It’s time to reflect on some of the serious, and light hearted, moments from our trip to Gladstone in the weekly ‘The Things We Learnt’ column.
Just not our day
Everyone has one bad day when things just don’t go right from the start. Unfortunately for Manly, it happened in Gladstone on Sunday against the Gold Coast Titans. From the ruling out of Tom Trbojevic with his ankle injury, Brad Parker being ill in the warm-up, conceding two tries off mistakes, losing Lachlan Croker at a vital stage, to being denied a crucial try to Joel Thompson, it just wasn’t to be. Credit to the Titans. They were tough and played well. Our boys will pick themselves up. Remember, it's only round six and we are 2 wins from 5 games. We will get there!
Welcome back, Dylan!
One of the best things from the match was the successful return of Dally M Centre of the Year in Dylan Walker from ankle and shoulder surgeries. For an active bloke who can make even the ‘Energiser Bunny’ looked tired, sitting on the sidelines during pre-season training and then missing the few four rounds was very hard. With a few more runs under his belt, the ‘Walkz’ we all have come to love will be back firing on all cylinders.
Jono in the ‘Wright’ Place
Perseverance has paid off for Jonathan Wright. The experienced winger/centre headed to Gladstone as an outside back to cover for Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker if required. With Trbojevic ruled out of the game, Wright did the pre-game warm up as required. Thinking that was it, suddenly winger Brad Parker fell ill couldn’t play. Before he knew it, Wright was playing his first game for the Sea Eagles since joining the club last year. And to top it off, his first touch of the ball resulted in a try in the opening minute. Wright now becomes the 602nd player to represent Manly in first grade. Well done, Jono!
How good was it to see second-rower Jack Gosiewski (below) make his Club debut for the Sea Eagles? This bloke can play! Now player 603 on the first grade honour roll for Many, Jack’s call up was well deserved after being the clear standout in the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles pack over the first month. And whilst he keeps working on his game to become an established NRL player, it’s time for you – the fans - to work on pronouncing his surname right using phonetic spelling. Are you ready? It is pronounced ‘Go-jev-ski’. Take a quick hit up, say it 10 times, and you will be fine! Or if you prefer, just yell out ‘Go Jack’.
Eagles Rock Gladstone
This quiet (actually make that very, very quiet) regional town went from empty streets with no one around to being a packed City Centre Plaza when hundreds of passionate and proud Manly fans converged to meet the players and Coach Trent Barrett at lunch time on Saturday. It was a sea of maroon and white as fans of all ages – many who travelled long distances and several hours – enjoyed the opportunity to get autographs and photos. To say the club was blown away by the turnout would be an understatement. Our fans certainly made Gladstone rock (for an hour at least). The old theory that ‘Manly Fans Don’t Travel’ is dead! Thanks to all those who attended, including the bloke wearing a Parramatta Eels jersey. For some bizarre reason, he kept hearing shouts of ‘54-0’ aimed at him. Cheeky fans!
It was a fantastic atmosphere at Marley Brown Oval on Sunday for the sold out clash with the Titans. Tickets in the small grandstand were snapped up in 60 seconds, meaning the large majority of the 5135 strong crowd were forced to stand (no camping chairs allowed.). But it didn’t matter. And even though the Sea Eagles went down in the end, they were still winners in the eyes of passionate Members and fans like Brett from the Sunshine Coast, Sean from Rockhampton, Margaret from Emerald, to Leigh and Jerina from Narrabeen – the latter towing their caravan for six days to cheer the boys on. They even met the great Andrew Voss! To every fan who made the long journey, we say thank you for your man-of-the-match efforts. You get our game ball this week.
Manly fans, we are back home this Sunday for what will be a HUGE day of rugby league at Lottoland. And it all starts from 11.30am when our Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams play in the NSWRL finals. The Sea Eagles teams feature many talented local juniors and both sides play a great, attacking style of footy. It will be followed by a blockbuster between Manly and the high flying Wests Tigers in what will be another classic ‘Silvertails vs Fibros’ battle at ‘The Fortress’. We need you there, Sea Eagles fans! Sunday footy at our beloved home ground – you can’t beat it!