Returning to the historic Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday will be like a trip down memory lane for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
Saturday’s season opener against the Sydney Roosters marks the first time the Sea Eagles have played at the famous SCG since August 8, 2014, when Manly lost 23-4 to South Sydney.
Current Manly players Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Jorge Taufua and Dylan Walker played in the match. Walker lined up in the centres for Souths that day.
The Sea Eagles have won 69 of their 163 matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground since the club entered the then NSWRL first grade premiership competition in 1947.
After losing their opening two matches at the SCG, the Sea Eagles recorded their first premiership win at the ground on April 14, 1951 – a 19-15 win over the Balmain Tigers in which electrifying winger Johnny Bliss scored two tries.
Manly’s last win at the SCG was on April 30, 2006, a thrilling 23-22 victory over the Parramatta Eels on a day when the Sea Eagles got home on the back of a Matt Orford field goal. Current Manly NRL Assistant Coach Michael Monaghan played hooker for the Sea Eagles in the win under Coach Des Hasler.
As for this Saturday’s opponents, the Roosters, the last time Manly played the tri-colours at the SCG was in 1987.
On that day, the Sea Eagles beat the then Eastern Suburbs Roosters 10-6 in the preliminary final. Current Manly Coach Des Hasler was the Sea Eagles half-back with Recruitment Manager Noel ‘Crusher’ Cleal in the second-row. The Sea Eagles were coached by Club Immortal, Bob Fulton.
A week later, Manly beat the Canberra Raiders 18-8 to win the premiership in the last ever Grand Final held at the SCG.
The 1987 decider was one of five Grand Final victories for the Sea Eagles at the SCG. It was the last ever rugby league premiership decider played at the SCG.
The Sea Eagles beat the Roosters 19-14 in the 1972 Grand Final to claim its first premiership after finishing runners-up on five previous occasions.
Manly also won the 1973, 1976 and 1978 premierships at the SCG, including the famous Grand Final Replay against Cronulla in 1978.