New England Rugby Round 6: Tamworth to tackle Barbarians

If he had a dollar for every kilometre he’s traveled to and from training and games, Tamworth’s Rob Creighton reckons he would be a rich man.

Journeyman: Rob Creighton's experience and hardness has been invaluable for a building Tamworth side, the stalwart joining the Magpies this season after 18 seasons with Bourke. Photo: Jamieson Murphy

Journeyman: Rob Creighton's experience and hardness has been invaluable for a building Tamworth side, the stalwart joining the Magpies this season after 18 seasons with Bourke. Photo: Jamieson Murphy

Not that he is complaining. He’s loved every minute of a rugby journey that first started the last time that Australia won the Rugby World Cup.

Eighteen seasons of senior rugby later Creighton is still going strong, although he may have slowed down a bit from his early days as a young fleet-footed winger.

Creighton has played all of those for the Bourke Rams, the desire to provide better education opportunities for his three kids bringing Creighton and his family to Tamworth, and subsequently the Magpies, where he quickly earned a reputation as a ‘hard man’.

The kind of player that inspires team-mates to follow him, Creighton also coached and served as president at one time or another during his 18 season association with the Rams.

And played pretty well every position.

From the wing he slowly worked his way into the forwards, where he joked he found he was best suited.

“I played a few years in Bourke as hooker, and on and off at prop as needed.

“[But] I prefer six or eight. I’ve played in a lot of premierships at eight,” he said.

He’s happy though to play wherever the Magpies need him, which has so far been the second row.

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As memory serves, Creighton won seven first grade premierships with the Rams, including back to back titles in 2001 and 2002.

“2005 is probably my most memorable.

“We beat Coonamble at Coonamble when they were unbeaten,” he recalled.

He also played for the Country Cockatoos in 2006.

“We did a Fiji tour, which was really awesome,” he said.

Creighton also logged many years as a Western Plains representative, playing right up to last year.

His move to Tamworth meant he wasn’t able to play for them at the recent Country Championships but he went out to Warren to run the water for them.

“It’s going to be tough watching and not playing,” he admitted after Tamworth’s third round loss to Robb College, giving the impression that he isn’t one for sitting on the sidelines.

That probably goes some way to explaining why he hasn’t hung up the boots yet.

“I’m getting towards 40 now, so getting towards the end of my playing days.

“But I still love rugby,” he said.

“I love the camaraderie.”

Creighton has for more than half his career played with Type 1 diabetes after being diagnosed in 2006. Not that he views it as a hindrance, as his longevity is testament to.

Jacob Williams provides plenty of excitement for Tamworth outwide. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Jacob Williams provides plenty of excitement for Tamworth outwide. Photo: Gareth Gardner

On pump therapy, which he disconnects when he plays, he just has to regularly monitor his levels and what he eats before a game.

Saturday’s clash with Barbarians will be an interesting one for him with younger brother Callan starting at half-back for the visitors.

Rob is something of the odd-one out in the family with another brother Lachlan playing half-back for the Uni-Norths Owls in the Canberra premier grade rugby competition.

The Magpies are yet to post a win but Creighton believes they will get there.

“You can see the effort is there just the points aren’t coming,” he said.

“The more game time together the better it’s going to get.”