Ryan Hoffman describes in his own words what Craig Bellamy has meant to him and the gesture he has never forgotten...
Craig works out a player’s potential very quickly. He knows whether they’re a future Immortal or a part of a Grand Final-winning pack and he balances responsibilities accordingly.
In my case, he made me a much more mature player. Playing first grade is about maturity and how you handle situations and I didn’t handle it well enough at the start. But I learned to under Craig.
He has known me since I was born. He and my Dad were playing together for Canberra in the 1980s. If I’ve got a problem or I need advice, I can discuss it with Craig, the same as I can with Cameron, Bill and Cooper. They’re great teammates, but even better friends.
When I left to join the Warriors at the end of the 2014 season, they said they didn’t want to see me go. But they knew I had to look after my family and respected my decision.
Just before my wife, Mel, and I left for New Zealand, Cameron and Barb invited us out to dinner. He said, ‘You guys come around and pick us up and we’ll take you to this new place.’
We went around and knocked on the door. A voice inside said, ‘Come in, we’re almost ready.’
We walked in and they had organised a huge farewell at their home for us.
The whole team was there – players, coaches and officials – and that showed us how much not only Barb and Cameron appreciated us, but the whole club did. It was fantastic.