John Eales visits the School

John Eales AM is the most successful captain in the history of Australian rugby. He debuted for the Wallabies in 1991 and captained the side from 1996 until the end of his test career in 2001. During this time, he led Australia to a World Cup, three Bledisloe Cup, and two Tri-Nations victories.

Universally admired for his grace and professional conduct on and off the field, Melbourne Grammar School was delighted to welcome John to speak to members of our rugby community in May 2017.

During his presentation, John spoke about the elements which lead to success albeit on the sporting field, in business or in service to the community. “Success is, in part, about having the power of positive routines that lead you in a forward direction,” he said. “You have to get the basics right and pay attention to detail.”

“If you are capable of each of the skills of whatever ‘game’ you are playing, the challenge to yourself, and as a team, is to demand that you deliver skill-on-skill for a long period of time, because if you do that then it’s going to lead to those great moments,” said John.

John also spoke about the nature of strong teams. “You need to have faith in the team mates around you,” he said. “I have never played in a team where everyone was a champion but the best and most successful teams I have played in were ones in which we knew and understood each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Where a team member was strong we pushed him out there. Where he was weaker we put our arms around him. We supported him. And that’s what a team is. Knowing each other really well and supporting each other through whatever occurs.”

Captain of the Melbourne Grammar School First XV, Alex Sa’aga found John’s remarks both insightful and inspiring. “John spoke about the importance of being connected to what you are doing in sport and in life, to think about your goals and to leave no stone unturned in achieving them,” he said. “This really resonated with me because it is clear this type of focus and dedication has helped John achieve so much.”

“It wasn’t all serious,” added Alex, “Everyone in the audience seemed to enjoy it when John said my position of Tight-Head Prop was the most important one on the team and the second most important was the Reserve Tight-Head Prop!”