SUFC, Waratah and Wallabies scrum halve Nick Phipps was awarded the University Male Blue of the Year at Saturday’s Annual SUSF Blues Dinner, unfortunately Nick was unable to make the ceremony so instead prepared a speech while on tour in the UK with the Australian Wallabies.
Here are his words on being named Male Blue of the Year 2017;
I wish I were here in person to accept the award and I apologise for my absence tonight. As I write this I am preparing for our game on Saturday and its negative 3 degrees in sunny Scotland! Whoever is reading this, don’t stuff it up and make sure you pause for the ensuing laughter.
Honestly, I don’t really know where to begin. Sydney Uni has been such a big part of my life these past 10 years; it really is hard to imagine having any of the opportunities I have today without the clubs time and support. Being nominated for a Sydney Uni Blue is an absolute honour. It is a prestigious club that I have always wanted to be a part of because in my mind, it means that I have finally repaid the good faith that so many at Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness (SUSF) put in me so long ago. Let me tell you, at times in an effort to achieve a Blue, representing Australia has seemed to be easier than passing Uni!! So, I am glad everything has finally lined up.
It all begun up on St Paul’s Oval, where I heard about pre-season from a mate and for no other reason than wanting to occupy myself after school sport I turned up to have a crack. It isn’t a story of fancy lunches and scholarships by a Shute shield powerhouse! The red carpet wasn’t rolled out and rightfully so! I came to Sydney University Football Club as a little kid. I wasn’t one of those kids from school with shining talent who is destined to be a superstar; I was just an average young boy with a genuine love for the game. What I did have was a love for hard work and respect for the people I got to play with to never put myself in a position to let them down. From the moment I started in 3rd Colts, SUSF and the rugby club gave me and every other person that walked through the door the opportunity to strive to be as good as we wanted to be. Through a lot of hard work and the incredible support I received, I was able to achieve my dreams.
I believe that SUSF and the Rugby club’s greatest strengths are above all, the people. People who go out of their way to be a part of such a fantastic organisation and to be a part of such a special community. The amount of people I have met from all the different University clubs and the friendships I have formed with many of them are some of my fondest memories of being a student. People such as Leonie Lum, Greg Harris, Rob Smithies, Bruce Ross and the great Wizard with his bar tabs. Who along with the rest of the SUSF team convinced me to apply myself to focus on the most important thing, my studies. For that, I will always be forever thankful.
I also have to thank the many, many people at SUFC who have been a part of my journey and who I owe so much for the opportunities I have had to this day. From the countless volunteers in the Club, way too many to name, to the coaches I have had along the way to give me the time of day to be better, to the many friendly staff keeping the Club running. I have had the pleasure to meet some great people along my journey at the Club. A few being, former president David Mortimer, just a genuine legend of a man, couldn’t be friendlier and who knew every player and their story from 3rds Colts to 1st Grade. He still sends me and every Sydney Uni Wallaby and Super Rugby player a message pre-game. Tim Davidson, Tim Leahy and even Tom Carter, three great men who I personally owe a lot to. Their friendship, unrelenting morals and ability to instil hard work into people is a reason that the Club is able to embrace and replicate so many great players and more importantly great people. Finally, to Josephine and Tony Sukkar, such great friends of SUSF and SUFC, such amazing people whose passion and support have been so important and appreciated by so many.
This year I got the chance once again to don the blue and gold stripes after an injury stint at the Tahs and the need to get some form leading into the June tests. I was amazed, but not surprised that although many of the people I played with back when I first started were gone, the Club’s spirit and desire to perform remain untainted. It is attributable to people like Angus Stuart and David Haigh that this great club culture still exists. This culture is hard to verbalise, but I’ll try. It is a culture that is firstly formed on science hill, doing shuttles at the birthplace or ergs in the arena. Then rounded out having a few schooners at the NAGs head via the wizard, tuna pasta at ralphs or knowing that that particularly dusty session on a Thursday night is just as bad for you, as it is for your teammates that were all there at the same time. This culture attracts new young players from school desiring to come and be a part of sport at Sydney Uni. The culture is infectious and it is very special to be a part of. These young players or members of the community recommending Sydney University know that SUSF is their best chance at reaching their higher honours in any chosen sport and an unbeatable opportunity to be supported in all aspects of sport and study. I know this resonates for many in the hall this evening who have had the same support and for everyone else who has been an integral part of the process. So, I thank all of you.
Thank you so much for the honour of joining your prestigious club. For your help I will be forever thankful. Enjoy your evening and Up the Students!!
Executive General Manager, David Haigh was on hand to collect the award on Nick's behalf.