RUGBY ANSWERED EMPIRE’S CALL IN WW1

RUGBY ANSWERED EMPIRE’S CALL IN WW1 Rugby was “the Empire game” and the Empire had called. On the centenary of Anzac landings Sean Fagan writes in The Sydney Morning Herald on how the… Continue reading

BOOK SALE! “THE FIRST LIONS OF RUGBY” – 1888 BRITISH LIONS TOUR OF AUSTRALIA & NZ. Special offer: $20 incl postage

THE FIRST LIONS OF RUGBY The first British Lions & their barnstorming rugby & Aussie rules playing tour of Australia & New Zealand in 1888. A ripping yarn of rugby! “The First Lions… Continue reading

WHEN RUGBY WAS 20 PLAYERS A-SIDE

WHEN RUGBY WAS 20 PLAYERS A-SIDE written by Sean Fagan The last of the great 20-a-side ‘shoving age’ Rugby matches in Australia was played on Sydney’s Moore Park  in 1874. Rugby today means… Continue reading

THEY WORE ALL BLACK BEFORE THE ALL BLACKS

THEY WORE ALL BLACK BEFORE THE ALL BLACKS written by Sean Fagan The 1888-89 “New Zealand Natives Football Team” took their final curtain bow on British soil on 27 March 1889. They were… Continue reading

OLDEST RUGBY RIVALS IN AUSTRALIA?

OLDEST RUGBY RIVALS IN AUSTRALIA? written by Sean Fagan Which two teams still meeting today have the longest standing rivalry?  The honour is generally acknowledged to remain with the ‘rivals of the Parramatta… Continue reading

WHEN THE KICKING TEE COULD SPEAK

WHEN THE KICKING TEE COULD SPEAK written by Sean Fagan It is only today in extremely windy weather conditions in Rugby that we see a team mate hold the ball in place for… Continue reading

SCHOOLBOY RUGGER MORE THAN A GAME

SCHOOLBOY RUGGER MORE THAN A GAME written by Sean Fagan The design pattern for schools around the world in the mid-late 1800s were the English Public Schools, particularly Rugby School. Under the ‘Muscular… Continue reading

BAD LUCK DOGGED FIRST WALLABIES

BAD LUCK DOGGED FIRST WALLABIES written by Sean Fagan “The original Wallabies that flashed off to England in 1908-9 were not the luckiest lot — but they were tip-top fighters, with great courage,”… Continue reading

RUGGER, SOCCER & FOOTER

RUGGER, SOCCER & FOOTER written by Sean Fagan ‘Rugger’ – along with the etymologically linked ‘soccer’ – came into popular use well over a century ago – from ‘footer’… Few would be unfamiliar… Continue reading

AMERICAN FOOTBALL’S ‘BIG GAME’ MEANT RUGBY

AMERICAN FOOTBALL’S ‘BIG GAME’ MEANT RUGBY written by Sean Fagan Here’s a trivia question that might score you a few ‘biscuits’ one day…”In the decade before WW1, apart from the UK’s biggest cities… Continue reading

RUGBY’S ORIGINAL RABBITOHS

RUGBY’S ORIGINAL RABBITOHS written by Sean Fagan The NRL’s South Sydney club rightly takes great pride in their heritage and traditions, the cardinal and myrtle colours, the “rabbitohs” nickname. What few know is… Continue reading

RUGBY WAS TABOOED AT RIVERVIEW

RUGBY WAS TABOOED AT RIVERVIEW written by Sean Fagan For a time ‘football’ at some of Sydney’s now most famous Rugby schools was Australian rules. At Saint Ignatius’ College its founder Father Joseph… Continue reading

AFL WAS THWARTED BY HARD LUCK & DASTARD DEEDS

AFL WAS THWARTED BY HARD LUCK & DASTARD DEEDS written by Sean Fagan Why did Aussie rules fail to conquer Sydney, Brisbane and New Zealand? Listen to AFL fans, and it was all… Continue reading

THE PROPOSITION. HOW 130 YEARS OF WARATAHS & REDS BEGAN

THE PROPOSITION. HOW 130 YEARS OF WARATAHS & REDS BEGAN written by Sean Fagan The Waratahs-Reds match of 2012 stands as a monument to 130 years of inter-state rugby rivalry – but if… Continue reading

RUGBY MEN FOR THE FRONT

RUGBY MEN FOR THE FRONT written by Sean Fagan From the distance of 100 years since the start of WW1 it is difficult for us today to fully appreciate why men, particularly Rugby… Continue reading

THE BEST OF ALL GAMES

THE BEST OF ALL GAMES written by Sean Fagan John Chris Watson, Australia’s first Labor Prime Minister, was a former Rugby player, and never hid his love of the code when in office.… Continue reading

MOB FOOTY DOWN UNDER

MOB FOOTY DOWN UNDER written by Sean Fagan Folk (or mob) football, following its various traditional forms from across Britain, was played in the Australian colonies from at least the 1830s up to… Continue reading

THE MAROON-HEARTED WARATAH

THE MAROON-HEARTED WARATAH written by Sean Fagan It’s no revelation to anyone that the NSW Waratahs and Queensland Reds in Super Rugby are essentially now clubs, no longer representative teams – players can… Continue reading

MIGHT OF WALLABIES & ALL BLACKS COMBINED

MIGHT OF WALLABIES & ALL BLACKS COMBINED written by Sean Fagan The Wallabies made their debut 18 months before the nation of Australia was born – yet the original ambition in 1899 was… Continue reading

ANZAC LETTERS FROM RUGBY SOLDIERS

ANZAC LETTERS FROM RUGBY SOLDIERS written by Sean Fagan “When the bugle-call to arms was sounded in 1914 he put aside the jersey for the khaki, the football for the rifle and the… Continue reading

WITH A FINE DISREGARD

WITH A FINE DISREGARD written by Sean Fagan Many texts and articles say that Rugby football was invented in 1823 at Rugby School with schoolboy William Webb Ellis picking up the ball in… Continue reading

NEW ZEALAND’S ‘ALL BLACKS’ JERSEY

NEW ZEALAND’S ‘ALL BLACKS’ JERSEY written by Sean Fagan One of the most iconic brands in world sport is the New Zealand Rugby team’s ‘All Blacks’ jersey. The black jersey with silver fern… Continue reading

RUGBY vs THE RED BARON

RUGBY vs THE RED BARON written by Sean Fagan The airplane pilots and men involved in ‘dog fight’ aerial combat during WW1 were (and often still are) portrayed as modern day knights, competing… Continue reading

‘THE BLOODS’ OF SOUTH MELBOURNE RUGBY

‘THE BLOODS’ OF SOUTH MELBOURNE RUGBY written by Sean Fagan The famous red-and-white strip of the AFL’s Sydney Swans has its origins in a club that once pursued a switch from Melbourne rules… Continue reading

JOLLY JUMBUCKS OF THE HOME NATIONS

JOLLY JUMBUCKS OF THE HOME NATIONS written by Sean Fagan Perhaps Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, never really did say, “Being born in a stable does not make one a horse”, but… Continue reading

A GENTLEMAN’S GAME PLAYED BY HOOLIGANS

A GENTLEMAN’S GAME PLAYED BY HOOLIGANS written by Sean Fagan No doubt, you’ve come across the witty quote – in various forms – about the football codes and whether a particular one is… Continue reading

AUSSIE BARBARIANS AT PLAY

AUSSIE BARBARIANS AT PLAY written by Sean Fagan England’s Barbarian FC is Rugby’s most famous ‘itinerant invitation’ team. The majority of the players to have become a ‘Barbarian’ were from the four traditional Home… Continue reading

AUSTRALIA’S FIRST RUGBY STAR

AUSTRALIA’S FIRST RUGBY STAR written by Sean Fagan Tom Wills’ place in the founding of Australian rules history has cast into deep shadow his football deeds at Rugby School, and the veneration and… Continue reading

ROUGH RUGBY IN WARWICK

ROUGH RUGBY IN WARWICK written by Sean Fagan By the middle of the 1880s support amongst footballers for the Rugby code in Queensland was gaining momentum. In late 1883 the Northern (later Queensland)… Continue reading

DID A PAINTING KICK-OFF FRENCH RUGBY?

DID A PAINTING KICK-OFF FRENCH RUGBY? written by Sean Fagan Did a painting that depicted the 1886 Rugby meeting between Scotland and England kick-start interest in the game in France?… Our story begins in… Continue reading

HURRAH! FOR ‘TOM BROWN’S SCHOOLDAYS’

HURRAH! FOR ‘TOM BROWN’S SCHOOLDAYS’ written by Sean Fagan Much is made of Tom Wills’ “call for football” letter on 10 July 1858, but it was the arrival in the colonies six months… Continue reading

THE AFL SHERRIN : A SON OF RUGBY

THE AFL SHERRIN : A SON OF RUGBY written by Sean Fagan It is claimed that TW Sherrin in 1879 created the first ball designed specifically for Australian rules football, making the ball… Continue reading

DAY THE WARATAHS DREW 52,000 TO THE SCG

DAY THE WARATAHS DREW 52,000 TO THE SCG written by Sean Fagan Of all the golden moments in the history of the Sydney Cricket Ground, there is one that is rarely mentioned: the… Continue reading

ENGLAND TO TOUR IN THE SUNNY SOUTH

In 1888 the first (what is now recognised as) British Lions sailed ‘down under’ – given the hazards, distance and communication difficulties of the time, merely bringing the venture to fruition was an… Continue reading

WEBB ELLIS RUGBY’S TRUE TRAILBLAZER?

WAS WEBB ELLIS RUGBY’S TRUE TRAILBLAZER? written by Sean Fagan Unveiled by the Old Rugbeian Society in 1895, the famous bronze plaque at Rugby School pays tribute to William Webb Ellis who, in… Continue reading

GUNPOWDER RUGBY AT THE SCG

GUNPOWDER RUGBY AT THE SCG written by Sean Fagan It took getting Rugby played on the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1870 to really get the code going, but the first game was not… Continue reading

THE OLD BALMAINS WERE A FORCE

THE OLD BALMAINS WERE A FORCE written by Sean Fagan Revived in 2005, the Balmain Rugby Club was in the code’s pioneering first half century one of its most famous teams. The Referee… Continue reading

ZEPPELINS OVER LONDON, RUGBY IS DEAD

ZEPPELINS OVER LONDON, RUGBY IS DEAD written by Sean Fagan A Rugby-playing Aussie writes home from war-time England just before Christmas 1914. Richard Granville Waddy, who played Rugby for Sydney University in the… Continue reading

THE FIRST RUGBY PASTOR OF MELBOURNE

THE FIRST RUGBY PASTOR OF MELBOURNE written by Sean Fagan The rise and fall of rugby in 1890s Melbourne coincides with the arrival and departure of Rev. John Hoatson. Raised and educated in… Continue reading

THE FIRST FOOTBALL GAME IN COLONIAL AUSTRALIA

THE FIRST FOOTBALL GAME IN COLONIAL AUSTRALIA written by Sean Fagan The first documented playing of the game of football in colonial Australia was in the centre of Sydney in late July of… Continue reading

TOM WILLS OF RUGBY

TOM WILLS OF RUGBY written by Sean Fagan Tom Wills, recognised by many (mistakenly perhaps) as Australian football’s founding father, always reckoned the Rugby rules were worth having a closer look at. In… Continue reading

AFL KICK-TO-KICK HAS ITS ORIGINS AT RUGBY SCHOOL

AFL KICK-TO-KICK HAS ITS ORIGINS AT RUGBY SCHOOL written by Sean Fagan The traditional “kick-to-kick” game of Australian rules football is claimed as unique to the code. In reality it is a tradition… Continue reading

THE RUGBY-PLAYING PADRE

THE RUGBY-PLAYING PADRE written by Sean Fagan British Lions 1899 tour captain Matthew Mullineux was a ‘padre,’ whose life was full of adventure, philanthropy and service to the British Empire. Small of stature… Continue reading

LIONS TOURS – LIFEBLOOD OF AUSSIE RUGBY

LIONS TOURS – LIFEBLOOD OF AUSSIE RUGBY written by Sean Fagan In the lead up to the visit of the first British Lions team in 1888, joint promoter of the tour, English Test… Continue reading

MELBOURNE’S FIRST RUGBY REBELS AMBUSHED NSW

MELBOURNE’S FIRST REBELS AMBUSHED NSW written by Sean Fagan The NSW Waratahs playing in Melbourne is now an annual event on the Rugby calendar, but it was a long time coming. The team’s… Continue reading

RUGBY BOUNCED AUSSIE RULES

RUGBY BOUNCED AUSSIE RULES written by Sean Fagan It’s an intriguing question: Through the last quarter of the 19th century, how did rugby in New Zealand, New South Wales and Queensland manage to… Continue reading

WHAT GLORIOUS CREATURES WE ARE!

WHAT GLORIOUS CREATURES WE ARE written by Sean Fagan By the early 20th century the primary tenets of sound Rugby were team work and combination. Every man had his place and his assigned… Continue reading

WHICH ARE AUSTRALIA’S OLDEST RUGBY CLUBS?

WHICH ARE AUSTRALIA’S OLDEST RUGBY CLUBS? written by Sean Fagan Which are Australia’s oldest Rugby clubs that are still going today, and why are there so few from the 19th century? The Maitland… Continue reading

THE INNOVATOR WHO CHANGED RUGBY

THE INNOVATOR WHO CHANGED RUGBY written by Sean Fagan Kicking the ball ahead in the scrum seems today to be an absurd move, but in the first 50 years of Rugby football to… Continue reading

THE FIRST PRINCE OF RUGBY

THE FIRST PRINCE OF RUGBY written by Sean Fagan Mention is often made of the key dates and stories behind the founding of the world’s first Rugby clubs in the late 1850s and… Continue reading