"Thank you very much for putting on an incredible event… the quality of people in the room was outstanding."

Nathan Sharpe, 2016 MC




"My son, Alex, has played for the UQ Rugby Club for three years. My family and I watch every game and we really enjoy the experience, so we wanted to give back to the club and the University any way we could. I was happy to be there to show my support and raise funds for UQ players and programs."

"The dinner also gave everyone in the room the opportunity to network with UQ alumni and supporters, including Australian expats based in New York."

Tim Horan AM, 2017 MC

2018 panellists

Gary Ella

The youngest of the famed Ella brothers, Gary Ella was renowned for his superb technical skills as outside centre – strong in defence, straight running in attack, and with the ability to give perfect passes to his wingers.

Gary made his Wallabies Test debut against New Zealand in 1982 and would go on the play a further five Tests for the Wallabies, his last being against New Zealand in 1988. He also played in 14 non-Test games for the Wallabies as they toured the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and New Zealand. 

He represented Randwick in 123 First Grade games, scoring 48 tries and one goal and winning six First Grade premierships during his eleven year tenure with the team. Gary also represented the NSW Waratahs on 25 occasions between 1981 and 1988.

After his time on the field, Gary spent ten years coaching rugby union on a full-time professional basis including Head Coach of the Australian under 19 side, assistant coach of the NSW Waratahs, assistant coach for the Australia A Grade, and Head Coach for Leinster in Ireland.

Gary’s career also includes a number of management positions with both State and Federal government agencies. Gary is currently the Coordinator Community Development at Randwick City Council, and is the Founding Director and current President of the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team. He is also an Ellavation Board Member and a Director at ITNewcom Foundation.

Glen Ella

Glen Ella made his Wallabies debut in 1982 against Scotland and represented the Wallabies on three further occasions with his final Test being against Fiji in 1985.

A running fullback who was always lethal in attack, Glen played for the Randwick Rugby Club for 11 years, winning nine First Grade Premierships including the Australian Club Championships in 1982, 1983 and 1988. He represented Sydney and NSW on over 50 occasions, and represented Australia in the Hong Kong 7s on seven occasions, winning the championship four times.

After retiring from professional playing, Glen transitioned in to a successful coaching career. He was assistant coach to the Wallabies on two occasions including the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa and the 2003 world cup final against England, where they would lose only narrowly in overtime.

In 2016, Glen was the Attack Coach for the English team as they toured Australia defeating the home team 3-nil and retaining the Cook Cup. He was also technical adviser to the Super 12 side ACT Brumbies, and coached the Australian 7s program on four occasions.

Presently, Glen is CEO at Ellavation, a career and education foundation that mentors Indigenous children to finish high school and progress into further studies or employment.

Mark Ella AM

Mark Ella AM made his first Test appearance for the Wallabies against New Zealand in 1980. As a flyhalf, he would gain notoriety for his mercurial genius, unparalleled ball-handling skill, and exceptional situational awareness of the direction of play. He is widely regarded by his teammates, opponents, and rugby commentators as being one of the greatest rugby union players of all time.

Mark represented the Wallabies 25 times, captaining the team on ten occasions. In his final Test season, on the Grand Slam Tour of Britain and Ireland, Mark would become the first touring player to score a try in each of the four Test matches, including his ultimate game against Scotland in 1984.

Mark played for Randwick from 1978 to 1984, including 6 premiership appearances, and represented NSW 24 times from 1979 to 1984. He played in the Australian Sevens team for six successive years, winning 3 Hong Kong Championship Trophies, and in 1998 as coach, led the team to a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Mark was voted the Young Australian of the Year in 1982 and was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1984. He was inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame in 1987, the Wallaby Hall of Fame in 2005, and the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2013.

Mark now runs a successful communications company, and since 2011, has been the Executive Producer NITV Sport at Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia.

Dr Mark Loane AM
MBBS 1977

Dr Mark Loane AM is regarded as one of the finest rugby players ever to emerge from Queensland. He made his debut for the Wallabies against Tonga at the age of 18 when he was a second year medical student at The University of Queensland. By the time he graduated four years later, he had become the captain of the Queensland rugby union team at the age of 21.

Appointed Wallabies captain in 1979 against the All Blacks, he led the team to the first Bledisloe Cup victory in Australia in 45 years. He played a total of 28 Tests for Australia, including six as captain.

Dr Loane pursued studies in ophthalmology where he received the Cedric Cohen Medal. He set up the Cape York Eye Health Project in 1999 to provide eye health services to the remote Indigenous communities, chairing the Indigenous and Remote Rural Eye Health Service for five years.

His sporting honours include the Australian Sports Medal and inductions into the Wallabies and Queensland Reds Halls of Fame. In 2011, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to medicine in the field of ophthalmology.

Dr Loane has received honorary doctorate degrees from The University of Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast and Griffith University.

Mackenzie Sadler

Mackenzie Sadler has been labelled a star on the rise in the rugby world. She is currently a member of the 13-strong UQ Women’s Rugby 7s squad, which she led, as captain, to a first place finish in the inaugural Aon Uni 7s series in 2017. She also earned her first call-up to the Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens squad in recognition of her strong performance throughout the Aon Uni 7s series.

UQ won the opening round in the 2018 Aon Uni 7s Series in August, captained by Mackenzie, with the side scoring victory in all five of its games at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston. As vice-captain, Mackenzie helped the team to a third place finish in the competition defeating Bond University 29-5 in the bronze medal match in September.

Mackenzie was a member of the Australian Women’s Rugby 7s side at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, where the team would win Australia’s first gold medal in the sport. She also represented Australia in the Women’s Rugby 7s team at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, where she won her second gold medal. 

Originally from Adelaide, Mackenzie is currently studying a dual degree in paramedics and nursing at the Queensland University of Technology.

Past panellists

  • Dr Steve Cutler
  • John Eales AM
  • Nick Farr-Jones AM
  • Con Foley
  • Mike Harris
  • Tim Horan AM
  • James Horwill
  • Dr Mark Loane AM
  • Michael Lynagh AM
  • Mark McBain
  • Andy McIntyre
  • Stephen Moore
  • Dr Brendan Nasser
  • Mike Petri
  • Joe Roff
  • Nathan Sharpe
  • Nick Stiles
  • Mike Tolkin
  • Tim Usasz
  • The late Dan Vickerman