Everyone loved Mark Ella, except the poor victims of his brilliance who were running around in the opposition jerseys. Yet even they would eventually acknowledge that Ella was rugby perfection. For there has been no-one better.
Mark was the detonator which exploded the brilliance of the Australian backs. At critical moments, he would pass the ball in a heartbeat, trapping in defenders and unleashing team-mates into space, before running in support of the ball carrier. He would waste no stride holding the ball but flip it instantly on its way towards the wide open space down the touchline where danger-men like Campese prowled.
Consequently, Mark provided tremendous entertainment to spectators, and his ability to be in the right place at the right time was something out of the spirit world.
Mark achieved the Grand Slam by scoring a try in every test match of the series when the Wallabies toured the UK in 1984. It was a display of his sheer genius. Fans can only wonder at what other superhuman feats Mark might have achieved if he’d played on past his 25 caps in a brief but brilliant career stretching from 1980 to 1984. With typical humility and good humour, he’ll tell you all about those great days of the Wallabies.