Holmes brothers ready for Shute Shield finale

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Josh and Luke Holmes wanted to be Warringah Rats before they wanted to be Wallabies or Super Rugby players.

Rat Park was a second home for them, mucking around at the club during the week and doing the ball boy duties for first grade on weekends as their dad, Mark, played.

“I remember being here as a kid,” Luke recalls.

“I remember me and Josh getting in trouble and being suspended from the club because we got in a barrel and rolled down the hill and it ran over some eggs and one of the old guys banned me and Josh for six weeks from the club and we were just like, 'Mate, what are we going to do?'.

“We've just been around here for so long, it's just been part of our life.”

They both went on to play Super Rugby for multiple clubs but have been reunited at the Rats in recent years.

Josh in action for Warringah. Photo: Karen WatsonBack in Sydney’s northern beaches, the pair live around the corner from each other and when they run out on a Saturday afternoon, Luke always has Josh’s back.

“We always follow each other when we go on the field,” Josh said.

“It's nice knowing when I walk out there I feel like he's got my back and I'm going out there with not just my brother, but he's a part of the boys and I love that.”

Saturday’s grand final will be their last match together with Luke set to retire.

Though they won’t be playing together next year, Luke doesn’t believe much will change.

“We'll always be around watching and I'll just be hopefully with a beer in hand sitting up there, I'll be at the top of the grandstand yelling at Josh with Dad, so that'll be the only change.”

The family spectator role has long been flipped with dad Mark and mum Kerry watching on each week, along with Luke and Josh’s partners, Luke’s four kids and Josh’s dog, Batman.

Mark especially rides the wave with his two boys, with an immense passion for the club where they have spent so much time.

“He's emotional,” Josh said.

“He hasn't had a haircut since round seven.

“He has a belief that when he gets a haircut we lose so that's the last time we lost round seven to Manly.”

Warringah’s run to their first Sydney first grade premiership last year was an emotional one for the brothers.

When the players returned to the club after that grand final supporters had made a tunnel that spanned hundreds of metres and a repeat effort would be just as special this weekend.

“Luke got injured halfway through the season and it was touch and go whether he was going to play it was the first year we made the grand final and he snuck in and ended up playing the grand final and we got to share that moment together which was pretty surreal I think,” Josh said.

“It happened so quickly and then it was sort of like the dream to fulfil the dream.

“I think this year's been a better ride, we've had to earn it and...people have turned around and said last year we probably got there because we had emotion and tragedy and the boys stuck together.

“I think this year we've actually we're a good footy team. We deserve to be where we are.”

The Shute Shield grand final between Sydney Uni and Warringah kicks off at 3:10pm AEST, LIVE on 7TWO.