One of Australia’s most highly regarded players, Mark Ella, has been honoured with the elevation to Legend status in the New South Wales Hall of Champions today.
Ella joins the likes of Sir Donald Bradman AC, Evonne Goolagong MBE, Murray Rose, and Richie Benaud as champion athletes from NSW that went on to achieve great things in their chosen sport.
One of three Ella brothers to play Rugby for Australia, Mark won 25 Test caps for the Wallabies between 1980 and 1984, where he started in all 25 of those matches.
Mark Ella was an exceptional flyhalf that led a generation of Wallabies players that altered the way Rugby was played, opting for an attacking style of Rugby that had not been seen in the game previously.
From an iconic generation of Australian Schoolboy Rugby players, the Ellas grew up away from the then traditional Rugby nurseries in Sydney and Brisbane, hailing from La Perouse where they went to Matraville Sports High School.
On an Australian Schoolboys Tour to Britain in 1978, the young side went on to win every match and returned to our shores as all conquering heroes, of which the Ella brothers featured heavily in the campaign.
Joining Randwick Rugby club, their exploits for the Galloping Green become the stuff of legend as thousands of people crammed into Coogee Oval week after week, to watch Mark and his brothers, Gary and Glen, in full flight.
In 1984, the Wallabies with Mark Ella directing traffic at flyhalf, achieved something that has not been done since by the Wallabies, after winning the ‘Grand Slam’ – defeating all four home unions (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) in the same tour.
A former Young Australian of the Year (1982), Ella has had coaching experience with the Australian Sevens program and still contributes to the game through his work through the media including column pieces for The Australian.
Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan said: “On behalf of the Australian Rugby community, we extend our congratulations to Mark and his family on being elevated to Legend status by the NSW Hall of Champions today.
“Mark Ella is one of Australian Rugby’s greatest products and his efforts and exploits at flyhalf created an exciting devil-may-care attitude that changed the way teams around the world perceived the Wallabies and created a legacy for Australian Rugby.
“While his contribution to the Wallabies is the stuff of legend, importantly, Mark gave greatly to his club and to NSW Rugby.
“As one of the 14 First Nation Australians to wear our Gold jersey, Mark is a part of wider story that we are incredibly proud of in our game and he continues to inspire the next generation of Indigenous athletes today.
“We congratulate Mark for this honour.”