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Long journey brings rewards for Toff Sipley

You can’t help but love Toff Sipley.

Full of energy, enthusiasm, and a passion for life and rugby league.

A game that, at times, has delivered a fair share of hard knocks to the 27-year-old Manly prop.

But each time adversity strikes, Sipley fights back even harder through sheer determination when many would simply lay down.

It is why tonight’s match against the St George-Illawarra Dragons is extra special when Sipley plays his 50th game in the NRL.

Fifty games may not have the same illustrious fanfare as those of 100, 200 or even 300, but it’s even more rewarding considering the long journey Sipley has taken since his NRL debut for the Warriors in 2016.

A year earlier, Sipley suffered an ACL, MCL and PCL injury in one game playing for the Warriors U20s team.

It would have ended the careers of most 20-year-olds and came a week after he was picked in the Junior Kiwis squad. The injury sidelined him for 10 months.

Since arriving at Manly in 2018, Sipley has played 48 first grade games in between battling injuries and applying his trade for Blacktown Workers in the NSW Cup.

However, Sipley enjoyed a break out season in 2021, playing 20 games and was unlucky not to feature in the team’s finals campaign.

Sipley’s energy and positivity around team camp on the Sunshine Coast made him a popular winner of the Clubman of the Year award.

Childhood friend in fellow Manly prop Josh Aloiai said Sipley deserves the success he is now enjoying this season.

“Everyone goes on a unique journey and Toff has had one of those full of setbacks and adversity, but it’s a big credit to him for sticking it out. He can be proud of his 50 games in the NRL,’’ Aloiai said.

“Toff and I grew up together in west Auckland and we played junior football together.

He is a quality human being and is one those guys who is always good to have around.

Josh Aloiai on Toff Sipley

"Toff adds so much to our team dynamic as he is always super positive and is really good for club culture.”

Experienced prop Martin Taupau said Sipley was a respected clubman.

“Toff is always the happy one in the club. He brings a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. He grinds away and works really hard on his craft,’’ Taupau said.

“He has been rewarded in the last couple of months. I just absolutely love the effort he is putting in himself as a footy player.  He has been amazing and is a great asset to the club.”

And as for Sipley, how does he reflect on his journey?

“I’m super happy. It’s kind of been a long road,’’ Sipley said, with that infectious smile of his.

“Since I came into the NRL in 2016, a lot of my mates have played over 100 games.

“It’s been a bit of a long journey, a hard one.

“I know what it’s like not to play footy, so I always cherish every NRL match that I get to play in. I’m just very grateful.”

And so is everyone one at Manly. It’s why Sipley deserves a special round of applause tonight when he runs out once again in his much-loved Manly jersey.

 

 

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Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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