Posted by John Gates on

I thought it would be interesting to find out how we all came to be following our favourite team, and get some feedback on who, when and where.


We follow the Wallabies, as we are very patriotic Aussies, so nothing surprising there.. there is something about the green and gold that gets us going.

My regional team is the Brumbies, because I moved to Canberra in 1996, the year that they started and they were a "spare parts" team of people who couldn't get a gig for the two main provinces NSW (the Waratahs) and Queensland (the Reds). They were coached by a genius by the name of Rod MacQueen and captained by Dr Brett Robinson. In the first few years  they unearthed talent such as Joe Roff, Steven Larkham and George Gregan, all local boys and later Matt Giteau and have continued to do the same thing since, unearthing talent that the big boys couldn't. They brought in some great contributors such as Murray Harley, Ben Darwin, Troy Jaques, Graeme Bond and Craig Wells, the last four from my club, Norths and Murray from Army (and still a stalwart and great link to all old Rugby mates). Pardon me if I forget anyone, no offence intended.

Canberra is a short drive down the highway from Sydney, yet the NSW Rugby Union  had always looked down their noses at little brother. Well, little brother showed everybody which way was up when, in only their second year, 1997 they played the powerhouse Auckland in the Final in Auckland.

As for clubs, three -

1. Northern Suburbs, of Sydney (the "shoremen") which got its name from the fact that in the early days of Sydney (from 1896 when the club was born until 1932) there was no Sydney Harbour Bridge, so to travel by road from one side of the harbour for a game to the other would have been a trip of over 50 miles, using horses, so the lads (many of whom were stevedores or shipwrights, working the many long gone boatyards which dotted Sydney Harbour) used to row across the harbour in longboats! They used to also call themselves the "Pirates" but the usurpers of Wests Rugby Club registered the name in the 1990's and pinched it!

The last first grade premiership win was in 2017, but before that, 1975, so it was a long  drought. Happy to say that yours truly, as coach of the mighty 5th grade, won one in 1998. A wonderful club that I will write more about in good time

2. "Jeeps" of Brisbane (to be precise GPS Rugby Club), based at Yoku Road, Ashgrove. When we moved to Brisbane, because it was just near my boy's school, and many of the kids who play there go the school (Marist Ashgrove) we joined Jeeps. It's a  very laid back place to watch Rugby from on a Saturday afternoon - they have two beer tents set up on the far side of the ground - "the gallopers" for the young blokes and the "glue factory" for us oldies. A great atmosphere.

3. Marist Rugby Club, Canberra - not, officially a Rugby Club, but a supporters club run by the parents, who raise all the funds for the 430-odd boys who run out every Saturday for 16 weeks. A brilliant group of people, and I had 3 boys who played there - not a bad Rugby School, with 6 Wallabies, a Gold medal winning Rugby 7's player and a bunch of guys who went on to represent Super Rugby sides. I was their first webmaster - built the website - - and it has gone from strength to strength - very proud of them. I was a founding member of the famous Iron Chefs - the dads who ran the  barbecue from 7.30 am to 2.30 pm on home game days - best bunch of blokes and we are still all great mates, years later. The annual golf trip is the stuff of legends. First game of the weekend is at Gundagai, followed by an afternoon at the Snake Gully Races... a bloody good day out! Our first bonding trip was at Lake Jindabyne, home of the famous Jindabyne Bushpigs RC. Most scenic Rugby ground I've ever seen! Fishing for trout at 4 am on a summer morning. No bastard told us the trout were bound to be somewhere else. Not bad though, after getting to bed at 1 am Rest of the weekend was a blur, but the chef (yours truly) held up his end, and the Spanish Omelette gets better every year!

So, there you have it - what's your story?


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