Travis in blue scrum cap helping drop a Petone ball runner

The goat sat down for a yarn with one of the faces of the club over the last decade or so, Travis Graham (well OK you got me it was over messenger). Travis was part of the 2007 Under 19 Green team when the grade used to include Wairarapa teams.

Tell us about where you came from to join OBU?

The year was 2007 and I had moved down from Taranaki to study Theatre and Law at Victoria University. During O-week I signed up to come play and then never made it to any of the preseason training, a trend for much of my rugby career. By the time the first under 19s trial against Johnsonville rolled around, I was late and there were already over 40 other guys vying for game time so I wandered off and watched from the side. One of the Jville assistant coaches approached me and asked if I wanted to come and play out there the following week and I said I would. Then on Monday, I was chatting to a classmate and he played for MSP who reckoned I should head out there. Tuesday morning I was getting ready for a lecture when my phone rang, the older gentlemen on the other ends said words to the effect of “Gidday mate its Dave Loveridge from OBU, see you at training tonight”. And that pretty much sealed it. I subsequently played for OBU from 2007-2011 with a short reprieve in 2014.

What is your favourite on-field memory?

Tough one to narrow down but one I do remember well was back in that first year of under 19s, 2007, third preseason game and we played MSP. As it was the first weekend of the holidays we were a very depleted squad, so much so by midway through the second half a spritely Sneaky Pete McFarlane had his boots on and was charging up the field*. The opposition wasn’t sure whether they were allowed to tackle him or how hard they should hit him, the bewilderment on their faces was priceless. Then Pete barrelled straight into one of them and it was game on.

What is your favourite off-field memory?

I suspect this is one of the most challenging questions for others to answer. One of my fondest and perhaps most shameful occurred back in 2009. We were coached by Michael Barnes, Bennett Carrol and (when he was available) OBU legend Conrad Smith. One Saturday we were playing Upper Hutt out there and every single one of us, 1-22 plus extras, showed up in a state. We were well beaten before the first whistle. After the game, heads hanging in shame we were given a very composed dressing down by Snakey. I believe “disrespect for yourselves, the club and the game” were his exact words. 

Are you involved in rugby these days? Tell us about it.


I’m a professional actor so rugby hasn’t always conducive to that, fortunately, I’ve only had to excuse away a black eye on a couple of occasions. That said, I missed playing so I started again this year after a two-year break. I live in East Auckland now and play for Pakuranga. I rocked up to the end of preseason (standard) hoping to play for their Senior 1s team and a week later found myself playing my second ever game of prems rugby aged 31. I’m not, nor ever have been a particularly talented player but I still enjoy having a run-around and then the camaraderie that goes hand in hand with the sport.

What’s life like after OBU? Where are you these days? Work, family.

After OBU/Wellington my then partner now wife and I moved back to Taranaki for a couple of years (where I played for the Tukapa rugby development team under the watchful eye of former Goat Jason Holt) After brief stints in Brisbane and Wellington we settled in Auckland in 2015 so I could continue to my acting career on stage and screen. I am currently in Perth till the end of the year working at the Pop Up Globe Theatre performing Shakespeare (shameless plug) so if you’ve got friends and family out in Western Australia encourage them to head along.

Any messages of inspiration you want to pass back to the Goat community?

Whilst I have played for three other clubs since leaving I don’t feel the same loyalty to them as I

did to OBU. Every weekend I still check-in to see who’s playing for the prems and how they got on (Finbarr and Fui are the only players I know still hanging around).

There is something unique about the club, Bridge, Basin, Trapper perhaps? That’s makes it like no other.

I hope that the club continues to produce good people and that on a Saturday night “Queen of my heart” continues to be bellowed out across the bar.


Travis “Lakey” Graham

If you’re reading this from Perth WA then get along to the pop-up globe to support Lakey. Tell him the Goat sent you!

*Pete was the manager at the time and, at 42 years, easily qualified as the whole front row by age.