• Rugby union great Mark Ella. (AAP)Source: AAP
One of rugby's all-time greats, Mark Ella, has been recognised with elevation to Legend status in the New South Wales Hall of Champions.
Keira Jenkins

4 Dec 2020 - 2:20 PM  UPDATED 4 Dec 2020 - 2:20 PM

Mark Ella is now a recognised 'Legend' in the New South Wales Hall of Champions sporting museum.

The honour sees him join the likes of Evonne Goolagong and Don Bradman.

Ella was one of three brothers to represent Australia in rugby, winning 25 Test caps for the Wallabies between 1980 and 1984, where he started in all 25 of those matches.

In 1984, the Wallabies achieved something that hasn't been done since.

With Ella directing traffic, Australia won the ‘Grand Slam’ - defeating all four home unions - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - in the same tour.

Known for his blistering acceleration, lightning hands and vision, Ella retired from the game before hitting the peak of his powers. He was just 25.

Ella told NITV News he was shocked but honoured to be elevated to 'Legend' status in the NSW Hall of Champions.

"I've been lucky with my career, albeit my very short career," he said.

"It's an honour to think I've made that much of an impact on people." 

Ella and his brothers Glen and Gary grew up away from the then traditional rugby nurseries in Sydney and Brisbane, hailing from La Perouse where they went to Matraville Sports High School.

Joining Randwick Rugby club, the brothers' exploits for the Galloping Green become the stuff of legend as thousands of people crammed into Coogee Oval week after week, to watch the Ellas in full flight.

Ella is former Young Australian of the Year (1982), he's received an Order of Australia medal, and also been inducted into both the Australian and International Rugby Halls of Fame. 

He said receiving these accolades so long after his retirement shows his impact on the game.

"When I first started playing rugby with my brothers Glen and Gary, we were the 'black guys' and we were a bit of an oddity to the game," he said.

"We set about changing the way rugby was played, particularly in Australia and that has made an impact.

"I played it the only way I knew how, and that was to go on the attack."

Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan congratulated Ella on his elevation to legend status, describing the La Perouse junior as of Australian rugby's greatest products.

“While his contribution to the Wallabies is the stuff of legend, importantly, Mark gave greatly to his club and to NSW Rugby," he said.

“As one of the 14 First Nation Australians to wear our Gold jersey, Mark is a part of wider story that we are incredibly proud of in our game and he continues to inspire the next generation of Indigenous athletes today."

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