Three Sydney Swans members have been inducted as life members of the Sydney Cricket Ground tonight.
Former Chairman Richard Colless, Bloods Champion Michael O'Loughlin and 'True Believer' Basil Sellers are the first representatives from Australian Rules and the Sydney Swans.
This is the highest individual honour awarded for sporting excellence and contribution at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz Stadium.
At a special function held on the SCG field of play and in front of the heritage Members and Ladies pavilions, 12 new faces were inducted as the group of life members grew from 33 to 45.
The new life members are:
• Graham Arnold (football)
• Ken Arthurson (rugby league)
• David Campese (rugby union)
• Belinda Clark (cricket)
• Richard Colless (Australian Rules)
• Glenn McGrath (cricket)
• Michael O’Loughlin (Australian Rules)
• Nick Politis (rugby league)
• Cheryl Salisbury (football)
• Basil Sellers (philanthropy)
• Mark Taylor (cricket)
• Steve Waugh (cricket)
All 12 inductees attended and were presented their life membership badges by existing life members including sprint legend Marlene Mathews, rugby league great Ron Coote and triple international Michael Cleary. Earlier in the night, they were greeted by NSW Minister for Sport Steve Kamper and Venues NSW chairman David Gallop and CEO Kerrie Mather.
The Sydney Swans congratulate Richard, Michael and Basil and congratulate them on their SCG Life Membership status. All have contributed greatly to the Sydney Swans over a long period of time and their inclusion among some of Australia's great athletes and administrators is richly deserved.
Richard Colless is a giant of Australian sports administration. His record highlighted by his remarkable tenure at the Sydney Swans after joining the board and being named club chairman in 1993. He continued in that role until the end of the 2013 season. Under his leadership, the Swans became a powerhouse on and off the field, after being on the brink of insolvency following several years of financial struggles, poor team results and small crowds. Famous names such as Ron Barassi, Tony Lockett, Paul Roos and Barry Hall were lured north. Paul Kelly (1995) and Adam Goodes (2003 and 2006) won the Brownlow Medal. The Swans were beaten in the grand final in 1996 and 2006, and won the flag in 2005 — the club’s first premiership in 72 years — and 2012. His passion for the club and reverence for its history going back to the birth of South Melbourne in 1874 saw the introduction of the Swans’ Hall of Fame in 2009 and the creation of the Swans’ Heritage List in 2011.
Michael O’Loughlin was the first player in Sydney Swans/South Melbourne history to play 300 AFL games. Only Bob Pratt (681 goals from 1930 to 1946) kicked more goals for the ‘Bloods’ than O’Loughlin’s 521 goals from 1995 to 2009. He joined the club in the final season of Ron Barassi’s time as coach, one of a group of gifted young footballers who combined with established stars such as captain Paul Kelly, Paul Roos and Tony Lockett. In his second season, he played in the AFL grand final, when the Swans were beaten by North Melbourne. In 2005, O’Loughlin was a member of the Swans’ 72-year drought-breaking premiership team in the same season he was chosen in the AFL Indigenous Team of the Century. O’Loughlin received All Australian honours in 1997 and again in 2000. His 303rd and final AFL appearance came at the SCG on 29 August 2009, after which he was inducted into the Swans Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2015. His contribution post-football continues, mentoring Indigenous talent at the Australian Institute of Sport and partnering with close friend Adam Goodes to establish the GO Foundation.
Irene and Alf Sellers and their sons, Basil and Rex, came to Australia from India in the late 1940s, to forge an extraordinary success story. They landed in Adelaide, from where Rex, a leg-spinner, earned a place in Australia’s Ashes touring team of 1964 and is now a life member of the South Australian Cricket Association. Basil became a giant of the Australian business world, a renowned philanthropist, and a keen and generous backer of sport. Basil instigated the Basil Sellers Sports Sculptures Project at the SCG precinct in 2008, when Richie Benaud was unveiled at the back of the Ladies Pavilion, the first of a series of sports legends cast in bronze around the precinct. He financed a similar venture at the Adelaide Oval. His support for the Sydney Swans has helped that AFL club become a model for other sporting organisations, and the former Swans training and administration centre at the SCG was named in his honour. Basil served as a director of Cricket NSW from 1984 to 1987, became a life member in 2009, and in 2022 was named a Vice Patron.