When South Sydney run out onto ANZ Stadium on Sunday night, James Curran will stop, smile and think of his granddad.
Frank Curran played 71 games for the Rabbitohs between 1931 and 1937, won premierships in his first two seasons and represented Australia 10 times on two Kangaroo tours of Great Britain and two of France.
Maitland Blacks prop James said South Sydney was in his blood. thanks to his grandfather.
“I was only two when he died, but Souths are a big part of our family,” he said. “I’ll definitely be watching on Sunday.”
James, a prop with the Maitland Blacks and former St Joseph’s College first XV, Australian under19s, Sydney University and NSW Waratahs Academy player, is also the son of former Wallaby Declan Curran.
James said his granddad rarely spoke about his career until his later years but one story from his playing days stood out.
“Back then there were no semis, the top placed team offered the grand final to whoever they thought were the second best team,” he said.
“One year it was Souths against the Roosters, Souths had two internationals and the Roosters had about five or six.
“Souths won in a boil-over and Frank was a police officer and had to go straight to work after the game in Redfern.
“He was on a tram on Allison Road and was alerted to a public disturbance at the back, he went down there, took one look at them and just got off the tram.
“They were Souths supporters celebrating the win, a game he played in, he couldn’t bring himself to kick them off.”
Another story came from when Frank received an unexpected bonus.
“He used to get £2 for being a policeman and £1 for playing, back then the gate takings were divided between the players,” James said.
“One year he got a £100 bonus, which was totally unexpected.
“A house at Redfern at that time cost £10.”
James said he will be cheering the Rabbitohs on come Sunday night.
“Dad said he wishes we were playing the Swans [losing AFL grand finalists], not Canterbury,” he said.
“It’ll be a good game, Canterbury are the only team playing consistently over two halves in the semis.
“It’s got to be Souths though, I think. Souths 13 plus.”