The Friends of Sydney University Football Club (the “Friends”) was founded in 1996 by Peter Hemming, Executive Chairman of Heathley Limited.  This was at a time when rugby was moving towards professionalism.  It was also a time when Sydney University Football Club was at risk of relegation.

An influential coterie of senior businessmen and professionals were approached with a plan to establish a specialised mentoring group.  This group, the Friends, has made a critical contribution to what is now one of the most successful and sustainable rugby clubs in the world, Sydney University Football Club.

The Friends has grown significantly and currently has over 50 prominent senior business executives and professionals across many industries.  All of them are committed to mentoring the players of the Club although, interestingly, only one third of them played rugby for Sydney University and only one half of the Friends attended the University of Sydney, but all are committed to assisting the players and the Club.

The Friends provides two significant contributions:

  1. A mentoring programme for the players aimed to assist them in succeeding in their business and professional careers. 

  2. Annual donations from Members for the Sydney University Football Club Foundation.

On Friday 11th September 2020, fifty-five Friends of the Sydney University Football Club and guests attended the 24th Annual Dinner of the Friends group at St. Andrew’s College where Principal Wayne Eriksen’s team did an excellent job of decorating and transforming the room into a cosy and welcoming venue. All attendees were very careful in observing all of the Covid-19 requirements for the function.

Master of ceremonies, Chairman David Mortimer AO, opened proceedings noting the apologies received and outlined the evening’s program.

Andrew Wennerbom expertly ‘interviewed’ newly appointed Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan who gave the group an open (and exciting) glimpse into what lies ahead for Australian rugby.

Judge Gerard Phillips proposed a toast to the Club which was responded to by John Coorey.

Josephine Sukkar AM then proposed the toast to the University with an excellent response from Peter Scott who painted a very positive picture about the future of the University.

David concluded the evening by thanking all present for making the dinner the success that it was.

Overall, it was an excellent evening and our thanks to all of the Friends for their ongoing support as we look forward with confidence and enthusiasm to celebrating the 25th anniversary of this unique organisation in 2021.

Ray Dearlove