Jason Ryan is without doubt one of Manly’s most loyal and passionate Members.
Nick-named ‘Shearer’ after that legendary Sea Eagles, Qld, and Australian full-back, Dale Shearer, Jason flew out of Perth on Thursday morning for the five hour flight to Sydney to attend Manly’s season launch last night.
Today, he flies home to Perth. And waiting for him after another long fight, will be wife, Belinda – a South Sydney supporter.
“She is a Souths fan first, and then (barracks for) any team that is playing Manly,’’ he laughed.
“I have got a fair bit of Manly memorabilia around the house though. Most of the rooms are painted in maroon, and the other half is in green, so we sort of have an even balance.
“She is very understanding although when I get home, the house will probably be painted again, and the garden redone. She loves her garden. I love Manly.”
Born and raised on Norfolk Island, Jason says it was a lack of support for Manly that led to him cheering on the mighty maroon and white.
“When I was five or six, all of the rugby league games we watched on video, everyone used to barrack against Manly on the island,’’ he recalled.
“I thought this can’t be right, and somebody has to support them, so I started cheering for Manly.
“Even to this day now on Norfolk Island, people still hate Manly as I found out again during a recent visit.
“People on Norfolk Island are spoilt today with their rugby league coverage as Foxtel is available through the satellites.
“In the old days, you basically had to wait for a video of a rugby league game to arrive, and by then, you knew the score.
“Depending on whether the tape went on the plane or the boat, it could take up to a month or six weeks back in the mid-80s. Around the early 90s, we started to get the games shown on Nine live.”
And as for that Shearer nick-name? It wasn’t after his favourite Manly player either. That honour belongs to the wonderful Cliff Lyons.
“I used to play a bit of full-back at school, so I’ve always liked the full-backs…Dale Shearer, Matthew Ridge, Brett Stewart, and now Tom Trbojevic.”
As for how he ended up living in Perth, he travelled there 25 years ago to visit a friend who was working in the mines.
“It was supposed to be for just three months,’’ he laughed.
Jason, who works for Virgin Airlines, will take to the skies again in a fortnight when he travels to Lottoland for the round two home clash against South Sydney.
He has also booked in flights for the games against Melbourne in round 7 and Canberra in round 13, both at Lottoland, where he will take up his reserved seat in the Jane Try Stand.
Perth’s NIB Stadium will be a ‘home game’ for Jason when the Sea Eagles return there to tackle the New Zealand Warriors in round 17 in July.
Furthermore, Jason donated four memberships to the club’s charity partner, Royal Far West, to enable country children to enjoy a live game at Lottoland.
“When you see some of the kids involved in Royal Far West, they don’t have a lot. I am in a fortunate position where I can pretty much do what I want, so I can afford these memberships,’’ Jason added.
“These kids are away from their families. A simple day out at the footy cheering on the Sea Eagles is probably the highlight of their year.”