On Saturday I had the honour and pleasure of watching the Redfield College Old Boys Rugby Club contest two toughly fought New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union grand final matches in what was an historic day for the club.
In the second grade Noice Cup, the Old Boys team was narrowly beaten 31-28 in extra time, with the opposition kicking a penalty goal in the dying minutes to seal the win.
In the first grade Jeffery Cup, the undefeated minor premiers, Redfield, won a physical contest 14-10 against Sydney Harlequins, sealing the team’s third premiership in a row.
The first grade team celebrated another milestone on Saturday, notching up its fiftieth consecutive win. With the team remaining undefeated since early 2010, it has built up one of the largest winning streaks ever seen in the New South Wales Suburban Rugby. The season’s efforts by the two teams also won the club the David Swan Shield, which is awarded to the most successful club in the fifth division.
The day, hosted by Macquarie University, was a wonderful spectacle of grassroots sport and a huge crowd was in attendance. Dan Ginnane and the Triple M commentary team were also in attendance, and the family atmosphere around the ground was something to behold. At the beginning of this year I was given the honour of being made the first patron of Redfield College Old Boys Rugby Club. Having played in the team in its formative years, it still amazes me to see how far this team has come over 10 years.
I remember pulling on the fabled Redfield jersey many years ago while the Old Boys was still in its infancy. As we were in a sixth division Suburban Rugby competition, the games were fairly low on skill but extremely high on physicality.The club operates out of Redfield College in Dural and came from very humble beginnings.
Established in 2002 by a number of the college’s old boys wishing to continue playing rugby with their mates and lifetime club member Anthony Montgomery, the team initially struggled to get off the ground. It was not uncommon for Monty to make desperate calls on a Friday night to anybody he could think of to pull on a jersey to play the next morning. As would be expected, the Old Boys often suffered huge losses of up to 100 points during those turbulent formative years.In the past few years the club has seen a surge in interest and numbers.
Now boasting two teams in the fifth division of Suburban Rugby, the Redfield Old Boys has 50 committed players on its roster. Saturday’s achievements are testament to not only the hard work and dedication of the players and coaches but also all the work which goes largely unnoticed that is undertaken by numerous members, volunteers and supporters of the club. It was with great pride that I stood watching the two games from the sideline on Saturday. The second grade team never gave up against a far more intimidating opponent and the first grade team showed poise and humility in victory.
The Redfield Old Boys Rugby Club epitomises the great values that can be brought out on and off the sporting field. Born out of mateship and the common bond of sport, the Old Boys is an extremely tight-knit unit. Made up almost exclusively of ex-students of Redfield College, the club has undergone an enormous transformation in culture and ethos. In the days when I used to line up for the team, it was all about going out and having a bit of fun with some old school mates. The club has not lost this vision but has expanded on it with a more professional edge.
On Saturday the bonds of mateship and unity were clearly evident, captured in moments such as when members of the second grade team hauled their exhausted bodies off the ground in the one hundredth minute of the game to bring down yet another opponent who weighed 20 kilos more. To see 15 men playing with their heart and soul, not for themselves but for the man standing beside them, was truly inspiring.However, the strong bonds of mateship are not the only qualities that Redfield boasts.
There is a deep family tradition that runs through the club, harking back to the days when my brother Charles Perrottet and I were hanging off the sides of the scrum. The club boasts no less than 12 sets of brothers playing across the two teams—a record that surely no other rugby club in New South Wales could hope to match. This year saw four of my own brothers pulling on the fabled Redfield Old Boys jerseys, with club co-founder and current captain Charles Perrottet leading the first grade team to the premiership. Yet this notion of brotherhood transcends its traditional meaning.
Everyone who pulls on the Redfield Old Boys jersey instantly gains 14 other brothers for 80 minutes, and this idea of kinship is what has made the Old Boys one of the most successful clubs in the New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union competition. Indeed, the club has adopted an unofficial motto that sums up this notion up: Frater qui adiuvatur a fratre quasi civitas firma, which means “A brother held by a brother is like a walled city”.
In alphabetical order, the members of the Division 5 David Swan Shield club championship teams of Redfield Old Boys are: brothers Alex and Daniel Abrams; Sam Adeloju; brothers Andrew and Martin Ash; Roy Atherton; Matthew Beard; brothers Tom and Will Boneham; brothers Charles, Patrick and Sebastian Burfitt; brothers Josh and Keiran Byrne; Damien Casey; brothers Anthony and Damian Cox; Michael Dale; brothers James and Pete Doherty; Matt Donnelly; brothers Ben and Oliver Foxe; Bernardo Gutierrez; Thomas Hambrett; Nathan Khoury; Matt Lawler; Stephen Henderson; Raphael Lambert; Rowan Light; Paul Limbers; Andrew Pedroso; James Moore; Adrian Parker; brothers Charles, Gabriel, Julien and Oliver Perrottet; Michael Quinn; Sam Shearer; Dominic Smith; brothers Dominic and John-Paul Sorbara; James Summerhays; Edwin Sugiaman; Henry Treloar; brothers Tommy and John Tudehope; brothers John and Tom Wall; brothers Andrew, James and Joe Watson; Marty Wijangco; and Joe Williams.
My congratulations also go to the coach and management. Coach Julian Whealing took control of the team after suffering an Achilles injury, which ruled him out of play for two seasons. Julian has done a fantastic job with the team and his first season as coach has been extremely successful. Matt Aldous, Matt Wall and Tommy Tudehope have been able assistants and sacrificed an enormous amount of time for the team.
Club manager and founder Anthony Montgomery has been a selfless servant to the Redfield Old Boys Rugby Club for 10 years, and without his efforts the club would not exist today. I also acknowledge Gerard Abrams who has served as president of the club for five years and I congratulate him on his 21 years of service.
I congratulate all team members and members of management on their hard work and dedication throughout the season.
I look forward to many more successful seasons for the Redfield Old Boys Rugby Club.