Building abiding long-distance friendships

Since 2013, Wadhurst has participated in an annual tournament with St Peters College and Prince Alfred College from Adelaide, as well as Wesley College from Melbourne, in alternating cities.

This year, the Adelaide schools visited Melbourne and, as usual, it was a highly successful tournament. The participants enjoyed an elite coaching session, in addition to their round robin games. St Peters boys are always billeted with Melbourne Grammar families (and vice versa) and the two groups attended an AFL game together on the weekend.

This football tournament replicates the one enjoyed by the First XVIII over the past 110 years.

“The exchange with St Peters allows the boys to create new friendships. We find the boys will often stay in touch and will, perhaps, meet again in Year 11 or 12 during the First XVIII tournament,” says Mr Scott Whyte, Head of Sport at Wadhurst.

“The team knows that it’s a pretty special rivalry between Melbourne Grammar and St Peters,” says Oliver Tyrer, Captain of the 8A football team. “It’s always great to make a new mate.”

Mr Whyte acknowledges that there are also sporting benefits at these events. “We find playing against an interstate school builds a sense of community, particularly with the St Peters students. However, we also find that the MGS group tends to play better as a team after a tournament,” says Mr Whyte.

“There was a great spirit during the tournament,” says Year 8 student, Hugo Hines. “To play against teams we know nothing about, and play well, was a good feeling but at the end of the match we all sang our Games song together.”

To give students who are interested in other sports or play at other levels a similar opportunity, Wadhurst introduced an annual sports tour to Hobart three years ago. The 8A basketball and 8A soccer teams travel with the 8B football

team to compete against St Virgil’s College and The Hutchins School. In this instance, Melbourne Grammar students are billeted with Hutchins families.

Our first match against St Peters College

Melbourne Grammar School’s First XVIII first met a football team from another State in 1904 Prince Alfred College, Adelaide. This game was played in Melbourne.

In 1909 the First XVIII undertook its first interstate trip, visiting Adelaide and playing against several local teams including, for the first time, St Peters College.

This was not the first time the two schools had competed in sporting competitions, with cricket and rowing rivalries established well before this date. Other points of contact with St Peters were also well embedded in Melbourne Grammar by 1909, including representation at School reunions.

Interestingly, the 1909 Melburnian records Cyril Steele (OM 1909) as the ‘man of the match’ for Melbourne Grammar School in that first football game against St Peters. School historians and keen observers of School plaques will know that, due to the generosity of Cyril Steele and his mother, Mrs P J Steele, what is now known as the Steele Memorial Ground was rebuilt in 1928 and named in honour of Cyril’s three brothers who lost their lives in WWI.


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