Lachie Ward still inspiring Warringah Rats following thrilling win

By Jon Geddes  

FIVE years on from his tragic death whilst playing in a fifth grade game, Lachie Ward’s impact is still being felt at the Warringah Rats.

The first grade side evoked the spirit of their late former clubmate as they pulled off a thrilling 33-32 win over West Harbour at Rat Park last Saturday.

It was appropriate that the team had to dig deep to defeat a tenacious Wests team in the annual game that honours the memory of Lachie, who collapsed during a match against Gordon on June 10 2017, aged just 24.

As long-serving Rats’ official Dick Harris said in a moving address before kick-off: “Lachie Ward changed our club forever- but in a lovely way.”

The game demonstrated how emotion can be such a powerful weapon in rugby, which so often involves a lot more that chasing a ball around a paddock for 80 minutes on Saturday afternoon.

It was the long-range penalty goal by fullback Ben Woollett after 80 minutes that secured the victory in what was a seesawing contest where the lead constantly changed hands.


The game had double meaning for Rats’ wholehearted skipper Rory O’Connor, as he reached the fantastic personal milestone of 100th first grade games. And he revealed that the commemoration of Lachie’s life inspired him and his teammates when the game was really on a knife’s edge in the dramatic closing stages of the second half.

“It was definitely in the back of my mind,” O’Connor told Rugby News. “It wasn’t a very pretty game but I think it was something that was helping us through there at the end.

“We showed the resilience of the Rats to come through and win.

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