Centenary of ANZAC Rugby Carnival
The Centenary of Anzac in 2015 provides a meaningful platform to honour the many young people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The schools involved in this Carnival, have proud traditions of educating young men who have gone on to make a difference. Many have forged successful careers and taken prominent positions in society. For the old boys of these schools who served their country, they too deserve our recognition and praise.
This carnival was a fitting commemoration of the Centenary of ANZAC and a celebration of rugby – played by boys not much different in age to those who went and served at Gallipoli and in other international conflicts zones. Melbourne Grammar School and St. Kevin’s College hosted games and billeted, while Scotch College and Trinity Grammar assisted in billeting our visitors from Christ’s College (New Zealand), Wanganui Collegiate School (New Zealand), and Hale School (Perth). The Carnival united the ‘ANZAC’ Rugby community in Melbourne with a life-long memory for all involved. We are grateful to the Headmasters, staff and parents from all participating schools for their enthusiasm and support of this celebration.
The visiting teams arrived on Wednesday 8 April and after training, had a moving naming ceremony where captains from each school read the names of their fallen from Gallipoli in front of the ‘Lone Pine’ tree in the MGS Hall forecourt. For St Kevin’s College, College Captain Laurence Young read a solemn statement about the significance of WW1 to its families whereas the College had started at the end of WW1. A Scotch College piper set the scene of tranquility and respect before Jika Lovett gave the welcome to country, MGS Headmaster Roy Kelley gave the Carnival Welcome and Major Gwilym Leech (OM 1996) addressed the players.
Pool Matches were contested at MGS and St Kevin’s to determine semi-finals and other games. St Kevin’s defeated both Hale School Perth and Trinity Grammar however, lost by a mere two points (19 – 17) to Christ’s College NZ and came second in the pool. This led SKC to play Wanganui Collegiate School in the Semi Final where in an extraordinary match for a Melbourne school to play a New Zealand school drew (19 all) but by virtue of Wanganui scoring first saw Wanganui off to the Final.
Sunday saw Christ’s College victorious over Wanganui Collegiate 17-12. Seeing the two schools perform their Hakka in unison was a treat for all. In the 3 – 4 playoff SKC defeated MGS, 71 – nil Hale School defeated Trinity Grammar for the 5 v 6 playoff. Scotch College played the ANZAC Barbarians, made up of players from MGS, St Kevin’s, Trinity and Hale School. Scotch came out as victors despite the ANZAC Barbarians 14 man lineout!
MGS hosted a Carnival Dinner on Thursday evening with guests Scott Fuglistaller (Co Captain of Melbourne Rebels), Tamati Ellison (All Black) and Mike Harris (Wallaby). On Friday morning the players watched a full Rebels training session at Princes Park, followed by a private clinic with the Rebels players. On Friday night, former Chaplain Rev Dr Ronald Noone conducted an ANZAC Service with Lt. Col. Allan Hamley (OM 1994) and former Premier, Ted Baillieu (OM 1970) giving the addresses. Players and staff from participating schools gave readings, prayers and laid wreaths. St Kevin’s student Chris Davis led the Australian National Anthem. Darcy Jowett won the SKC player of the Tournament
St Kevin’s College Rugby Association played a vital part in the week by hosting luncheons for 4 teams and visiting tourist families of the schools on the Thursday and a further two on Saturday. St Kevin’s families billeted the entire squad for Hale School Perth and the Grounds and Facilities Departments of St Kevin’s provided exceptional playing facilities for the match days. Headmaster of Wanganui Collegiate Mr Chris Moller suggested the playing surface provided for his team would have been suitable to use as a putting green in golf. The Closing Ceremony had Patron of Victorian Schools’ Rugby, Bob Dalziel, Head Coach of Melbourne Rebels, Tony McGahan and Rebels Toby Smith and Tom Kingston awarding the players. President of the Old Melburnians, Mr Andrew Brookes made a presentation of the CK Russell Medal for the player of the final, awarded to Matt McKellar of Christ’s College. CK Russell (OM 1903) was a prominent rugby player and killed in action in 1918.
Lest we forget.