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Today, we feature former Manly half-back Steve Martin in our Golden Eagles 'Where Are They Now' series.

Martin played in the 1978 premiership winning team against the Cronulla Sharks.

He scored 21 tries in 70 matches for the Sea Eagles from 1978-81.

Read what Sea Eagle #261 had to say about his career.

Q&A: Steve Martin

You grew up in Wagga Wagga and played rugby league for the Kangaroo Panthers Club in 1972. At 18, you were playing first grade. Tell us about that?

I played Rugby League and Australian Rules as a kid because in those days, it was weight, not age. I started playing rugby league at 5 stone 7 pounds for the Kangaroo Panthers. Then it all went to age, and I was playing U18s when I started playing first grade for the Wagga Kangaroos.

Who gave you your nick-name, ‘Whiz’? It’s a great one!

I don’t remember who gave me the nick-name but it was because I was really quick over a  short distance. I also had a good read on the game. So I ended up “The Whiz Kid”. It was from the Manly Club.

How did the offer to join Manly in 1978 come about? You scored 7 tries in 18 games in an incredible debut season. How pleasing was that?

My father in-law is Phil Jackson. He played 30 Tests for Great Britain in the 1950s, and knew Ken Arthurson. I got a trial and 'Arko' signed me to a one-year deal.  Manly had an incredible year - a Grand Final draw, a GF Replay and a premiership win. I was then named in the Australian team to tour Great Britain and France.  'Arko' then signed me to a three-year deal.         

You played half in the 1978 Grand Final draw against Cronulla, and then three days later, in the GF Replay, in what was the team's fifth game in 16 days. What an effort!

That Manly team was incredible. We had great management and coaching. I was only young so I learned a lot.

You played behind a great forward pack in 1978 and some wonderful players in the backline. What made that team so special under Captain Max Krilich and Coach Frank Stanton?

Frank was a great coach and 'Thrower' was a great captain. It was demanded that we gave 110% effort every game.

Half-back Steve Martin (1978-81) scored 21 tries in 70 games. Nick-name 'The Whiz'
Half-back Steve Martin (1978-81) scored 21 tries in 70 games. Nick-name 'The Whiz'

You played 11 matches on the 1978 Kangaroo tour where you made your sole Test appearance as a centre against France. How was that experience with the Australian team?

Back in those days of the Kangaroo tours, there were two games a week for three months. It was a great experience and we worked hard. We had a fantastic time.

You played 70 matches for Manly. How do you look back on your time at the club?

I had an exceptional experience at Manly. I was a kid from Wagga Wagga who got a trial game. Manly was 'red hot' in 1978 and we had an exceptional season. I had four seasons at Manly. A great club.

After playing centre, five-eighth, halfback and lock for Manly, you head to Balmain in 1982 to cement a first grade place as halfback. How was your time there under Frank Stanton?

I did go to Balmain for that reason, but I would not have if gone there if Frank Stanton was not there. Balmain were very strong then and did very well.

Following retirement, you take up coaching where you made the 1991 Final with the North Sydney Bears. Did you enjoy the rivalry with Manly?

There was plenty of rivalry between the Sea Eagles and the Bears back then. They are two great clubs. 

The Gold Coast has become home for many ex-Manly players and officials over the years. It must be a great re-union each time?

There are plenty up here, that's for sure. It must be that we are close to the ocean as we were at Manly. We have a number of get togethers all the time.

What is Steve Martin doing today?

My wife and I retired a year ago. We sold a Management Rights Business on a Holiday Apartment Building on the Gold Coast. We have two sons, Jackson (26) and Frazer (25). Both are tradesmen. 

Where Are They Now series

Michael O'Connor

Steve Bell 

Glenn Hall

Ben Farrar