Plus500 Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano and head coach Dan McKellar have talked about the impact of Shawn Mackay on the Brumbies family as the club marks the tenth year since his passing.
An incredibly talented player, the back rower captained the Australian Rugby Sevens team from 2005 until 2008, signing with the Brumbies ahead of the 2009 Super 14 season.Mackay tragically lost his life in Durban when he was struck by a car after spending the night out with his team-mates.
Members of the 2009 squad reunited at GIO Stadium for the Reds match, a thrilling 40-27 Brumbies victory, and were invited into the sheds post-match to take part in an emotional rendition of the team song after presenting Shawn’s family with his official Brumby cap.
Singing for Shawn.— Plus500 Brumbies (@BrumbiesRugby) June 17, 2019
The Brumbies of 2009 held a reunion at GIO Stadium on the weekend to honour the Tenth Anniversary of the passing of their mate, Brumby #118, Shawn MacKay, and were invited into the sheds post-match to join in an emotional team song.
Out of the 2009 squad, Lealiifano was the only one who remains playing in Super Rugby and he spoke about the influence of Mackay in the post-match media conference as the team from a decade ago came together once more.
“Tonight, was a very special night, we celebrated ten years of the passing of Shawn Mackay,” Lealiifano said. “His family were here and the squad of 2009, seeing those guys around is really special for the 2019 group.
“We speak a lot about family in the Brumbies culture and to see that tonight in numbers was really special for our group. To still be around and continually playing, acknowledging him and seeing the impact he’s had on the club to having the guys from the past share stories and celebrate his life puts things into perspective again. It was special for me to see them again and hear them to speak tonight.”
McKellar wasn’t involved with the Canberra side when Mackay played, but the coach says the link between him and Brumbies will always remain.
“I think it’s tremendous, it’s nice for the Mackay family to know Shawn is a big part of our club and always will be a big part of our club,” he said.
“I never knew Shawn but all I’ve heard is good things about him; that he was a great team man, he loved his time and opportunities that he got here at the Brumbies.
“We always make sure his locker is always dressed and ready to go so I think that’s nice for Shawn’s family to know he’ll never be forgotten at our club whether it’s 2019 or in the years to come. He’s an important member of the Brumbies and always will be.”
As Shawn’s final game before his untimely passing was against the Sharks, it’s somewhat fitting that the Brumbies will be facing them at home this Saturday night as they kick off their finals campaign.
Tickets for the knockout tie are on sale from www.ticketekt.com.au.
Shawn Mackay. Never Forgotten.
Words: Jordan Mulach