The Southern Rugby Alliance was established by Simon Bennett (President) and Marcus Carbone (Vice President), one retired and the other a current injured player of the Southern Districts Rugby Club, now lawyers working at Southern Waters Legal in Cronulla. They identified a severe lack of support, funding and vision for the junior rugby clubs and schools in the region which in turn is crippling the pathway for both social and aspirational rugby players.
They also recognise the power of the rugby community and hope to harness that power to create greater business opportunities for those in the rugby family and increase social awareness for mental health and wellbeing.
President & Co-Founder
Simon Bennett was born and raised in the Sutherland Shire. Simon played 10 years of junior rugby with Sylvania Bulldogs and was lucky enough during that time to also represent Southern Districts Juniors (captaining a state championship winning team) and also Sydney and NSW. From the Juniors Simon joined the Southern Districts Colts program where he had the great pleasure of captaining the first ever Southern Districts team to make a grand final.
Simon went on to make his first grade Shute Shield debut at Southern Districts and also spent a number of years at West Harbour winning a Colin Caird Shield in 2002. A series of injuries and over 6 operations (including 3 shoulder reconstructions) led to Simon’s retirement from rugby (although he still sneaks in a veterans game every now and then including winning the Bali 10’s with the Austin All Stars in 2018.
Since retiring, Simon has been heavily involved in coaching junior rugby. From 2010 Simon has coached 2 teams a year for Burraneer and also a Southern District junior representative team from 2015 till now. Simon has been recognised for his service to coaching and rugby as a finalist for the Asteron Life Community Australian Coach of the Year award in 2014 and for his tireless efforts for rugby as a Cook community Award winner in 2019.
Away from the rugby field Simon is a proud family man having married his childhood sweetheart and raising 3 great children. Simon studied Law and commerce at the University of Wollongong and continues to serve the community as a lawyer at Southern Waters Legal, the firm he co founded in 2009. Simon has taken many of the lessons learned on and around the rugby field into his business life, building a very successful award winning legal firm.
SImon is extremely passionate about:
Increasing participation in rugby,
Embracing the growing female numbers,
Ensuring pathways exist for those outside the traditional rugby system
Communicating the wonderful and significant benefits and opportunities that exist in rugby and
growing the connections within the wider rugby community.
Simon is excited to help facilitate these goals through the Southern Rugby Alliance
Vice President and Co-Founder
Marcus was born and raised in the Sutherland Shire, playing his junior rugby for Burraneer Rugby Club, rising through the ranks of the colts system at Southern Districts Rugby Union Club and has been a constant fixture in first grade Southern Districts Shute Shield Side for the past 6 years. After captaining both Colts and 2nd Grade between 2010-2012, Marcus made his first grade debut for Southern Districts in 2013 and started in the 2014 grand final against Eastwood.
Marcus has been the first grade captain of Southern Districts for the past 5 years, save for a short period where he spent an off-season playing professional rugby in Italy in 2016-17. Marcus also played for the Greater Sydney Rams in the National Rugby Competition between 2014-2018 and was runner-up Ken Catchpole Medalist in 2018.
Unfortunately In 2020, Marcus suffered a second ACL rupture (following the same in 2019) which sees him out of action until at least 2022. It was at this point where he realised that he could serve a greater purpose in the rugby community and although not his first choice, create a different and everlasting legacy in rugby.
During his tenure at the club, Marcus also studied at the University of Technology, Sydney where he obtained a combined bachelors degree of Law and Business. He was admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of NSW in 2015 and now works for Southern Waters Legal, a law firm based in the heart of Cronulla.
Marcus is very passionate about the development of rugby union in the southern regions of Sydney and feels that the lack of a pathway for children to pursue a professional career in the sport needs to be rectified to ensure the future of rugby in the catchment area.
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Chief Technology Officer