Our Manly Mermaids will be in action again this weekend as they take on the Warringah Rattets in a curtain raiser at the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays game at Pittwater Rugby Park with a 2:10 kick off.
Head on up to support them, with the Rays kicking off at 3:00pm versus the UC Vikings, you'll be able to see some Marlins in action too.
Also, its Junior's Day - so bring your kids! All juniors in their club kit or socks will get a free tee shirt or cap!
Get down and support the Northern Rays play Melbourne Rising, 730pm thisnThursday.
Great rugby action and a great atmosphere under lights.
The last scheduled game at Manly Oval this season!
Get behind the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays
3pm Saturday 22nd August at Manly Oval vs Sydney Stars
Just 2 days until the first home game.
It is with great regret to inform you that our proposed event next weekend, the Manly Seaside Sevens has been postponed, due to unforeseen circumstances.
We are of course enormously disappointed about this, and will be working hard over the coming weeks to establish a new date as we firmly believe that the event will be hugely successful in our Rugby Calendar.
We will endeavour to keep you informed of all developments.
"The pain of losing one will make them hungrier next year. We'll do it all again."
And with those words, Manly coach Damien Cummins signed off on a heartbreaking but proud season for his – and our – Marlins.
Saturday's 15-12 grand final loss to Eastwood will sting for a long time but no-one at the ground or watching on TV could fault the passion or commitment of Matt Lucas and his men.
It took a long distance field goal two minutes from time for Manly to fall behind for the first time all game after four penalty goals apiece had the sides locked 12-all and seemingly headed for extra-time.
Sam Lane had the chance to square things up right on the fulltime bell but unfortunately his attempt faded away as the massive Marlins Army was silenced for the first time all day.
There were plenty of tears and slumped shoulders at fulltime.
"It was a titanic battle that ebbed and flowed," Cummins said.
"We had the upper-hand in the first half but just couldn't get over the line. I think if we'd come up with some sort of (extra) score in the first half it might have been a different story.
"But the boys were great. It's not like we got pumped – it came down to a 45m field goal.
"We were good and they were good and it was a great day.
"People will long remember this grand final."
There may not have been any tries but the grand final did not lack for excitement.
It was two equally matched sides ripping in and going at it for 80 minutes, no doubt energised by a tremendous atmosphere at the normally soulless Concord Oval.
The Marlins led 9-3 at halftime thanks to three Lucas penalties but there was a sense that it might not been enough with the Woodies turning with the wind at their backs.
Two Ben Batger penalties to open the second half gave us as a 9-all scoreline as tension built in the stands.
Just after the hour mark, Manly eased back in front 12-9 via Lucas's boot, only for Eastwood to reply through Batger.
It set the scene for a thrilling finish that was always likely to be settled by one pivotal moment.
We thought that had arrived when Batger missed a penalty from in front with less than four minutes to go.
What a let-off. But the relief was short-lived.
Jai Ayoub stepped up with two minutes to go to slot his field goal, safe in the knowledge the Woodies had a penalty advantage up their sleeve.
The Marlins pressed until the final seconds, Lane's drop goal attempt the last act in a dramatic contest.
"I am immensely proud and gutted at the same time," Lucas said minutes after the bell.
"The character of the side is fantastic. It's very hard to take at the moment.
"Eastwood are a class outfit and were the better side."
As for the last-minute field goal attempt, Lucas continued: "We weren't going far and they were disciplined in not giving away a penalty so we got in range and had to pull the trigger and unfortunately it didn't go over.
"Some do, some don't.
"It's hard to take at the moment but the club will grow from this.
"And just look at this support. We can't thank them enough, along with everybody else involved with this great club."
The Marlins will back.
Bring on 2016!
A large contingent of the Marlins Army was at Concord Oval for the 905am kick off. Drums and horns a blaring. It must have been quite a sight for the fourths to run out with such support.
To be fair, Easts had a good group there as well and so the scene was set for a big finals game.
Early on it wasn’t going too well with fullback Joe Metuisela off early with an injured shoulder. The pack was being pushed from pillar to post. The Marlins managed to use scarce ball well by going wide and running Easts forwards around.
Lock James Watson went over and winger Scott Clemmett scored his 100th try for the club! Half time and the score was 15-7 to the Marlins.
The second half saw Easts land a penalty goal and at 15-10, the Marlins were looking under increasing pressure. 5/8th Cam Duffus, after an awesome kicking display in the semi against Uni, radar was off. Defence and guts were the only facet keeping the Marlins in the game. A high speed break off to the left saw Scott Clemmett in for his second.
With minutes left the subs came on and held the game at 20-10.
The Marlins Army charged across the ground and the celebrations started. Captain and centre, Anthony Bergelin, hoisted the Henderson Cup to loud cheers. The first win since 1979!
Fourth grade manager and long time sponsor, John “Swansea” Hinton, took the boys for a pub lunch prior to the 1st grade Grand Final. Allegedly 60 people turned up and fun was had by all!
All the hard work culminates tomorrow with fourth grade playing against Easts and 905am and then the blockbuster first grade Grand Final between the two best teams all season.
So let’s paint the East stand blue!
“Our supporters have been fantastic all year and it is so important that we get behind the boys. It makes a huge difference,” said club president David Begg, encouraging everyone to get to the game. The club has received support notes from the Prime Minister, State Premier and even arch rivals the Warringah Rats: bring the Shield back to the Northern Beaches!
Return buses from Manly are selling out quickly with two additional buses added at 1pm. Buses also leave at 730am (for 4ths kick off), 1230pm and 130pm. Click here to book. Also it is cheaper to buy your ground entry tickets online – book here.
We’ve been having great support with Garfish sponsoring the team buses, Bower Finance offering kids shirts at the game and anonymous supporter buying $2000 worth of tickets to the game to give away for free at 1030am Manly Bowlo today.
So what about the build up? “It has been pretty low key to be honest,” said MMMs 5/8th Sam Lane. “Turtle has been keeping things relaxed and treated the week like any other week. We’ve kept things normal and the usual routine. It’s what works for us and the rest will come from that.”
“Have fun and enjoy the game,” said Sam about his Dad’s comments to him. Tim Lane was the Marlins coach in 1997 when the team last lifted the Shield. “He’s very relaxed and doesn’t get me pumped up.”
See the Manly Daily article here about the 2015 team links with the 1997 winners.
Many 1983 and 1997 winning players were spotted at Manly Oval training last night. Both firsts and fourths were running moves against each other. Amongst the serious work through drills, there was good camaraderie and some laughter.
The team line up is the same as last weekend with the added advantage of fresh subs (both the Woodies and the MMMs don’t feature in the 2nd grade final). Big second rower Ed Gower returns on the bench after a holiday overseas. Having been one of the best forwards this season and winning the Chad Paton club player award, no doubt he will feature as an important impact player.
“They are strong 1 through 15,” commented Sam on Eastwood. “We are pretty well matched up. The breakdown and who wins the contact points and has the go forward will be important.”
“Being down 14-0 against a side like Uni was a bit daunting,” said MMMs captain and half back, Matt Lucas. “We just had to think about getting the next couple of minutes right….focus on what we could do and our own game.” The MMMs worked their way back into the game. Lock Caderyn Neville doing his best out on the wing after some excellent support play, galloped over for the first try. Not long afterwards a well worked move off the back of a lineout in Uni’s 22 allowed winger Alex Northam to slice through. We were in the hunt up 18-17 at half time.
Uni had a different idea and scored a quick try in the first minute of the second half. The MMMs were on the back foot and dogged defence kept Uni from blowing out the score. After defending in their own 22 the MMMs finally managed to work their way up field. MMMs centre Reece Hodge slipped through a gap and ran 40m to score in front of a rapturous crowd under the flying saucer.
The next 10 minutes were mayhem for Uni. The MMMs ran in another three tries. Alex Northam regathered a perfectly weighted grubber kick from Lucas for a try. Fullback BJ Hartmann scythed through the defence in a team attacking move. And the icing was Cliffy Palu charging down a kick and at first looking a bit uncertain as he looked for support, he rightly decided to pin his ears back and charge towards the line. The whole crowd went up as one. The game was in the bag: 42-22!
“He is a world class player, Cliffy,” said Matt. “It was great to have him at the Oval and we are pumped for him to be back in the Wallabies for the Bledisloe game.
“It is great that we have Ed back. He is so important to the team on and off the field,” continued Matt about having another excellent impact player for the Grand Final.
So all’s set for a massive game.
Go the Mighty Manly Marlins!
All roads lead to Concord, and we are sure that you will be joining us for this momentous occasion in our history.
Our fourth grade team will be kicking off at 9:05, with first grade in action from 3:05. Get there early to support the Marlins!
Supporter's Buses have been arranged, and are strictly on a first come, first served basis. The cost is $20 return, $10 return for children under 12. This cost does not include ground entry. Pre payment is essential via trybooking, and we recommend that you book early to avoid disappointment. Buses will be leaving Raglan St at 7:30, 12:30. 1:00 and 1:30. All buses will depart at 5:30 latest
Pre-booking ground entrance tickets is not essential, but it is strongly recommended as it is cheaper (especially if buying multiple tickets) and means that you will not need to queue at the gates.
Channel Seven will be installing a Giant Screen in the stadium to televise the Bledisloe Cup for all spectators that wish to stay.
Please note that if you do not intend to come to Concord (really?) then the Finals will be braodcast on Channel 7 NOT Channel 7TWO
For the first time in 18 years we can finally write the following words: The Marlins are in the Shute Shield grand final.
How good is that? All roads, waterways, bus lanes and footpaths lead to Concord Oval for next Saturday's decider against Eastwood
The last time we made it, 'Rusty' Mackie was only slightly corroded.
Saturday's 44-22 preliminary final demolition of Sydney Uni before a frothing Manly Oval crowd buried years of heartache, frustration and utter devastation.
But it was far from easy.
The Students jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and local police were urged to keep a close eye out for anyone wearing Marlins gear approaching Nth Head lookout.
But slowly things began to steady.
Cadeyrn Neville crossed in front of Marlin Hill before a Matt Lucas penalty reduced the deficit to just six points.
With Uni down a man in the bin, the Manly revival gathered further momentum when speedster Alex Northam benefitted from some great work from Lucas off the back of a lineout to score.
Manly were now up 15-14, just as Harry Bergelin was given a 10-minute breather via the referee's yellow card.
The two teams exchanged penalty goals for a halftime scoreline of 18-17 the Marlins.
The last of the kids had only just left the field when Uni swept in for a try just a minute after the re-start.
It was now the visitors in front 22-18, with the can bar doing a roaring trade to settle the nervous Marlins faithful.
But we need not have worried, not with Annie Hill and Brian Cox looking out for us over the Village Green.
With Cliffy Palu entering the fray for just his second club match in six years, Manly rattled on the next 24 points without reply.
It was stunning stuff.
Reece Hodge got us going with a great long distance solo try before man-of-the-match Lucas set Northam up for his second with a clever grubber kick.
BJ Hartmann got in on the fun with Manly's fifth try before the piece de resistance.
Big Cliffy charged down a kick on halfway, collected the ball and sprinted 50m to the line with half of the northern beaches cheering him home.
Game. Set. Match.
"I was looking for support and I turned around and saw Dave Dennis chasing and thought 'I've got this guy covered' and pinned my ears back and went for the corner," an emotional Palu said later.
"This is awesome. To see the passion these guys show…I was pretty nervous because I didn't want to let anyone down but I loved it."
With Ed Gower returning from O/S, coaches Damien “Turtle” Cummins and Dan Brown have a full deck to play with.
"It was awesome. I thought the boys were immense," Turtle said.
"We didn't feel any pressure because we didn’t believe there was any hoodoo around this game for this team.
"It's great for everyone involved with the club."
Turtle overlooked Manly's six tries when it came to pinpointing where the game was won.
"It was in the 54th minute. We had two Uni scrums on our line, then we had a scrum on our line that was our ball and we exited it from there. They then had a lineout and we got a penalty and from the lineout Hodgey scores a try."
"That was the moment we won that game.
"That tenacity on our line and to believe in each other was what teams are made of."
Lucas was simply outstanding and the rest of his teammates weren't too far behind.
Now for the big one.
And for those into omens, Turtle was front and centre as a player the last time Manly won a grand final in 1997, ironically against Eastwood.
Is history repeating? Let's hope so.
C'mon the Marlins!
Another dominant Uni scrum had fourths under immense pressure. Uni scored an unconverted try first followed by 5/8th Cam Duffus kicking a penalty. Another try to Uni had the half time score with Uni up 10-3.
The Marlins scored in the corner and Duffus kicked a sideline conversion to have the Marlins back in the game 10 all. He followed this with a penalty goal – lead 13-10. With about 5 minutes on the clock, Uni scored a try out wide towards the flying saucer that wasn’t converted. Marlins down 15-13.
The Marlins rampaged off the restart to win the ball and work their way into the Uni redzone. A penalty was awarded on the bell about 35m out on the left. There was a hush around the stands as Duffus prepared for the decisive kick. Over it sailed and the team went bananas. 16-15 win and a place in the final against Easts.
As club president David Begg said; “You win finals anyway you can and often they are decided by the narrowest of margins.” Uni may be aggrieved at scoring three tries to one but the Marlins kicking delivered the killer blows.
The seconds went down in what was probably by their own admission one of their lesser performances of the year. The Uni pack dominated with a high number of penalties awarded against the Marlins at scrum time. Being on the back foot seemed to lead to a high number of uncharacteristic errors. Couple this with a few decisions going against them and a few unlucky bounces of the ball, it all added up to a frustrating afternoon for the minor premiers and 2014 Grand Final winners.
At two tries a piece, the difference was Uni knocking over three penalty goals to win 21-14. Uni played with composure and assertiveness that the Marlins couldn’t match.
All season, the boys played an exciting and entertaining brand of rugby that they should be proud of. The Minor Premiership is still an amazing achievement.
The big news is that Wallaby and Waratah, Cliffy Palu, is on the bench this weekend as he returns from injury and prepares to challenge for a RWC spot.
This is the game not miss. Remember to get down early as kick off is at 2.40pm.
The big news is that Wallaby and Waratah, Cliffy Palu, is on the bench as he returns from injury and prepares to challenge for a RWC spot.
“It is great that Cheika has allowed him to get some game time with his home club,” said Matt Lucas, MMM captain and half back. “He is a world class player and will definitely add something extra to the team.”
“It would be great to see the support from the local community, it really makes a difference,” continued Matt.
Sydney Uni will prove a formidable opponent with many Waratah players and two Manly brewed players to spice things up. Manly junior/ colts players in the Uni line up include: winger and Rebels player Tom Kinston and second rower, U20 Australian player, Matt Philip on the bench.
Mind you Uni can be beaten as shown last week when Souths came from 20-3 down to win 28-26 on the bell in the qualifying final. The MMMs has run a tight team and squad all year and this is where rugby as game can prove to be the sum of parts rather than the excellence of individuals.
“We talk quite a lot about the game,” said Matt. “There are always down periods in a game and during those times it is important to focus on your role.” The point being that you can’t cover for everyone and eventually it will come right if you are doing your job correctly.
Matt leads by example. He put a massive hit on Stephen Hoiles last weekend against Randwick. The Wicks had some momentum going their way at the time. “I started playing rugby because I enjoy the contact. Little momentum shifts through some good play or a big tackle give the team a boost. It is awesome to help out the team in any way possible,” explained Matt modestly. He is fearless in his tackling.
The MMMs put Randwick away 33-21 in a high intensity, quality game of rugby last weekend at the Village Green.
“We knew it would be a step up,” said Matt about it being a different game from the weekend before against them. “It was definitely more physical and we were nursing a few knocks and bruises afterwards.”
“We’ve had good preparation this week. The volume of training is down as you would expect at this stage of the season but the intensity is there. We had a really tough hit out for 20 minutes on Tuesday followed by team and skills practice,” Matt described. “As a squad we are enjoying what we are doing and the level of excitement is rising as the challenge gets bigger.”
“We will get out there and enjoy the game. Sydney are an extremely strong side but we will stick to what we do and proven at what we are good at. Nothing will be left out there! It is going to be a cracker!”
“It is a reflection of how strong the club is with 1st, 2nds and 4ths in the semis at home this weekend,” commented Matt about the huge day at the Village Green with all teams playing Sydney Uni.
Manly will play Sydney Uni for the right to be the first side into the Shute Shield grand final - and they've picked up a new fan in Wallabies star Kurtley Beale as they look to land the club's first top grade premiership in 18 years.
Kurtley Beale, who turned out for Randwick in Manly's 33-21 qualifying final win on Saturday, is confident the Marlins can get over the top of the Students and go the whole way.
"Manly are a great team and have always been a force in the Shute Shield and I wish them all the best for the rest of the year," Beale said in between photo requests on Manly Oval.
"They've got a strong halves combination in Matt Lucas and Sam Lane and, if those guys keep going, I think they can go the extra step this year."
Beale played around 70 minutes but didn’t have a major impact on the game, with the Marlins keeping him well contained in front of another healthy Manly Oval crowd.
The hosts, despite numerous injuries, led from start to finish to book a preliminary final berth back at the Village Green next Saturday.
Winger Sireli Tagicakibau, who earned a late, late call-up as a replacement for Richard Hooper, got us underway with Manly's first try after just three minutes.
Manly then lost Reece Hodge for the day with a corked thigh while Matt Lucas headed to the blood bin after being opened up.
The consistent Dennis Pili-Gaitau soon doubled Manly's lead with a smart try, Sam Lane adding the extras and then a penalty for a 15-0 advantage.
It was then that the Galloping Greens mounted a mini-revival.
They went bang, bang to score two converted tries, reducing the margin to just one.
Manly needed something special and fullback BJ Hartmann obliged, producing an outrageous flick pass for Alex Northam to score in the hill corner after good lead-up from Tagicakibau.
BJ is now answering to the nickname 'Benji', if anyone's asking.
That try, which went viral online, pushed the hosts out to a 20-14 advantage before quick-thinking Lane potted a drop goal after the bell for a 23-14 halftime lead.
A Lane penalty early in the second half stretched Manly's lead before Cadeyrn Neville was binned for a late hit.
This is where the game could easily have been won or lost, but the Marlins dug deep to keep Randwick scoreless during this period
Northam then stepped up to complete his double eight minutes from time, sealing the deal for the boys in blue.
"It was always going to be hard – Randwick were playing for their season – and they didn't disappoint," coach Damien Cummins said.
"They competed hard at the breakdown and made us work for it.
"We had plenty to overcome with a few injuries and the boys had to dig deep, but it will hold us in good stead for next week."
Talking about next week, Turtle, your thoughts?
"We've just got to win."
Amen to that.
Kick-off is at the special time of 2.40pm, with seconds (12.55pm) and fourths (9.55am) also in action against Uni.