Sea Eagles fans will get a glimpse into the future on Sunday when Manly bound second-rower Blake Leary lines up for the Northern Pride in the inaugural NRL State Grand Final against Penrith at ANZ Stadium.
Leary, a local by birth [Mona Vale], will join Manly’s newest signings Brayden Wiliame and Zane Tetavano for the start of pre-season training next month. Leary has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the club.
Leary’s Pride booked their place in Sunday’s State Grand Final after defeating Easts Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup last weekend.
In a fiery game that saw the referee hand out five sin-bins and two send-offs in Queensland’s showpiece event, Leary has his sights set on the ultimate prize.
“I’m really looking forward to it (NRL State Grand Final). The crowd, the atmosphere down there, I suppose none of the boys would be used to anything like that,” Leary said.
“I think this team has got something special if we stick to our procedures. We showed out there what we could do, if we just stick to what we’ve got we’ll come away with the win I reckon.”
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Leary moved to the Gold Coast at the age of one, before he began playing his junior football with the Nerang Roosters and Keebra Park High School.
He spent two seasons with the Melbourne Storm under-20s in 2009 and 2010, before he signed with the North Queensland Cowboys the following season.
He played two NRL games for the Cowboys between 2012 and 2013 before being released to the Pride on a full-time basis for the 2014 season.
His form for the Cairns based outfit was rewarded when he was selected in the Queensland Residents side in July. His performances caught the eye of Sea Eagles Recruitment Manager Dave Warwick who snapped up the hard-working, edge-back rower until the end of 2016.