Manly's inaugural first grade team: Back row (l-r) C 'Kelly' McMahon, Merv Gillmer, Keith Kirkwood, Harry Grew, Johnny Bliss (middle row l-r) Jim Hall, A 'Bert' Collins, Max Whitehead (captain), Mackie Campbell, Jim Walsh; front row (l-r) Ern Cannon, Gary Maddrell, Pat Hines.
April 12, 1947 marks a significant day in the history of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
It was 70 years ago today that the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles played their first premiership match. The Sea Eagles were granted entry to the 1947 NSWRL competition on November 4, 1946.
Three grades were played against Western Suburbs Magpies at Brookvale Oval (now known as Lottoland) with the first grade match being won by Wests 15-13.
Manly scored three tries to one with Keith ‘Meggsy’ Kirkwood having the honour of scoring the first try in first grade. Harold Johnson was the Manly Coach.
The club’s first win in first grade was a 15-7 victory against fellow newcomers Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval on May 31, 1947.
By season's end, Manly had recorded four victories from 18 rounds, enough to avoid the wooden spoon, with Parramatta winning one less game for the season in their inaugural year.
The Sea Eagles have gone on to win eight first grade premierships since 1947 and have never collected a wooden spoon in the top grade.
Manly’s 1947 first grade season
Home ground: Brookvale Oval
- First premiership match: lost 15-13 to Western Suburbs, Brookvale Oval, Saturday, April 12
- First win: vs Parramatta, 15-7, Saturday, May 31, Rd 8
- Finished: Ninth
- Top point scorer: Kelly McMahon (74 points, 8 tries, 25 goals)
- Top try scorer: Johnny Bliss (10).
- Biggest win: 33-0 vs Newtown, Rd 11, Brookvale Oval.
- Biggest loss: 61-11 vs St George, Rd 4, Hurstville Oval.
- Tries: 46, Goals: 52, Points: 242.
- 32 players used in first grade
- Coaches: Harold Johnston (Rd 1-5). 5 games, 5 losses (sacked); Ray Stehr (Rd 6-18).
- Biggest home crowd: 3,600 v Balmain Tigers, Rd 6; Average home crowd: 3,400.
Rd 1: lost 15-13 to Western Suburbs, Brookvale Oval; Rd 2; lost 33-17 to Newtown, Erskineville Oval; Rd 3: lost 15-13 to South Sydney, Sydney Sports Ground; Rd 4: lost 61-11 to St George, Hurstville Oval; Rd 5: lost 26-8 to Eastern Suburbs, Brookvale; Rd 6: lost 24-10 to Balmain, Brookvale; Rd 7: lost 21-9 to North Sydney, North Sydney Oval; Rd 8: d Parramatta 15-7, Brookvale Oval.
Rd 9: d Canterbury 24-23, Belmore Oval; Rd 10: lost to Western Suburbs 13-9, Pratten Park; Rd 11: d Newtown 33-0, Brookvale Oval; Rd 12: lost 22-16 to South Sydney, Brookvale Oval; Rd 13: lost 15-7 to St George, Brookvale Oval; Rd 14: lost to Balmain 17-0, Leichhardt Oval; Rd 15: lost to North Sydney 19-11, Brookvale Oval; Rd 16: lost 11-6 to Parramatta, Cumberland Oval; Rd 17: d Eastern Suburbs 23-12, Sydney Sports Ground; Rd 18: lost 30-17 to Canterbury, Brookvale Oval.