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With the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles celebrating its 75th year in 2021, we take a look at some of the greatest players to wear the maroon and white jersey.

Today's feature in the '75 series' is on blockbusting centre Chris Close, who played 100 games for Manly after making his club debut in 1982.

Chris Close (#285)

Hailing from Cunnamulla in Queensland, Close scored 52 tries during the 1978 season before joining Brisbane Valleys. Close represented Combined Brisbane in the Amco Cup competition in 1979 and made his debut for Queensland the same year.

In 1980, while playing for Redcliffe, he was chosen on the Australian tour of NZ but it was his man-of-the-match performance in the inaugural State of Origin match that year that turned heads.

'Choppy' Close was a fierce competitor, as his back-hander to the face of opposing winger Eric Grothe in 1981's State of Origin match testifies; a forward-sized centre who also excelled on the wing in his early career.

Signed by Manly in 1982, he was a regular visitor to the State of Origin arena during the 1980s. Close scored 39 tries for the Sea Eagles including a hat-trick against the Western Suburbs Magpies at Lidcombe Oval in round 2 in 1985. Seven times he scored two tries in a game for Manly.

Close carves up the Blues

Close appeared in three Tests on the 1985 tour of NZ but failed to tour with the Kangaroos the following year.

After playing in Manly's reserve grade grand final loss in 1987, he linked with the newly formed G’Coast club where his experience was used to good effect in the forwards.

After his retirement as a player, Close filled the role of Queensland State of Origin team manager under Paul Vautin (1995-97), Wayne Bennett (1998 & 2001-5) and Mark Murray (1999-00).