x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wicks keep the flame of Australia rugby burning

My team "Play for Randwick, play for Australia" is the adage associated with Randwick, an eastern Sydney rugby union club where players first pulled on the myrtle green jerseys in 1882.

Randwick have produced 93 Wallabies.
Randwick have produced 93 Wallabies.

"Play for Randwick, play for Australia" is the adage associated with Randwick, an eastern Sydney rugby union club where players first pulled on the myrtle green jerseys in 1882. Since then, Randwick have produced 93 Wallabies and won 31 premierships. Once in the 1990s, their front row of Phil Kearns, Tony Daly and Ewen McKenzie was also the front row of New South Wales Waratahs and the Wallabies.

Randwick fans are not always popular and carry an "arrogant" tag. But the Wicks' determination and expectation to succeed season after season has paid off. While rugby in Australia is considered a sport for posh private schoolboys, Randwick has a tradition of players from across the social spectrum. Mark, Gary and Glen Ella, the three aboriginal brothers who became national legends, first played for a government school not far from Randwick. Mark went on to become one of Australia's greatest players with a dynamic, attacking style of backline play that still sets the standard for backs today.

Randwick's beachside home ground of Coogee Oval has a reputation for lively crowds. Certain referees dread Coogee Oval for the constant barrage of spectator commentary. The ground announcer is required to have a sense of humour as well. When a funeral home sponsored the club, their services were promoted over the loudspeakers with the line: "When the final whistle blows...". The Wicks are fifth in the Sydney Premiership but it is a certainty the fans will not give up cheering till the end.