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A History in Images

125 Garry Blissenden  (PENGUIN)- 1991 De

A History of Results

Most Valuable Player

Men's Team

Sooty Hansen Award

1986.  Garry Staunton

1987.  Geoff Stokes

1988.  Doc Watson

1989.  No ASRC held

1990.  Nick Sverdloff

1991.  Brett Quinn

1992.  John Stratton

1993.  Brett Quinn

1994.  Michael Vidulitch

1995.  Brett Quinn

1996.  Michael Vidulitch

1997.  Edrick Tipene

1998.  Grahame Paton

1999.  Zahn 'FJ' Holden

2000.  Jeremy Betts

2001.  Scott Bretherton

2002   Paul 'Bungy' Williams

2003.  Jason Harrington

2004.  Sean Diegan

2005.  Brad Sharman

2006.  Jason Harrington

2007.  Matt Hilyard

2008.  Dean Brown

2009.  James Smith

2010.  Brendan Dumbrell

2011.  Dan Robertson &

           Adam Powell

2012.  Matt Hilyard

2013.  Jared Burton

2014.  James Smith

2015.  Will Solway

2016.  Joshua Friend

2017.  Clark Chancellor

2018.  Dom Morris

2019.  Jonte Heirdsfield

2020.  Not contested COVID

2021.  Terry Waia

2022.  Ewan Fitzgerald

2023.  Jimmy Hokafonu

2024.  Peter Taylor

Most Valuable Player

Women's Team


2018.  Mahalia Ellis

2019.  Amy Carpenter

Rugby Australia

Representative Players



Jack Baxter 1949

Laurie Johnson 1952

Greg Burrows 1984


Super W/Super Rugby

Courtney Frankll

Melbourne Rebels 2019

Waratahs, 2020

Gabi Bryan

Melbourne Rebels, 2020

Indiana Lewis

Melbourne Rebels, 2020

Wallaroos A

Courtney Frankll 2019

520 Rod McLaurin,  Bango Shields, Ray El
107 Geoff Stokes backing up or taking a

First Rugby Match, 1916, Navy v Army.  Source:  Courtesy of Naval Historical Society (Call the Hands)

The bountiful Jervis Bay fields of the HMAS Creswell quarterdeck have hosted many grand naval parades and ceremonies, but no such events have created such historically competitive rivalries as the first sporting match between Australian military services in1916. Rugby was the name of the game and participants included the best selected players from Duntroon and the Royal Australian Naval College. As Army officer cadets significantly overshadowed the RANC team in comparative size and age, the audience of young Midshipman would have braced for a crushing Duntroon victory. Yet the result was significantly to the opposite, with the Navy, donning their ‘lily whites’, dealt a severe upset to their Army counterparts in dark blue, triumphant at 20 points to nine.

The victorious RANC team included serious talent, with well-known and distinguished Officers Collins, Getting and Burnett in the line-up. Collins went on to captain HMAS Sydney (II) during the Second World War and is renowned for his victory at Cape Spada in July 1940. Similarly, Getting, the captain of HMAS Canberra (I), is celebrated for his heroic engagement against Japanese cruisers in August 1942 at the Battle of Savo Island. Further, Captain Joseph Burnett is recognised for his command of Sydney during the ill fated battle against HSK Kormoran in November 1941. With such names in their sporting ranks, it was perhaps no surprise the RANC finished as champions.

RANC and Duntroon teams photographed together post-match. Navy players are listed below.

Back row: Howells, Gould, Palmer, Baldwin, Armstrong, Nurse, Newman, Spencer, Dudley Sitting: Collins, Getting, Newman, Showers
Front: Rayment, Burnett

This information was recovered after a series of photos and letters which spontaneously fell from a handbook in a Lifeline shop. With its significance realised, the objects were forwarded to the Naval Historical Society of Australia. The photos and letter were authored by Peter Anderson who was part of the 1914 Officer intake at the RANC. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander after serving as First Lieutenant and Flotilla Gunnery Officer aboard HMAS Anzac during 1928-29.

RANC V Duntroon.png
RANC V Duntroon 1916.png

The First Whistle (A reflection on the Navy’s First Australian Services Rugby Premiership)

By Ian Wrigley

Source:  Courtesy of Naval Historical Society (Call the Hands)


With a proud sporting heritage, we surprisingly hear little in the way of naval sporting activities and achievements in these pages. This short article looks at some memorable historic achievements on sporting fields during and post WWII.


I entered the RAN as an Ordinary Seaman at HMAS Cerberus just short of my 19th birthday in August 1942. An interest in the sport was important to shaping my future naval career and may have helped influence my selection for Officer Cadet Training.


As a newly promoted Midshipman RANR, I was posted to the Bathurst class minesweeper HMAS Deloraine, then conducting east coast convoy and anti-submarine patrols. It was during this time that she rescued survivors from the torpedoed United States merchantman Lydia M. Child. She also assisted in towing into Sydney Harbour the torpedoed Liberty ship Peter H. Burnett. Deloraine had previously gained fame while patrolling off Darwin carrying out a successful attack.


Tropical Paradise

Palm Island, with an area of 55 km squared, forms part of the Great Barrier Reef and is only 57 km from Townsville. It should be a tropical paradise but has a troubled past with greatly increased Aboriginal population of so-called troublemakers brought from the mainland. The population prior to WW II of this small island was about 1,600 and this was further increased when in July 1943 the USN constructed an air station to operate Catalina flying boats.


One of my duties in Australia was as the ship’s Physical and Recreational Training Officer and it was my job to find an outlet to improve upon the restrictive shipboard exercise routines. This included when at anchor, organising deck hockey, boxing and wrestling matches in the starboard waist and Smallbore shooting matches on the forecastle. Palm Island had a sports field on which it was possible to have a game of rugby against teams from the other ships but, just as importantly, against a number of teams from the local indigenous community who thoroughly enjoyed the friendly competition. It was here that I managed to gain a place in the fiercely competitive Aussie First 15. The team captain was Leading Seaman Baldwin and another player was Engineer SBLT Norman Alexander in the back row with me, in the photo taken under the Y turret 8″ guns with our Captain H.B. Farncomb and executive officer CDR W.H. Harrington in the centre.


The final push We were now committed to the real purposes of war and thoughts of games ashore quickly faded. Shipboard physical exercises, however, were necessary to maintain fitness. As the Pacific war moved north and west, Australia was frequently in action and at Leyte Gulf. Here she suffered from a devastating kamikaze attack. I was then sent to England to do the Long D Course and returned to Australia and HMAS Watson after the war ended. Whilst at Watson I was selected to be lock forward in the Navy Rugby Team.


The RAN, despite being numerically the smallest service, was determined for the first time to go all out and win the Rugby Services Premiership. Engineer CAPT McMahon, the centre of the back row of the photograph, aided by team manager CMDR Power on the left and CMDR Anderson on the right, assembled a team of enthusiastic players. We had a great coach PO Bill Coleman, a 1938 Wallaby, in civvies on the left of the photo. All these years later, sadly, it is difficult to recall the names of many of my teammates. In the centre of the middle row were two unforgettable players: team captain Paymaster LEUT Kevin McLean, next Engineer LEUT Tiny Shultz and COOK Paul going to the right. Being a lock forward I do remember those in the photo front row: from left AB Moulder, AB Peter Johnson, AB Gibb Wood, here I am (LEUT Ian Wrigley) and CPO Tommy Lea.


We were a happy band of post-war “Rah Rahs” where rank or rating meant nothing in our determination to win the premiership because those of us who were ‘hostilities only’ had been told that we would not be demobbed until we had done so. With that challenge in mind we played and beat the Army by 23 to 14 at Victoria Barracks in Sydney on 9th July 1946, having beaten the RAAF at North Sydney Oval a week earlier 8 to 6 in a tough, very hard-fought game. The Navy was fairly chuffed that we had in fact for the first time ever, won the Australian Services Rugby Premiership. This was a time of post-war euphoria when the Victory test cricket matches were being played, so our finale as a team was to do our country tour ending playing Northern NSW at Armidale, which I think we won 23 to 16. After this, we dispersed and were demobbed. 


Those days on the sporting fields were happy times with a great sense of camaraderie and teammates are sadly missed.    

925P HMAS AUSTRALIA 1936.jpg

HMAS AUSTRALIA 1943 1st XV off Palm Island

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Navy 1946 Inter-Service Champions

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