Today, November 4, is a major day in the proud history of the mighty Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
For it was on this date in 1946, the NSWRL granted Manly Warringah entry to the 1947 NSWRL competition. 2023 will mark the 77th season of the Sea Eagles.
The Manly District Junior Rugby League was formed in 1932 as part of the North Sydney District Rugby League with 11 teams participating in the A and B grades.
After having their applications denied in 1937 and 1944, Manly Warringah was finally given the green light on the back of their district junior representative side winning the President’s Cup competition in 1946.
With the support of ‘parent club’ Norths, who had plenty of Manly juniors throughout their graded teams, Manly Warringah presented their case at the special NSWRL general committee meeting on Monday, November 4, 1946, led by Manly JRL President, Bill Seymour, Secretary Jack Munro, and long-serving committeeman, Norman McNally.
Norths believed Manly's inclusion in the competition would provide a far better platform for rugby league to gain a hold over rugby union in the peninsula area.
Fortunately, the motion to accept Manly Warringah was carried unanimously. Parramatta was also granted entry at the same meeting for the 1947 season.
With Manly Warringah now accepted into the NSWRL for 1947, Norths were the big losers with 20 Manly juniors returning to play for their local club in their first season.
The inaugural meeting of the Manly-Warringah District Rugby League Football Club was held at Luana Hall in Dee Why (now Dee Why RSL Club) on November 20, 1946.
It wasn’t until January, 1947, that Manly Warringah would adopt the maroon and white as its district colours of the Freshwater Surf Club and the Sea Eagle, often seen at the time on the Sydney coastline, as its emblem.
The Sea Eagles played their first premiership on April 12, 1947, going down 15-13 to Western Suburbs at Brookvale Oval.
Today, the Sea Eagles are one of the most successful rugby league clubs in the game, winning eight premierships from 19 Grand Finals.
The club has produced a wealth of internationals with former premiership winning player and coach Bob Fulton our only Immortal.
The Sea Eagles also hold the record for the highest rugby league grand final margin following the famous 40-0 premiership victory over the Melbourne Storm in 2008 and have proudly never claimed the dreaded wooden spoon.