The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are a professional Australian rugby league team, based in the Sydney northern beach areas of Manly and Warringah. They are competitors in Australia’s premier rugby league competition, the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership. The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles were previously competitors in the NSWRL and ARL competitions, until 1999. The briefly entered a joint venture with the Sydney Bears to form a new team, known as the Northern Eagles.
The venture collapsed after 2001 but the Sea Eagles retained the name until the 2003 season. The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles are a very well-respected team with an impressive record of achievements to their name. The club has a highly active support base of passionate fans. They maintained a strong performance in their recent season, despite player injuries.
The club made their debut during the 1947 New South Wales Rugby Football league season, following the push for the league to expand and add new clubs. They gained admission at the same time as Parramatta. The club gained half of North Sydney’s players after there was a mass exodus of players leaving for the newly formed team. The club briefly became obsolete after uniting with the North Sydney Bears to form the Northern Eagles. They were resurrected following the collapse of the venture and played as the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles for the 2003 season onwards.
The Sea Eagles notably have not received the wooden spoon at all during their history, making them the record holders in the NRL for the club to go the longest without receiving a wooden spoon – more than 70 years since they team was founded. They still have not received one to this day. It’s no surprise then that the Sea Eagles have an impressive record in matches to boast and an number of player and club records.
The Manly Sea Eagles first premiership was won in 1972, and since then the club has gone on to win eight first grade titles. Their most recent win was the 2011 Grand Final.
The club has made appearances in 19 Grand Final games in total across seven consecutive decades since they were admitted to the NRL.
The Manly Sea Eagles player, Cliff Lyons, holds the record for the most first grade games for the club, with 309 games under his belt. The clubs player, Steve Menzie has played 349 games for the club, but 69 of those were for the Northern Eagles. The club player who holds the record for most points scored in Graham Eadie who has scored 1917 points. Matthew Ridge scored the most points in a single season for the club, with a record of 257 points back in 1955.
Brett Steward holds the top try scoring record for the club, with 163 tries – beating out Steve Menzies, the highest try scoring forward in game history.
The main revenue generators for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles is a mix of food, ticket and merchandising sales, broadcasting and leagues club contributions. The club was subject to a $750,000 fine as a result of salary cap investigations by the NRL where it was found they were in breach for 5 years.
The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles currently play their home matches at Brookvale Oval (nowadays known as Lottoland). Their trainings are held at the New South Wales academy of Sport located in Narrabeen. Initially when the club was admitted into the NRL, they wanted to use the Manly Oval as their home ground, but they were denied access by the Manly council which was very pro rugby union at the time. As a result the club chose the Brookvale Oval as their home ground, this was a move that was supported by Warringah council, who owned the ground at the time.
The oval was updated in the following decades, mostly between the years of 1965 and 1980 when the construction of two new grandstands took place. The council has come under fire in more recent decades due to the state of the stadium, which resulted in funding from both the council and the NSW government being committed to rejuvenate the and redevelop the stadium in 2008.
In recent seasons the Sea Eagles have performed impressively on their home ground, spending the entirety of 2011 undefeated and maintaining an impressive win streak on their home ground throughout 2014. The team did not perform as well in 2017.
Lottoland has an official capacity of 23,000 but is usually full at under 21,000 spectators.
During 2005 the grounds experienced their largest average attendance numbers with an average of 15,484 attendees at every club match. The largest crowd the grounds have seen was a crowd of 27,655 patrons for the grand final during the 1986 season of the game. Since the Sea Eagles were admitted in 1947, the grounds have seen more than 5 and a half million spectators visit.
Brookvale oval has seen the second highest number of games played of the permanent NRL venues, with 698 games being played at the oval. The Manly Sea Eagles have also played some home games At Suncorp stadium, nib stadium and the Central Coast Stadium.
Des Hasler is the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles current head coach. He was formerly a player on the team and won the 1987 and 1996 premierships with the team. Des Hasler coached the Sea Eagles between 2004 and 2011, coaching them through two premiership victories in 2008 and 2011 before he left to coach the Bulldogs. He returned to the Sea Eagles for the 2019 season.
Emblem and Colours
Manly’s colours have been moroon and white from their inception. They started out with the Sea Eagles as their emblem, a choice made because the bird was native to the Sydney coastline the club was based near.
Manly-Warringah’s mascots are known as Egor and Ellie the Sea Eagles.
The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Rugby League Club is one of the most popular club on Sydney’s busy northern beaches, and as a result they have more than 16,000 members to their name. The clubs impressively high membership number is bolstered by their close ties to the Manly Leagues club which garners support for the club in the local area.
In the1940s, the support for expanding rugby league in Sydney was gaining a lot of momentum and Manly along with many other Sydney rugby clubs was considered for admission. The clubs application was accepted alongside Parramatta and they were admitted to the game in 1947. Their first official game was played against Western Suburbs on their home ground. Their first winning match was against the Parramatta Eels, however they finished their first season in the second last place. They made their first Grand Final during the 1951 season, however they lost the game to South Sydney. They made appearances in a further five Grand Finals before they finally won a premiership in 1972. They won again in the following season, and again in 1976 and 1978 – making the 70’s an exceptionally strong decade for the club. Their Grand Final game in 1973 is often regarded to be one of the hardest Grand Final matches in the games history, with several player injuries during the game.
The club had a powerful record for the following decade, doing very well in the 80’s but losing two premierships to Parramatta nevertheless. They won again in 1987 against the Canberra Raiders. The following season the team was missing six of their regular first grade players, who were all participating in the Ashes series.
In the following decade as the Super league war got underway, the club performed solidly. They dominated during 1995 but ultimately lost to the Bulldogs during the Grand Final. They appeared again the following year for the grand final and won. They again made the Grand final in 1997 but were beaten by the Newcastle Knights. They lost their form following the 1997 season, falling to 10th on the ladder in 1998 and falling short of the finals the following year.
During the 2000 and 2002 seasons the club joined forces with the North Sydney Bears to become the Northern Eagles. They did not have a successful run during this time, finishing in 12th, 10th and 9th place respectively. Many of their home games were played around Gosford which alienated their fans and attendance numbers dropped dramatically. The ventured failed at the end of the 2001 season, but the club played one more year under the Northern Eagles name before returning to their previous name the following year.
The following two seasons were not much of an improvement on previous years, but during this period there were a number of players brought in who would later become star of the game.
In 2007 the club finished in 2nd place, making for a very strong season. Melbourne were the winners in that year, but they were later stripped of the title due to salary cap breaches. The club missed out on claiming their first minor premiership for the first time since the 1997 season.
In 2008 they won their seventh premiership against Melbourne in front of a crowd of 80,388 at ANZ stadium. Several scandals and injuries saw them miss out on a premiership win in 2009.
The following 2010 season started off poorly but they recovered mid-season and they managed to slide through to the finals. Despite losing a number of players during their 2010 season, the Sea Eagles surprisingly came out on top in 2011, winning their eighth premiership. Their second premership in four years meant that they were the first team to win more than one premiership in the 21st century. Manly came in in 4th place for the 2012 season and performed strongly in 2013, despite an ASADA investigation and a number of player injuries. They did not win the Grand Final in that year. They finished top two during the 2015 season but failed to back it up the next year, only narrowly avoiding earning their first wooden spoon. They again finished toward the bottom, in 13th place for 2016. They finished 2017 in 6th place. The next year saw them being found guilty of salary cap breaches, which resulted in a substantial fine and many reports of infighting in the club. Manly qualified for the finals in 2019 and finished in 6th place.
The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles do not hold trainings open to the public.
The club are active in their local community and have a number of partnerships with community programs that focus on education, literacy, health and self-esteem. The club regularly appear at community events, donate to causes and contribute to charities. They also make special appearances for passionate fans on occasion. The club is also involved in local junior league programs.