Manly joined the NSWRL in 1947 and quickly emerged as serious contenders, ending as runners-up four times in the 1950s. Their first premiership victory came in 1972, defeating the Roosters 19-14, and they went on to win seven more premierships over the next 50 years. One of their most memorable wins was the hard-fought game against Cronulla in 1973, but the victory against Melbourne in 2008, with a 40-0 score, was a sweet revenge that no Sea Eagles fan will forget.
Manly has had several outstanding players in their winning teams, and here is my pick for their greatest grand-final victors ever:
Fullback: Graham Eadie
Wingers: Ken Irvine, Michael O’Connor
Centres: Bob Fulton, Jamie Lyon
Five-Eighth: Cliff Lyons
Halfback: Geoff Toovey
Lock: Malcolm Reilly
Second Rowers: Terry Randall, Steve Menzies
Front Rowers: John O’Neill, Kevin Ward
Hooker: Max Krillich
Bench: Ian Martin, Ray Branighan, Phil Lowe
These players have left a lasting impact on the history of Manly and have played crucial roles in the team’s grand final victories.