Around the Grounds: Darcy Bond Medal

The Kiama Phantoms named Alex Boles the first recipient of the inaugural Darcy Bond Medal – in memory of the fun-loving Phantom representative.

The Kiama Oztag Phantoms and the wider Oztag community were devastated after the passing of 22-year-old, Darcy Bond in August last year. 

Darcy was a passionate member of Kiama Oztag. He represented the Phantoms at State Cup level, the Vipers at Nationals and was also a current Australian Mixed 20s representative.

In 2021, Kiama Oztag introduced the Darcy Bond medal – an annual award that recognises a senior representative player whose passion and devotion to the game reflects that of Darcy.

Kiama Oztag Licensee, Ross Thomas said that Darcy’s character made him the type of person everyone loved, and the type of player you wanted on your team.

“As a player, he not only had great skills, but he was just so positive… no matter what, he would lift people,” he said.

Thomas said Darcy contributed immensely to the club on a regular basis, whether it be refereeing, helping with administration or coaching representative sides.

“The comp would not have run as well as it did years ago and up until last year, without Darcy – he made the competition better,”

“He had that same positive, can-do attitude outside of playing… Not having that vibrant person around anymore is what’s so upsetting for me and so many in our community,”

“The Darcy Bond medal is an opportunity for our club to honour his memory,” he said.

At a special ceremony in Kiama, Thomas and the Bond family presented the inaugural medal to long-serving Phantom representative and good friend of Darcy’s, Alex Boles.

 “I’m blown away, to be honest – it’s left me a little speechless,” Boles said during the presentation.

“It’s really special to receive the first-ever Darcy Bond Medal because he meant so much to both me and this great club,” Boles told the South Coast Register.

Each year, Phantoms coaches will gather at the NSW Senior State Cup and award the medal to a player from any senior team that reflects the same attitudes as Darcy.

“Both myself and the coaches will agree on a player who is upbeat, vibrant, encourages people and brings the team together; who may not be the best player but for example, attended all training sessions,” Thomas said.

“Whilst that recipient may not know Darcy personally, when we present the medal up there at State Cup, we will make sure everyone knows why this medal is so important and why it was named after Darcy,” he said.

Darcy’s sister Whitney Schadel alongside husband, James have since launched The Elephant Crew – a mental health organisation that while helping people speak out about mental health issues, strives to make an impact on the current mental health system.

“We have values, we have goals, which are not just talk – it’s about turning that talk into action, like paying the gap for people who can’t afford to see a health professional – which in itself can sometimes take months,” James Schadel told the South Coast Register.

With the slogan ‘Life is better with you in it’, The Elephant Crew has also introduced their own merchandise with all proceeds going to a Darcy Bond memorial trust fund, which they hope will one day fund a mental health facility in Kiama.

Numbers to call if you or anyone you know needs help are:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia 1300 789 978

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

Headspace 1800 650 890

QLife 1800 184 527