There's something about the number 50 for long-standing Canberra rugby league official Tom Ebsworth.
He was paid 50 cents a game to be a Queanbeyan Blues ball boy as a kid, and now he has been recognised as a Canberra Region Rugby League life member on the eve of his 50th season involved in the league.
Ebsworth has served on various boards and committees for the Queanbeyan Blues, CRRL, Bidgee Bulls, New South Wales Rugby League and Country Rugby League.
He won five senior premierships as a player with the Blues and captain-coached them to two more in 1986 and 1987.
But Ebsworth is still trying to get his head around the honour given his journey had such a modest beginning, waltzing across the road from home to Seiffert Oval to be a ball boy.
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"I used to cross the road and Wally Pearson used to give me 50 cents a game," Ebsworth said.
"I really don't believe that I've been accepted as a life member. I remember all the people before me and I am in a bit of shock, it's a great honour."
Ebsworth was nominated for life membership by Tony Rayner and was left stunned when the motion was seconded by John McIntyre.
It opened the door for Ebsworth to become the seventh CRRL life member, joining his wife Karen in the illustrious group.
"He's been part of rugby league in the Canberra region for a long time," Rayner said.
"He's been an active member of the committee, not only here but throughout Country Rugby League. Tom has been Canberra's link to Country Rugby League."
Meanwhile, two Canberra Raiders Cup blockbusters will act as curtain-raisers for NRL games in 2018.
The Queanbeyan Blues will begin their premiership defence against the Yass Magpies in round one at Canberra Stadium on April 5, before the Canberra Raiders face the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in round five of the NRL season.
The Goulburn Bulldogs will host the Gungahlin Bulls in round two at Canberra Stadium on April 14, before the Raiders face the Parramatta Eels.
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