Two titans of the game and undeniable contributors to the ACT Rugby scene, Sharon O’Kane and Phil Doyle are the most recent inductees into the ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Hall of Fame.
With their friends and family in attendance, the duo were celebrated at the Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies World in Union fundraising event, held at Hotel Realm on Friday the 25 August.
Phil is a modest but highly respected individual. He has won the MacDougall Medal, awarded to the outstanding player in the ACT competition twice in 1986 and 1993, and the Tommy Byrne Memorial Trophy for the ACT’s best and fairest representative player in 1988.
He played his club rugby in Canberra for the Norths Rugby Club 1st grade side from 1987 through to 1994, achieving higher honours of representing the ACT as a prominent and tenacious half back between 1987 and 1991. But the accolades don’t stop there.
Phil featured heavily in matches against international teams including the All Blacks, British Lions, France, South Korea, Fiji, and Russia.
There is little debate about Phil’s standing in ACT Rugby. During the 1988 season, Phil was selected for a Wallabies midweek match against England Combined Services in the UK, where he was playing a season with Swansea in Wales.
In 1989 Phil was selected in the Australian Barbarians team and also played for the Australian Presidents XV the same year. Despite being uncapped, he is duly recognised as a Classic Wallaby.
Phil continues to contribute immeasurably to the game as evident in his much-valued local involvement, earning life membership at Daramalan Junior Rugby Club. While more recently, being an incredible driving force for the Uni-Norths Owls, with his unwavering dedication and trademark determination at the forefront of a notable revival in recent years.
Sharon is recognised as one the ACT and Australia’s most outstanding women’s rugby players. In 1996, as a relative rugby novice, she was selected to play for the ACT against the touring Canadian provincial side, Alberta. In her first game Sharon scored four tries, earning her immediate selection in the Australian XV to play Alberta, scoring three tries in only her second game.
While still nineteen, Sharon was selected to play in the Australian Women’s Test side in 1996 against New Zealand after only five games of 15 a side rugby. Continuing her remarkable try scoring ways, Sharon scored the Australian Women’s first ever try against New Zealand in dreadful conditions in Sydney.
Sharon played in the 1998 World Cup and continued to play for the Australian Women’s team until the 2002 World Cup. She played 15 Tests which was nearly every Test during that period.
Shifting focus, Sharon gained selection in the inaugural Australian Women’s 7s team to contest the Hong Kong 7s in 1997, 2000 and 2005. The year the team were within seconds of a major upset over New Zealand in the Final, Sharon was fittingly named player of the tournament.
Sharon also played for our ACT Women from 1996 to 2001 securing the ACT Women’s Player of the year in 1999. Sharon was also a standout player for the Canberra Kestrels that won the Sydney (NSW) Premierships in 1996 and 1997 and was a leading light in the establishment of the ACT Women’s competition, where she played her club rugby with Royals from 1996 to 2001.
Sharon O’Kane is considered by many as the first real superstar of Australian Women’s Rugby, and she continues to be involved, with a keen interest in the development of our next generation of female players.
We thank both Sharon and Phil for their involvement and contributions to ACT Rugby.