7 April 2021

All in the family: meet Canberra’s top sporting siblings

| Tim Gavel
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Lauren Keir and Dan Keir

Canberra United’s Lauren Keir and her brother Dan Keir are part of a talented sporting family. Photo Michelle Kroll.

It is a commentator’s nightmare calling “Lonergan to Lonergan” when both Lachlan and Ryan come off the bench, often at the same time, to add impact to the Brumbies.

Lachie’s selection in the Wallaby train-on-squad has lifted his profile, while Ryan’s kick after the siren to win the game against the Rebels will long live in the memory of Brumbies fans.

Commentary aside, it highlights Canberra’s impressive heritage when it comes to sporting siblings.

Ryan Lonergan

Ryan Lonergan and his brother Lachlan Lonergan; both part of the Brumbies 2020 squad. Photo: Supplied.

Before the emergence of the Lonergans, the Fainga’a twins, Anthony and Saia, were star attractions for the Brumbies. Then along came younger brother Colby.

The Brumbies feature strongly in Canberra’s top sporting siblings, with Manny and Huia Edmonds also prominent, and the Giteaus. Not to be overshadowed by her brother, Wallaby legend Matt, Kristy has an impressive sporting CV, representing Australia at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2010.

Canberra hockey icon Katrina Powell is back in the news following her appointment as coach of the Hockeyroos in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics. Katrina and her sister Lisa are dual Olympic gold medallists.

The Bruce family have had an enormous influence on AFL in Canberra and beyond. Josh Bruce kicked a career-high 10 goals in the Western Bulldogs’ massive win over North Melbourne while his brother Aaron captained the Canberra Demons in the NEAFL, playing a record 157 games and kicking 200 goals.

Josh Bruce

Josh Bruce (pictured) and his brother Aaron are both talented football players. Photo: Supplied.

Nikki Campbell was one of Australia’s leading golfers on the women’s tour and her brother, Chris, won three tournaments as a professional.

In tennis, Annabel Ellwood reached a career-high ranking of 57 in the world in 1997. Brother Ben reached 140 in 1996.

Todd Larkham, now one of Australia’s leading tennis coaches, peaked at 136 in 2003. Older brother Brent made the third round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in 1994 and achieved a career-high ranking of 108.

Three times World Time Trial champion and Tour de France stage winner Michael Rogers is a member of Canberra’s most impressive cycling family. Older brothers Peter and Deane also represented Australia, and Deane took out the World Junior title.

They aren’t the only Rogers family. There’s Peta Rogers, who played for the Darters in netball, and cricketers John and Tom. John went on to play for Tasmania and then Western Australia while brother Tom plays domestically for Tasmania.

In the 1989 NSW Rugby League grand final, the Raiders’ premiership-winning team featured Steve Walters in the starting side, with brother Kevin coming off the bench.

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The Bates twins, Neal and Rick, have had enormous success in rally driving and continue to be influential in the sport nationally. And the Bates name remains prominent thanks to Neal’s sons, Harry and Lewis, champions in their own right.

Also in cricket, there are the Dean brothers, Jono and Blake, while the Floros family is hard to beat with four brothers emerging as top players. Jason, Benji, Tim and Matthew have had an enormous influence on indoor and outdoor cricket in Canberra.

Then, there were twin sisters Nicole Begg and Ashleigh Sykes, who were stars for Canberra United in the W League.

When it comes to multi-sports, it is hard to go past the Keir family. Steve Keir was a former first-grade rugby league player with Easts and the Raiders. Steve’s wife, Dianne, was an ACT hockey and squash representative, while daughter Lauren plays with Canberra United. Lauren’s older sister Ashley was on the tennis tour, and younger brother Daniel is now playing rugby league with Redcliffe in Brisbane, having played in the Raiders’ junior rep teams … and we haven’t even mentioned the Furners.

The support required for such sports talent begins with the family and requires a network of coaches and facilities that cannot be forgotten as an underpinning of each and every elite sportsperson. As a home for so many sports families, Canberra should be proud of this depth and breadth of experience and talent.

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