Kids at Manly Oval
Peter Bowers, June 1, 2012
The 'Marlinettes' are the Manly Marlins' official cheer squad, they perform in front of the grandstand before each half of the match and after Manly scores a try.
Last home game they had twenty-three girls, aged between 5 and 12, who performed with their large red and white pom-poms to the sound of pop-hits.
The group was started 14 years ago by Penny Houston, a former freelance dancer who now owns 'Greenwich Dance Centre' in Seaforth, where the Marlinettes rehearse for thirty minutes each week.
Penny said of the Marlinettes, "My family always enjoys Manly Rugby and it (the Marlinettes) is something that happens for sisters and daughters".
"So now girls are very happy to come to the rugby with Dad, and we've got some girls that will drag Dad to the rugby".
Marlinettes Ruby Aquilina and Khiala Holmes are involved because, they say, "I LOVE TO DANCE!"
The group is sponsored by 'The Icon Depot', a local clothing business that supplies their sparkly red and blue outfits.
Anyone wishing to be involved with the Marlinettes should contact Penny on 0405 325 368.
While their sisters are dancing, boys are often involved in mini-rugby games on the Eastern side of Manly Oval.
There are often up to six separate games being played at a level of skill and speed similar to the big boys on the real field.
Young Seaforth Raider Will O'Shea was on the winning side of one such match, he describes the mini-rugby games as "awesome", while his friend Liam O'Sullivan considers them "fun".
Eleven-year-old Will Crisp enjoys games next to the Marlins because, "When I stop playing I get to see my favourite player Tevita".
These boys may be destined for great things as the Manly Captain Tevita Metuisela himself used to be apart of such games.
"When I was young we used to play touch footy and run around on the sidelines at Manly Oval", the powerful no.8 said.
More broadly speaking of kids at the rugby, Metuisela said, "Great atmosphere. Its great knowing our local juniors are getting into us. Great support."
Some kids also have the important role of supplying the Marlins' game with rugby balls.
Ball-boys Tautua Faatui and Oli Cummins said their work is "fun".
The hardest part is, "going to get the ball from over the fence".
Who is usually responsible for that? "This year its Sione", they agreed.
The Marlins' ball-boys also understand some intricacies of rugby law. For a player to do a quick throw-in, a human being must not have touched the ball. So its sometimes better to not pick-up the ball.
At Marlins games it is traditional for kids to wear the morning's rugby jersey and shorts. At any home-game a Harbord Harlequin, Manly Roo, Seaforth Raider and Forest junior is never hard to find.
There is also Manly Marlins supporter gear that can be bought from the merchandise shop on game-day.
Marlins player jerseys and hoodies are available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14, while the Marlins T-shirts are in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12.
"I think the kids like the jerseys and hoodies", said Beth Minogue who takes care of the merchandise shop.