Nine-year-old Manly Sea Eagles Member Mikayla Keller had a match day experience to remember at Lottoland on Saturday.
Mikayla was randomly selected from our Member database to participate in a ‘Member Exclusive’ opportunity to be a part of our match day against the Canberra Raiders.
Here is her story of the day in her own words.
My match day experience
Saturday morning 8:45am, we packed the car and my Mum, Dad, older brother, and I hit the road on the way to Sydney. We live in Canberra and I was super excited when Dad told me we were going to watch our team Manly play at Lottoland as this was my first time watching Manly play other than in Canberra.
I was even more excited when I was told that I would be part of the “media experience” on match day – I did not know what to expect and I was quite nervous throughout the day, especially as I would be meeting my favourite Manly player in Daly Cherry-Evans!
We arrived at the ground around 6.30pm and went straight to the merchandise stand to buy a new jersey for myself. The home strip was not available so I went with the away strip, which still looks pretty cool. We then grabbed some hotdogs and chips and made our way to our seats in the Fulton-Menzies stand in Bay M and waited for the kick-off.
After an early penalty and try to the Raiders, we started seeing Manly make plenty of metres and it wasn’t long before we scored our first try through Jake Trbojevic. Dad and I were jumping around and high fiving with joy every time Manly scored a try and at half-time, we were leading 26 – 6!
The second half saw the Raiders score two early tries but with a penalty and late try to Manly, we ran away 36 – 16 winners, a great result and a well-deserved win I reckon. Like any Manly supporter, Dad and I don’t like seeing our team lose so making this trip was even more special after a great win.
Now I started feeling nervous as I was about to meet the Club Captain and Coach. Twenty minutes after full-time, we meet with the Manly media representative Liam Tapper, and he provides us with our media passes and leads us to the media room where we also meet Brett Finch from Fox Sports and other media. We take our seat and wait for Trent Barrett and Daly Cherry-Evans to enter the room.
As soon as Trent and Daly walked through the door, Dad and I looked at each other and smiled – WOW I can’t believe it, DCE is sitting right in front of me! When their commitments were over, we got a photo together and I even went into the dressing room to get my new jersey personally signed!
Following the Manly press conference, we sat and watched the Raiders Captain Jarrod Croker and coach Ricky Stuart answer questions from the media. My dad reckons Ricky wasn’t as fired up as he usually is.
Once the press conference was over we handed back our media passes and Liam showed us out. Liam was really nice to me and my dad and made us feel very comfortable. We then went and met with my Mum and brother who were waiting patiently for us, and then made our way back to our accommodation.
From the moment I was told we were going to Sydney to watch our team play and then to be told I was to be part of the Manly media experience, it was like I was in a dream! Like my dad, I love my team and to be able to meet my favourite player DCE really made it more special.
My dad says I should thank the Manly Club in allowing and arranging this awesome experience, especially to Erick Calderon (membership) and Liam, as I will never forget this journey as I not only got to go to Lottoland but I got to meet my NRL idol. Thank you!
Mikayla – Manly member.