THE last time I saw Phillip Hughes wasn't on a cricket field. It was showing his cattle at the Grafton Show last May.
Hughes and his father Greg were there parading their Angus cattle, and it was something the cricket star was always keen to do whenever his sporting schedule allowed.
If you didn't know who the stocky young man was leading the livestock you'd never have guessed he was an elite performer in his day job.
The only giveaway was the muscular forearms, built up from hours wielding a cricket bat in his Macksville backyard and on cricket fields around the world.
At Grafton Showground, however, he was just another cattle breeder chasing show ribbons, rather than a dashing batsman chasing runs.
The connection with his rural North Coast roots seems to sum up Hughes, according to the many reports and kind words spoken and written in the past few days.
Good bloke, fairly quiet, always polite - a country boy with a batting technique all his own.