Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will rekindle a former link with the Sunshine Coast when the NRL team moves to South East Queensland on Wednesday.
As part of the NRL’s relocation of 12 clubs due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, Manly will join Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers, and the Sydney Roosters on the Sunshine Coast for at least a month.
Manly are no strangers to South East Queensland after the Sunshine Coast Falcons formed a partnership with the Sea Eagles to become their feeder club in 2009.
After participating in the inaugural Queensland Cup in 1996, the Falcons dropped out the following season. The Falcons were playing in a second division competition before being readmitted to the Queensland Cup due to their agreement with Manly to become the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles.
The 2009 season brought instant premiership success with the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles winning the Queensland Cup after finishing the regular season in fourth place.
In the preliminary final, the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles defeated the reigning premiers Souths Logan 30-26 before beating the second placed Northern Pride 32-18 in the Grand Final.
Manly first grade players Shane Neumann, Vic Mauro, Heath L’Estrange, Andrew Suniula, and Tony Williams played for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in the Grand Final win.
Young Manly lower grade half-back Trent Hodkinson also played in the Grand Final win and was named the Sunshine Coast Player of the Year for 2009.
With Hodkinson making his first grade debut in 2010 and securing the Manly number seven jersey, the Sea Eagles sent a then promising young half named Daly Cherry-Evans from their U20s team to serve his apprenticeship at the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles.
Cherry-Evans didn’t waste his opportunity, going on to be named the Queensland Cup Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year for 2010.
A year later, Cherry-Evans tasted NRL premiership success with the Manly Sea Eagles in his debut NRL season and was named the 2011 Dally M Rookie of the Year.
Manly were forced to cut ties with the Sunshine Coast club at the end of the 2010 season after the NSWRL changed a policy to not allow NRL teams to have feeder clubs in the Queensland Cup.
The name of the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles remained in place until the end of the 2013 season before reverting back to the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
In 2014, the Sunshine Coast Falcons formed a partnership with the Melbourne Storm which currently ends after the 2024 season.