We’re thrilled to announce that Wallabies legend Mark Ella will be our special guest at the club’s 40th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 13 May.
JRUC Life Member Nick Elliott has penned this bio of Mark, highlighting what a truly remarkable player he was, along with Mark’s history as a great supporter of Jindabyne Rugby Union Club. Take a couple of minutes to read it below, and if you haven’t done so yet, book your tickets now. Discounted early bird offer ends April 13.
Mark Ella played 25 games for the Wallabies from 1979 to 1984.Mark was captain for 10 of these games and was the first indigenous Australian to captain a national sports team.
Mark was most famous for his performances on the 1984 Australian rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland. Australia achieved the Grand Slam on this tour (which has not been achieved by the Wallabies since then) by defeating all four Home Nations with Mark scoring a try in each test.
His twin brother Glen and older brother Gary also played with the famous Matraville High School, Randwick Rugby Club,Sydney, NSW and Australia. They are still mentioned in the media as the “fabulous running rugby Ella brothers” along with their close school mate and fellow team mate, the current Australian coach Eddie Jones.
Mark also has several friends in Jindabyne today who played in some of these teams ,who you will see at the Bushpigs 40th Reunion.
Mark retired at the age of 25 at the end of the 1984 tour.
However he went skiing in Europe before he headed home with some his Wallaby team mates. He found a new sport which came easy to him with his natural balance. Perisher ski resort management (through their ex media manager and Snowy River Coach Russell Fairfax) learnt of Mark’s new passion and invited him, along with his charming new bride Kim, to open the world famous Volvo Ski Team Exhibition Jumps.
Mark was hooked and quickly came to love the Snowy Mountains.
His marketing company ran extensive promotions in the mountains in the 1980’s and 90’s promoting national companies including Rugby On The Snow in Perisher’s front valley. Quite a few of our now older Bushpigs took part. In fact former captain Tommy Granabetter still wants to tell anyone who will listen how he stiff armed Mark Carroll of Rugby League fame.
Ella attended many Bushpigs functions, training sessions and presentation nights over the years.In fact current players such as Matt Caldwell and Jake Roarty would remember Mark as guest of honour in 2002 ‘and being out shone by his daughter Nicole, who was the biggest hit for the under 15 piglets.
Many Bushpigs fans probably did not realise that Mark’s nephew Shannon Mason played for our under 11 piglets when his father worked for the National Parks.
Mark has received the highest awards in rugby both nationally and internationally but in been a popular keynote speaker, has kept his humility and good humour when he shares some of the best stories about the great days of the Wallabies that you will ever hear.
The 40th reunion has been organised without a formal sit down dinner. This is to allow you to catch up with your old mates, but also to ensure that you get the chance to talk to Mark if you want to tell him about your 60 metre try to win a Bushpigs final but no body else remembers.
– Nick Elliott