THE opportunity to play with his cousins is the reason code-hopping Ricky Campbell will switch back to rugby union and the Manning River Ratz this season.
This will be Campbell's second stint in the 15-a-side game, having made a successful transition back in 2015. Campbell is better known as a regular goal scorer for Taree Wildcats in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League.
However, he sees season 2019 as a family affair, so he'll swap headquarters from Taree Soccer Club's Omaru Park to Taree Rugby Park at Urura Lane.
"My cousins, Reece Holden and Toby De Stefano will be playing with the Ratz this year, along with Mitch Carter, who is engaged to my cousin Keely (Holden),'' Campbell explained.
"So I thought it would be good to have a run with them, it's a bit of a unique chance.''
Keely also plays in the Ratz women's 10s side.
Campbell said De Stefano will again mix commitments with the Taree City Bulls Rugby League Club and the Ratz. He is in the Bulls side for tomorrow's Group Three Rugby League match against the Old Bar Pirates at the Jack Neal Oval, so won't be playing rugby.
De Stefano played a handful of games with the Ratz last year when league commitments allowed.
"When the Bulls play on Sunday he'll play rugby with us on the Saturday,'' Campbell said.
"So that'll be about 50 percent of the time.''
Campbell isn't sure what position coach Danial Stone has in mind for him. In 2015 he started on the wing but shifted into fly half as he became more accustomed to the game.
"It looks as though we'll have a few new players this year, so I don't know where I'll be playing, although it will be somewhere in the backline,'' he said.
Campbell is again looking forward to the challenge and said he will be better prepared this time around as he'll know what to expect. Before 2015 he'd only played a few games of rugby at school.
He is confident the Ratz will make a strong push for the premiership this season. Last year the Ratz finished in third spot.
The Ratz will meet Old Bar in the opening game of the season on Saturday at Taree Rugby Park. This will mean a quick turnabout in sports for the versatile Campbell, who last weekend led United to the Mid North Coast Premier League cricket title in the grand final against Wauchope RSL at Chatham Park.
"One season finishes and another starts, I haven't had much of a break,'' Campbell smiled.