Anthony Robert Mathison

PositionTight Head Prop

Biography

Anthony Mathison was a highly decorated schools and aged representative tight head prop, who had a highly promising career cut short by injury.  

Born and bred in Brisbane, Mathison played his first rugby at prop for the Marist College, Ashgrove U10s. In his final year Mathison played for the Ashgrove 1st XV (1998) and from there won selection for Queensland Schools and later Australian Schools with whom he toured Canada and the U.K. alongside fellow future Wallabies Dan Heenan, David Lyons, John Mann-Rea and George Smith.

After school Mathison played his rugby at GPS, a club for whom he first appeared in the U13s. He went on to attain additional representative honours with selection for Australia U19s (1999), Australian U19s and U21s, incredibly in the same year (2000) and Australian U21s (2001). Mathison’s first big break at senior level came in 2002 when he won the first of his 29 state caps with a debut off the bench for Queensland in their 19-26 loss to the Crusaders in Greymouth. He then played a third season for the Australian U21s and scored a try in the Southern Hemisphere Championship final loss to South Africa.

In 2003 Queensland was blessed with three Wallaby front row forwards - Fletcher Dyson, Nick Stiles and Glen Panoho - and Mathison had to be content with simply making the team’s match day squad for much of the season. That situation changed in 2004 and with Panoho and Dyson no longer on the scene, Mathison became the Reds’ first choice number three. So good was his first full season of senior rugby that Mathison won selection for the Wallaby end-of-season Spring Tour to the U.K. and Europe. While Al Baxter was preferred for each of the four internationals, Mathison made his debut for Australia in the uncapped match against the French Barbarians in Paris.  

The arrival of Greg Holmes and Rodney Blake limited Mathison’s starting appearances in 2006 however it was his appearance off the bench against the Highlanders in Townsville that led to a serious operation. Mathison had injured his neck at training ahead of the match however the extent of the damage was not diagnosed for several weeks. As a consequence, Mathison underwent a spinal fusion of the C7-T1 vertebrae. Fortunately, the procedure was successful and healed well however an attempted comeback was then thwarted by a back-related issue. A painful worn joint flared whenever he packed into a scrum. “If I was a back rower or a back it would not be an issue, but when I pack into the front row the pressure produces an intense pain that actually takes my breath away and it’s a few minutes before I can breathe properly again,” Mathison said. Following a consultation with the Reds medical staff Mathison retired, aged just 26.

Importantly, Mathison was not lost to the game in retirement. He has gone on to hold various coaching positions at the University of Queensland (Forwards Coach 2012-13); Brothers (Head Coach 2014-15 & 2020), Queensland Country and Queensland U20s (Assistant Coach 2014), Brisbane City (Assistant Coach 2016), Munster (2015), GPS (2017 and, in 2018, to their first premiership in 22 years), Marist Ashgrove (2019) and Queensland Super W (2021).

Highlights

1998

Represented Australian Schools winning six caps vs. New Zealand Schools, Canada U19s, Ireland Schools, Scotland U19s, Wales Schools and England Schools

1999

Australia U19s
 
2000

Australia U19s and Australian U21s
Anthony Robert Mathison