I KNOW it seems implausible but I actuallyfeel sorry for Craig Field.
Like a bad boxing movie, Field was a kidfrom Redfern who grew up with nothing,amassed a small fortune and then managedto blow the lot.
At one stage he was earning $400,000 ayear and had acquired a $2 million propertyportfolio.
Today the former NRL star is sitting in aprison cell after killing a man in a pub fighton the NSW north coast.
After his Sydney career ended in a drugscontroversy, he moved to Wagga where heproved to be a popular figure.
He coached Brothers to two grandfinals during a four-year stint andeven played grade cricket in the local competition.
When he dealt with this newspaper he wasalways open and honest.
He didn’t try and shy away from his troubles,in fact quite the opposite. He was morethan open about them.
Unfortunately, Field has always beena drinker and punter and over the yearsthat’s what has ultimately brought himundone.
He’s always tried to overcome hisdemons, but for him, it never quite workedout.
It’s a shame, too, because he is also thefather of five.
Even when he was in Wagga his name wastainted after it was alleged he recruited ateenager to rob him while he was working atthe Sportsmen’s Club Hotel.
Police believed the half-back set up thewhole scenario.
He was, however, eventually found notguilty of the charge, but the suspicion alwaysremained.
Again, while he was on bail for the murdercharge he still couldn’t stay out of the spotlight.
He lost his his licence for drink-drivingafter he was stopped by police early onemorning last May.
Typical of his “luck” the fallen stardidn’t even start the fight that lead to themurder charge.
In fact he was trying to act as thepeacemaker between his friendShaun Fathers and farmer Kelvin Kane.
As is want to happen the fight escalatedand Field delivered the fatal blow to Kane’stemple.
However, once again he placed himself in avulnerable position.
The court was told he and Fathers hadbeen drinking and punting at the pub for severalhours before the fracas.
With his history he really should haveknown better.
But then again that seems to be the sadstory of his life.
Field was a prodigious talent when he firstplayed with South Sydney at 17.
He would go on to play 183 first-gradegames with Souths, Manly and WestsTigers.
The highlight was playing in the 1997grand final – the low light, being sacked bythe Tigers for using cocaine.
Well, if nothing else, he’s now gotplenty of time to contemplate what mayhave been – and that indeed is a greatshame.
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