Joeys Old Boy Tom Wright (2015) is a great example of someone who understands the importance of hard work and what it takes to achieve your goals. He exemplifies the many characteristics which all of us in the Joeys community strive to attain.

Tom started at the College as a boarder in 2010 at the age of 12. He was a valuable member of the each of the 13A, 14A and 15A teams as he progressed through his schooling at the College. When he reached Year 10, Tom was selected in the Second XV team, where he won his first GPS premiership in 2013 under the tutelage of Mr Greg Thompson and Mr Tim Andersen.

In 2014, then in Year 11, Tom was selected in the First XV squad and would go on to make both the GPS and NSW Schoolboys teams. In Year 12 2015, Tom was named captain of the First XV and, for the second year in a row, named in the GPS First XV and NSW First XV.

A strong leader: Tom Wright stands alongside his teammates following a match against Newington College at The Park in 2014.

After graduating Year 12, when asked by the media about his experiences at school, Tom replied “Joeys was the making of me; where I learned self-reliance, independence and time management.”

Tom’s innate and hard-earned skills caught the eye of NRL Immortal Bob Fulton, who was at the time looking to replace Parramatta-bound Kieran Foran. Whilst in the middle of both Year 12 studies and his final College rugby season, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles signed Tom to the NRL.

However, even with the excitement and anticipation Tom would no doubt have been feeling, he remained humble and modest, not telling anyone about his signing until the GPS season was over, to ensure that it was not a distraction for him or his Joeys First XV teammates.

Then-CEO of the Sea Eagles, Joe Kelly, described Tom as “the most exciting schoolboy rugby prospect in Australia”. After playing for a stint in the Under-20s, Tom made his NRL first grade debut in 2018 against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Despite his quick and clear success in the NRL, rugby union still had its eye on Tom. In 2018, the Brumbies snuck in under Manly’s guard to bring Tom back to rugby. Then-Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said, “We’ve been aware of Tom’s rugby union background and heard he was interested in coming back to the game. He’s got x-factor and amazing potential. He’s creative and has good footwork, speed and acceleration. He can create something out of nothing.”

In 2019, Tom made his Super Rugby debut against the Chiefs. The following year, he scored nine tries in 13 matches and subsequently earned his first Test cap for the Wallabies in 2020. This first challenge was on the wing, where he scored a try on debut in a memorable Wallabies 24–22 win against the All Blacks.

Ongoing success: Tom Wright extends his time with the Brumbies until the end of the 2025 season. Photo: Getty

Even given all of this in just eight years since finishing his schooling at Joeys, Tom has not forgotten the importance of respect and care for others. This was epitomised when in 2021 Tom was presented with the Rugby Union Players’ Association Award for Community Service.

Tom has experienced yet another wonderful year for himself and his career in 2023. Even more recently still, Tom has been named in the first Wallabies squad for the season, in preparation for the World Cup this September.

Whilst there is no doubt about the talent and success Tom has worked for, what remains most impressive about his career to date is the quiet and humble way in which he has gone about it. He avoids the headlines; he quietly goes about his work and, as a result, has become renown as an invaluable member of the leadership for both the ACT Brumbies and Wallabies.In Term 2 2023, Tom was invited to a speak to students at a College assembly and present the First and Second XV jerseys ahead of the upcoming winter sport season. Given his wealth of experience and monumental achievements, it was fitting to invite Tom to address the boys in this capacity. What follows is an excerpt from Tom’s address, which beautifully sums up Tom’s ethos, his approach and his message to our young Joe-Boys.

“I truly am honoured to be back to be part of such a special day for the men who will be presented with their jerseys today.”

Tom Wright

“Never in my wildest thoughts did I think I’d be offered the opportunity to be part of such a special day.

Next generation: Tom assists with the 2023 First XV team jersey presentation following the Headmaster’s Assembly.

“I vividly remember these assembles. Going all the way back to 2010, sitting down the front in Year 7, with Mr Danny Sidgreaves as my year coordinator and the great Mr Jim Lloyd as my U13s rugby coach. Both of whom I have been fortunate to have kept the relationship with to this day, and whom I am grateful to call friends.

Focus is key: Tom Wright addresses current Joe-Boys at a special Headmaster’s Assembly.

“Through my time at the College, I was afforded opportunities I wouldn’t have had. I met people who heavily influenced the direction of my career and most importantly, my life. The likes of Mr Jeremy Ticehurst, Mr Tim Andersen, Br Anthony Boyd, Mr Ross Tarlinton and Mr Sidgreaves. All these men showed a level of genuine care and often told me what I did not want – but needed – to hear for me to grow as a young man.”

During his final year at Joeys, Tom was relieved to sign a contract enabling him to focus academically and with his rugby before suffering a devastating season-ending injury.

“My final year of school in 2015, was a little different to my peers. Midway through the second round of the GPS season, playing St Ignatius’ College at Riverview – the one we all circle on the calendar. Through the week leading into the game, I had finalised and signed a three-year contract with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. It allowed me to remove any uncertainty about what my movements would have been after school and allowed me to focus on finishing the school year strong, both academically and on the rugby field.

“Long story short, I ruptured my ACL in that game, only days after signing the contract. At the time [(clears throat) with] agonising pain, anxiety, confidence shattered; all these emotions floating through my mind. What’s going to happen now? Will I ever come back? Will I ever play the same again?

“Upon reflection, I wish I had the knowledge I do now. Back then, I got caught up worrying about the things that I could not control, instead of focussing on the things I could. Things like my work ethic around my rehab, diet, nutrition and dedication to routine. What I eventually came to see: every moment you spend channelling your energy and time into something you can’t control is an opportunity missed where you could have been bettering yourself and building your foundations. You can apply this to every aspect of your life, whether academic work or relationships. I encourage all boys to know that things will not always be perfect; you’ll hit some tough times – maybe get a poor mark in an exam, an injury like mine, be dropped from a team or experience breakdown in a relationship. It’s different for all of us.”

With experience under his belt, Tom expressed what he had learnt, encouraging the students to make the most of all opportunities on offer and maintain consistency to start seeing results.

“In my career to date, I’ve been extremely honoured to grow my game and learn from world class players. I can truly say how incredible it is to watch several guys on TV for years and then get the opportunity to rub shoulders with them as teammates. I don’t think that’s a feeling I will ever be able to get over.

“The biggest thing I wanted to address with you – something I’m so thankful for from my time at the College – is something which will cost you nothing but a small amount of courage.”

Tom wright

“When I first started here, I knew no one from any country or rural towns. It may seem like a difficult task to extend an invitation to someone from outside your circle of friends or to invite over a full-time boarder for those who live locally or in the city, but the reward for doing this is lifelong.”

Tom is a product of taking his own advice, remaining consistent and focusing on what is within his control, he has succeeded. We congratulate him for his recent re-signing with the ACT Brumbies until the end of 2025, and wish him well in the years to come.