We caught up with former Manly forward Glenn Hall for our Golden Eagles 'Where Are They Now' series.
Hall played 65 matches for the Sea Eagles between 2007-09. He played in the second-row in Manly's 2008 premiership winning Grand Final team.
Read what Sea Eagle #512 had to say about a career that saw him play 192 first grade games from 2002-15.
Q&A: Glenn Hall
You joined Manly in 2007 after stints at Canterbury (NRL debut), Souths and the Roosters. What attracted you to the Sea Eagles?
(Recruitment Manager) Noel ‘Crusher’ Cleal and Coach Des Hasler thought I would be a good addition to the team that was going to be there the following year. They spoke very clearly of the direction they wanted to go and how they saw me working in with that plan. It was also the challenge of me earning a spot in the team as there was already a very strong forward pack.
How much of an influence did Des Hasler have on you?
Des was a massive calming influence on me. He really helped me realise my strengths and weaknesses as a player and that the only thing I could control was my efforts. He was always very clear with his instructions and what he wanted me to focus on from game to game. It really helped me with my confidence and I developed a lot of trust with Des as a coach.
What was it like to play and learn from experienced props like Jason King, Brent Kite, and Josh Perry?
They had proven themselves as genuine tough props in the NRL. They had the work ethic that I wanted for myself as a player. I learnt the most probably from ‘Kingy’. I admired his tremendous efforts and leadership. He taught me how to be a full-time professional and what was needed to perform consistently week to week.
The back row of Steve Menzies, Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough was an international one. How was it playing with those quality players?
You could always depend on them to turn up and compete. They were very reliable team-mates. All of them were so competitive on the field but had a great ability to switch on and off when they needed to and relax. Playing alongside them was a tremendous privilege.
When you were called into the team, be it at prop or second-row, you always did your job well. You must have taken a lot of pride from that?
Consistency was an area that I wanted to focus on. I knew for me to earn the right to wear that jersey again the following week, I had to give my best. We also had a lot of depth in the squad who were all fighting hard every week to wear the jersey in the NRL side. I also wanted to do my job the best that I could so that I didn’t let anyone else down.
You start in the second-row in the last six games in 2008 and end up winning a premiership. How special was that?
When I started against the Wests Tigers in round 24, it was new territory for me. I didn’t feel any pressure because I believed I was in a caretaker’s role. I could just enjoy the opportunity and learn some valuable lessons before returning to the bench. After a few weeks, I thought something was wrong because, in my mind, ‘Beaver’ should have been starting in front of me, especially with the finals ahead. I spoke to Des and he assured me nothing was wrong. He told me I had kept the spot because I earned it. He congratulated me. Looking back, that was an extremely confidence building moment in my career.
One of the many highlights in the incredible 40-0 Grand Final win was your break in the second half that led to a spectacular try. Take us through that great moment?
I was pushing into the line to draw defenders for 'Ox' (Matt Orford) to hit a runner behind me. I was cranky because the two players in the line I was running between were Jeremy Smith and Greg Inglis. ‘Ox’ fed me the pill and I thought I was about to get folded. I was saying to myself, “just catch it, just catch it”. I think the lights in the stadium had just got turned on and the shine on my white legs was enough to blind the Storm for a split second long enough for me to slice through. After that I panicked. I think it was the first, and last time, I ever tasted fresh air, and I had no bloody clue what to do. I went through all possible scenarios very quickly in my head. Do I put on a Benji Marshall step? What would it look like if a middle player chipped and chased in a GF? What if it comes off? Fortunately, I did what anyone else in that situation would have done. I prayed for 'Snake' (Brett Stewart) to be there. He was pretty much walking alongside me and I got a very ordinary pass to him and then for him to deliver the flick pass to Steve Bell was another thing. How good!
Take us through the joys of doing a lap of honour?
I took my time to really take it all in. Our fans were so pumped up. I gave my fiancée Kylie a big sloppy kiss and gave mum a huge cuddle. My dad had a very proud look on his face but a part of that was he knew we were going back to the Manly Leagues Club for a big celebration! I also found my three brothers, sister, sister-in-law, and my best mate, Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddell and his partner Karli. ‘Piggy’ was even wearing a Manly shirt in support. It was so pleasing to be able to share and celebrate that emotion with all my family and best mate. They had played a huge part in my life and football for me to be there that day.
You finish up at Manly in 2009 but it was also a very tough year for you and your wife, Kylie, on a family front. You then head together to Bradford. Can you tell us about that year?
It was a very enjoyable year for me footy wise but I struggled to find a consistent rhythm each week. On a personal front, my wife and I were devastated by the still birth of our first-born son, Lachlan Hall. We received tremendous support from the club, players, partners and fans at the time. Even now, I would still like to thank them for their thoughts and prayers through that difficult time. Going to Bradford was an opportunity for myself, given I was getting a little older and the thought of being able to play the game I loved, and see the world was an exciting thought. We lived with ‘Beaver’ (Steve Menzies) and Suyin when we first moved over there. We had a good little gang of ex-Manly players there in ‘Beaver’, ‘Strangy’ (Heath L'estrange), ‘Ox’, ‘Boxy’ (Mark Bryant) and myself. It was certainly enjoyable.
Following Bradford, you have five years at the Nth Qld Cowboys and the club wins their first premiership. How was that experience?
It was outstanding, and a relief, at the same time. The relief of being able to give the people of North Queensland a reward for their support and loyalty. Outstanding because of the hard work, building and planning put in the years leading into, and including 2015, to see it all come off the way it did and for the group we had. The 2015 year at the Cowboys had a very similar feel to the 2008 year at Manly in terms of an extremely strong bond. Having ‘JT’ may have also helped (laughs).
How special is the bond still with the 2008 team now and what does it mean to you to be part of the Golden Eagles Association?
We had a 10-year reunion in 2018 at the Manly v Storm game and I remember being excited to see the boys who were attending. It could be years between seeing each other but the bond created through those years at Manly will always be there. The Golden Eagles days are very special. It’s important to celebrate the people who the laid the foundations to help the club to be what it is today. No matter how big or small a part they played, they are a piece of the puzzle and a part of the story.
Finally, you are working for the Cowboys. Take us through your role there?
I’m the Football Programs Manager. I manage everything below the NRL from junior contracted players, Academy Programs, Development Programs, as well as being the direct report for the Cowboys’ three feeder clubs.
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