Vale Mark 'Spider' McInnes

by Brumbies Media
The ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union are mourning the loss of Mark 'Spider' McInnes, who has passed away, aged 56. 

McInnes began his rugby journey as a schoolboy at St Edmunds in 1971, playing through to 1981 and was selected in the ACT Schoolboys side of that year. 

A lock or backrower, from 1982 to1985 he played for the Vikings club in Wollongong and the Port Hacking club in the Sydney grade competition while he completed his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner.

McInnes, also known as Spider or Scotty to many, returned to Canberra in 1986 where he played for Easts Rugby Club and was immediately selected in the ACT senior representative XV. 

One year later, in 1987, he won the Tommy Byrne Memorial Trophy as the best and fairest first grade player in the ACT competition.

McInnes was made captain of his beloved Easts in 1989 and went on to win the MacDougall Medal in the same year as the outstanding first grade player in the ACT.

He played 36 representative games for the ACT between 1986 and 1990 and was selected in the Wallaby squad that toured France and Canada in 1989. 

McInnes is considered one of the most unlucky not to have played a Test for Australia through injury, but did play in four non-Test matches on the Wallaby tour of 1989.

Those non-Test games were North American Wolverines (24-6), Languedoc Regional Selection (10-19), Auvergne Selection (10-19) and Ile de France (19-21).

He was invited to play with the Australian Barbarians in 1990 and unfortunately in the same year McInnes suffered a devastating knee injury playing for the ACT against New South Wales. 

Had it not been for this injury he would have been in contention for Wallabies selection.

McInnes would also go on to play for Wasps (England) and Peebles (Scotland).

136-time capped Brumbies scrumhalf George Gregan made his first grade debut alongside McInnes.

"He was a great man, a wonderful player and more importantly as a youngster coming into club rugby he looked after us," Gregan said.

"He was like a father figure for us at Easts Rugby Club and a great leader both on and off the field.

"From a personal experience, as a number nine I always felt incredibly safe whenever I knew Spider was playing alongside me.

"Win, lose or draw, once we got back to the club, he was in the thick of it, making sure everyone was having a good time and looking after each other. That was Spider." 

McInnes is survived by his wife Tran and son Tin, ex-wife Kelly and their two sons, Will and Tom.