Captain in 1990
Marcus Fogarty attended Terrace from 1982 to 1990. In 1989, he played for the Terrace First XV. He captained the side in 1990. Marcus is presently a Major in the Australian Army. He has served in Bougainville, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. His Brother Nick attended Terrace from 1980 to 1988. Their father, Merv, attended the Christian Brothers’ College, Warwick.
“I will keep always at the front of my mind those people whose courage, skill and dedication will help us secure that future we desire for all people. And, of course, I refer to the magnificent men and women of the Australian Defence Force … to see our people in action is to know how good they are … and they are all damn good”
General Peter Cosgrove,
Change of Command Ceremony,
3 July 2002
B&G: Marcus, thanks for talking to us. Let’s start with how you were first introduced to rugby?
Marcus: I started at Terrace in Grade 5 and I played my first game of rugby that year for the under 10 A’s against St Laurence’s College at Victoria Park. I remember that day pretty well, as I was very excited to be playing for Terrace. For the past few years, I had been accompanying my older brother, Nick, to watch the First XV games and I had already been exposed to the atmosphere of Terrace First XV Games. In those days, Terrace was at the end of the run of five straight premierships and the crowds were always pretty big and they were exciting games to watch. It was a great feeling to be finally playing rugby with your classmates and wearing the red and black.
B&G: Did any of your team mates from that under 10 team, end up playing with you in the First XV?
Marcus: Yeah, I think Mark Bliss, Nick Atkinson and Len McKeering were all in that under 10 team and they all ended up playing First XV.
B&G: Did you set yourself a goal of making it through to play for the First XV?
Marcus: It was always a hope when I was at school. By the time I got to senior, playing for the Firsts had really become my sporting focus. I tended to regard rowing and other sports as providing an opportunity to get fit and into some sort of condition for rugby. By the start of grade 12, I was directing all of my attention and energy, from a sporting perspective, into being selected for the First XV.
B&G: In 1989, you were selected as number 8 for the First XV. Can you tell us a little bit about how it felt to play your first game for the First XV?
Marcus: We played Toowoomba at Toowoomba. I have two really strong recollections about that day. The first is when we were getting stripped in the change rooms and the jerseys were being presented. I remember looking around and seeing all of the guys pulling on the red jersey and the importance of the occasion then really dawning on me at that point. I also remember the feeling of singing the school song surrounded by my mates in the team and the school. We had a win (9-3) and it was a great day.
B&G: How did the season unfold?
Marcus: It was a pretty tough year. We came up against some very good sides, particularly from Ipswich Grammar, Nudgee and Grammar. We had a close loss to Churchie and we had good wins against Toowoomba, Southport, State High and BBC. In terms of players, Mark Bliss was a standout. He had been in the 1988 First XV, which was a fantastic side and he was really the outstanding footballer in our team.
B&G In 1990, you were captain of the First XV. What are your memories of captaining the side and of that season?
Marcus: To me, 1990 was a really satisfying season. We worked hard as a team and achieved some great, hard fought wins. In a couple of games we were triumphant under dogs. In particular, I remember the tight wins over Churchie (9-7), Ipswich (3-0) and Toowoomba (15-13) and the draws with Grammar and BBC. We had a very close loss to Nudgee that year. The pack had some great players. Mark Bliss was back in 1990 and in a couple of games he really cut loose. There was also Tim Fanning, Patrick Noonan and Nick Stiles, who later played for the Wallabies. We had a very talented young five eighth in Leighton Christopher and Matt Steele was a really powerful runner and defender.
B&G: What about for you personally? How did it feel to be back playing for the First XV in 1990?
Marcus: It was a massive honour to be captain. I was by then physically more suited to First XV rugby as I had put on about 5 kilograms. I was quite young for my year and I had actually turned 17 on the last day of school in 1989. So the extra year served me well and in 1990, I felt that I was able to play my role a bit more dominantly and aggressively and with more confidence and experience. It was a very enjoyable season. .
B&G: After school, you studied law at the Queensland University of Technology. Did you keep up with your rugby in those years?
Marcus: Yes, I played down at Brothers. I played colts straight out of school and then progressed through under 21’s and ended up playing two years in grade. I played about a dozen first grade games for Brothers in that time.
B&G: What are your memories of Brothers and club rugby?
Marcus: Brothers is a great club and I remember playing a few games with Tim Dodson and Stephen Partridge who had been the stars of the First XV in 1982, which was my first year at Terrace. That was a great experience. There was always a bit of extra interest when we played University as you would tend to come up against some of your Terrace mates like Hamish and Angus Innes, Simon Nasser and Trevor Walsh.
B&G: In 1996, you entered Duntroon. How did you come to be there?
Marcus: Whilst I was at University, I had joined the Army’s Ready Reserve Scheme and I eventually became a full time member of the Army. I spent 1996 and 1997 down at Duntroon and graduated as an officer sometime in the latter part of 1997.
B&G: Did you maintain your interest in rugby?
Marcus: Yes, I was able to represent the Army in rugby in 1995. I was not able to be released from Duntroon to play in 1996 and 1997. After Duntroon, I again represented the Army in 1998, 1999 and 2000. I was vice captain of the Army XV in 1999 and 2000. I also played for the Combined Services XV in 1998 to 2000 and captained that side.
B&G: Could you tell us a bit about playing rugby for the Army and Combined Services?
Marcus: The Army plays in what is called the Tri-Services Tournament which involves the three services, Army, Navy and Air Force. From that competition, a Combined Services XV is picked each year and that team goes on to play the Australian Universities XV for the Weary Dunlop Trophy. The team also ends up playing other games against teams like New South Wales Country. Some of those games were played as curtain raisers to test matches or Super 14 games. Whilst most of the Army players come from the traditional rugby states, an interesting aspect about playing in the Army is that you see blokes who take up the game later in life with no particular background in or exposure to the sport who end up becoming very accomplished players. It was always very exciting to be playing for the Army. In those days, when I was playing rugby for the Army, sport was a huge thing because the Army was not then as committed to operations as we now are. You would receive great support at games and it was not uncommon to play in front of 600 to 700 supporters from each service. Recently, as the operational tempo of the Army has increased, there is not as much opportunity to take part in or watch those games.
B&G: You must have played on some historic grounds. What is your favourite ground?
Marcus: I got to play a curtain raiser at Ballymore once before a Reds game which was terrific but I must say that my favourite rugby ground is the Victoria Barracks Oval, which is the site of the old parade ground for the first Army base in Australia. The surface is magnificent and the oval has a wonderful atmosphere and setting. The Wallabies train there from time to time when they are in Sydney.
B&G: Some famous Army men have been rugby enthusiasts. General Cosgrove is a rugby enthusiast. Have you had any involvement with General Cosgrove in your Army rugby life?
Marcus: Yes I have had a bit to do with General Cosgrove over the years. He was my Commandant at Duntroon and he took a big interest in the cadet rugby program. He had played rugby at Duntroon and earlier when he was a student at a Christian Brothers school in Sydney, Waverley College. When I was captaining the Army sides, he was the Patron of Army rugby and he was always very generous with his time and genuine in his interest in and support of the Army team. As the patron of Army rugby, he invariably gave up his time to come and watch training sessions and games and to speak with and get to know the players. He is an inspirational man. To meet him in person, he is, as I think he comes across in public, a very genuine, down to earth person.
B&G: It is nearly 20 years since your final year at Terrace, how do you feel about the school?
Marcus: I have great affection for Terrace and, despite life in the Army taking me around the world and to far flung places, I have been able to maintain very close friendships with my Terrace friends. My school friends are a very important part of my life. There is a core group of about 20 of my mates from school who regularly catch up. Most of those blokes were in the First or Second XVs as back in those days we trained as one squad and some lifelong friendships were formed on those afternoons. I have a standing instruction to my Mum and Dad when I go away on operations that their messages from home have to include the results for Terrace First XV matches. They have always honoured that and it is a nice little comfort to receive those results when you are away. It is all part of being able to maintain your connection to home.
B&G: Marcus, if you had the chance to say a few words to the present day Terrace boys who will be running on for the First XV in 2009, what would you like to say?
Marcus: Well, I would tell them to make the most of the opportunity and to make sure that they enjoy themselves. I would like to get the message across that you may well play quite a few games of rugby in your life but you will never ever forget the games you played alongside your mates in the Terrace First XV. I hope they have a great year and I will be following their progress with interest.
B&G: Marcus Fogarty, thanks for taking the time to speak to Brave and Game.
Marcus: My pleasure.