Former Souths utility and current Rabbitohs team manager Mark Ellison has seen the Club through tough times and glorious times in the 33 years he’s spent affiliated to the Rabbitohs since his first grade debut.
Mark writes about his journey from local junior to local hero in this week’s edition of ‘In His Words’.
In His Words: Mark Ellison
It was a successful era which we had. A lot of the players in that era were local juniors. When Souths had traditionally had strong periods, it was on the back of their juniors.
Back in those teams you had Mario Fenech, Craig Coleman, Ross Harrington, Bruce Longbottom, Daryl Neville, Ian Roberts and with those players we came through together and knew each other and when we came in to play first grade together it was a continuation of that association of knowing each other, and while we were in an elite environment, we had come through before in the junior reps and the Club was looking for success. We hadn’t had much success since ‘71 and we went close.
Obviously in ‘89 we were Minor Premiers and went out the back door in two matches, which was disappointing, but when you look back it was an excellent season. We won the minor premiership by five points, we were guaranteed it with four rounds to go. We won 13 games in a row that season, which equalled the club record. They were great times.
I probably didn’t realise the celebrity factor we had, but I was excited about signing autographs, particularly when I signed my first autograph. The reason I liked that was because I loved the game so much. I was the kid that would come up to players to get autographs fifteen years before I started first grade.
I used to practice my goalkicking twice a week outside of training at Nagle Park in Maroubra, just near my old school where I had done all my practice before, and kids down at the park would finish footy training and kick the balls back to you and they’d come up and want to have a game of football with you. I loved that because that’s how I was as a kid and it was nice to put my time back into them.