Preston Campbell

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Preston Campbell
Campbell playing in 2008
Personal information
Full nameThomas Leon Preston Campbell
Born (1977-06-07) 7 June 1977 (age 46)
Inverell, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Height167 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight73 kg (11 st 7 lb)
PositionFive-eighth, Fullback, Halfback, Wing
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1998 Gold Coast Chargers 14 4 0 0 16
1999–02 Cronulla Sharks 54 24 24 0 144
2003–06 Penrith Panthers 96 43 220 1 613
2007–11 Gold Coast Titans 103 15 35 0 130
Total 267 86 279 1 903
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2005–07 NSW Country 3 0 0 0 0
2008 Dreamtime Team 1 0 0 0 0
2010 Indigenous All Stars 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [1][2][3]

Thomas Leon Preston Campbell OAM[5][6][7] (born 7 June 1977) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played as a five-eighth or fullback in the National Rugby League (NRL) for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, the Penrith Panthers (with whom he won the 2003 NRL premiership) and the Gold Coast Titans. He was also a New South Wales Country, Dreamtime Team and Indigenous All Stars representative.

Playing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Campbell was born in Inverell, New South Wales, and started his rugby league career with the Inverell Hawks junior club. He made his NRL debut with the Gold Coast Chargers in 1998 as a fullback. The Chargers were disbanded at the end of the season.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks[edit]

Preston moved on to play for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in 1999. He spent the first two seasons biding his time in reserve grade and occasionally filling in for injuries in first grade. It was in 2001 that he showed what he was capable of with his feats as a replacement fullback for the injured David Peachey. His electrifying speed and side-step combined with his diminutive stature and humility quickly endeared him to Cronulla fans.

It was expected by some that he would eventually return to the lower grades until he was needed again but coach John Lang had other ideas. Clearly Campbell was too talented to be wasted playing in reserve grade. With the return of David Peachey, he was no longer needed at fullback and Cronulla was struggling without a recognised halfback. Finding the solution to two problems Lang pencilled in Campbell for the halfback role. Combining with David Peachey and pivot Adam Dykes, the trio formed a devastating combination on the field as Cronulla pushed forward and made a serious bid for its 2001 finals campaign including one memorable game when Premiership favourites the Newcastle Knights were soundly beaten by the Sharks.[8]

At the end of 2001, Preston Campbell was awarded the Dally M Player of the Year, beating Andrew Johns, the Newcastle Knights captain, by one point and became Cronulla's third Dally M medallist.

In 2002, with the arrival of new coach Chris Anderson and former Test halfback Brett Kimmorley at the club, he was overlooked for his preferred halfback role in place of Kimmorley. He was instead moved to the unfamiliar position of hooker. After several disastrous games and seemingly very little interest in playing, he was dropped to reserve grade and, stating his desire to return to the position he had made his own, requested a release from Cronulla which was eventually granted in early August 2002.[9]

Penrith Panthers[edit]

On 7 August 2002, it was announced that Campbell had agreed to terms with the Penrith Panthers (then under the guidance of his former mentor, John Lang) for a three-year term. Although Campbell had been given no guarantees on which position he would play, he said that he was looking forward to playing under John Lang once more.[10]

In his first season with the Penrith Panthers in 2003, and back in his more familiar role at halfback/five-eighth, he proved to be a great asset to the team, playing every minute of every match for the entire season.

Campbell played at five-eighth in the 2003 NRL grand final-winning Panthers team, kicking two goals. As 2003 NRL premiers, the Panthers travelled to England to face Super League VIII champions, the Bradford Bulls in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Campbell played at five-eighth, missing his sole goal kick in the Panthers' 22–4 loss.

Gold Coast Titans[edit]

In 2005, with two seasons still to play with the Panthers, Campbell was the inaugural signing for the newly admitted NRL club, Gold Coast Titans. Campbell signed a three-year contract which commenced in 2007.[11] Due to injury to other players such as Chris Walker, Campbell spent much of the 2007 season at fullback.

Training with the Aboriginal Dreamtime Team, 2008

Campbell had been playing well during the 2007 season and started the 2008 season in good form. He extended his contract with the Titans. He was named the 2008 Gold Coast Titans player of the year for his consistent and inspiring performances throughout the year. In 2009 he played halfback, five-eighth and fullback due to the injuries to players such as Scott Prince and Mat Rogers.

Campbell retired at the end of the 2011 season, and was honoured as the first life member of the Titans in 2019.[12]


In November 2008, Campbell was awarded the Ken Stephen Medal by the NRL at the One Community Awards for his tireless work with Indigenous communities. The award is given for outstanding service to the game, on and off the field.[13]

In 2023, Campbell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to rugby league.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Campbell is a cousin of Nathan Blacklock and Greg Inglis. His son, Jayden, plays as a fullback for the Gold Coast Titans.[14]


  1. ^ NRL Stats[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ RLP
  3. ^ Yesterday's Hero Archived 26 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Badel, Peter (12 September 2010). "Preston Campbell vows to make an early call on finals return for Titans". Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Mr Thomas Leon Preston Campbell". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 24 May 2023 – via Australian Government.
  6. ^ a b "Mr Thomas Preston Campbell". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 24 May 2023 – via Australian Government.
  7. ^ Walter, Brad (26 January 2023). "'Unifying voice': Campbell honoured with OAM". NRL. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  8. ^ "A history of heartbreak: Cronulla Sharks' tale of woe in NRL finals". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. ^ "Campbell may be released too late to find a new home". AAP Sports News (Australia). 8 July 2002. Archived from the original (fee required) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  10. ^ "Campbell off to the Panthers". AAP Sports News (Australia). 7 August 2002. Archived from the original (fee required) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  11. ^ "Coast hunts Bailey after nabbing Campbell". AAP Sports News (Australia). 22 June 2005. Archived from the original (fee required) on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  12. ^ "Preston Campbell Honoured As First Titans Life Member". Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Campbell takes out Ken Stephen Medal". ABC News. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Young Campbell eyes off Cup debut". QRL. 1 February 2021.

External links[edit]