Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will celebrate two of the Club’s first grade premiership wins at Brookvale Oval this Sunday.
As part of the Golden Eagles Day celebrations in the Club's 70th Anniversary year, the Sea Eagles will show video footage of Manly’s 1976 Grand Final win (13-10 over Parramatta), and the 1996 Grand Final win (20-8 over St George) prior to the main game between Manly and Newcastle at 4pm.
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We look back on the 1976 NSWRL Grand Final. Manly had previously won the first grade premierships in 1972 and 1973 since their inception in 1947. The 1976 Grand Final was Parramatta’s first premiership decider since also entering the competition in 1947.
Manly Warringah team: as pictured above: back row (from left) John Gibbs, Gary Thoroughgood, Mark Willoughby, Col Parkes, Terry Hill, Brian Wilson; Middle Row: Ken Arthurson (secretary), Steve Norton, Phil Lowe, John Harvey, Terry Randall, Russel Gartner, Tom Mooney, Frank Stanton (coach): Front row: Graham Eadie, Alan Thompson; Rod Jackson, Bob Fulton (captain), Gary Stephens, Max Krilich, Ian Martin.
Jim Porter scored first, getting Parramatta to a 5-0 lead. A penalty goal to Graham Eadie closed the score to 5-2 before Alan Thompson sidestepped through to send Phil Lowe in for Manly's first and only try. Scores were locked 7-7 at half time.
Geoff Gerard scored an unconverted try for the Eels early in the second half, then two penalties gave Manly an 11-10 lead.
Parramatta missed a critical opportunity to win the game and their first ever premiership with ten minutes of the match remaining: 15 metres out from a wide-open try line, Eels winger Neville Glover dropped the pass from John Moran which would given the Eels the match-winning try in the corner.
Another penalty gave Manly a 13-10 lead. In the frantic dying minutes Parramatta threw everything they had at the Manly defence including the infamous flying ‘wedge’ of dubious legality which had Ron Hilditch at the apex of a phalanx of players driving him towards the line. The wedge was somehow stopped by Eadie a foot short of the try line.
The Manly defence held and the Sea Eagles secured their third premiership in five seasons, while the Eels would have to wait five more years for their first.
He was full of emotion as he accepted the J J Gilitinan Shield and was able to end his playing career at Manly on the highest note.
Manly's win was a triumph for the powerful triumvirate of Fulton, coach Frank Stanton and Secretary Ken Arthurson who would all go on to higher honours in the game.
Arthurson had brought to the club players of a calibre to enable five Grand Final appearances in the 1970s for four victories. He would go on to become the Chairman of the NSWRL and Australian Rugby League.
For Stanton, it was his first success in a coaching career which was to bring two premierships and two winning Kangaroo tours.
Manly-Warringah 13 (Tries: Lowe. Goals: Eadie 5/6) d Parramatta 10 (Tries: Porter, Gerard. Goals: Peard 2/3). Referee: Gary Cook, SCG: Attendance: 57,343
Watch video footage of the 1976 Grand Final here.