of the boys' dads, I'm pretty old, but I don't know any of the players."
- The writer is a distant relative of Clint Greenshields.