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BEAVER !!! add your tribute

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan 2016 Tipping Competitor

    +2,097 / 13
    Manly Men - a dying species

    Andrew Webster | October 4, 2008
    They just don't make footballers like Sea Eagles legend Steve Menzies any more, writes Andrew Webster.

    It starts on the hill at Brookvale Oval. Steve Menzies is there with big brother James and Nanna Menzies and her friends Irene and Norma.

    He is waiting for the full-time siren to sound so he can charge the field and snatch the corner post and then elbow his way past the other kids so he can touch the arms of his heroes.

    "I have vivid memories of running out there and touching these big, sweaty, massive arms of the players," Menzies says. "I remember reaching up full stretch and patting them on the back. And it was, 'Wow. I touched a player.' Johnny Gibbs. Graham Eadie."

    Who was to know that, so many years later, the former Harbord United Devil would join them?

    Of all the tributes paid this week to the 34-year-old, whose 16-year career in the NRL is about to end, the theme that has resonated loudest is Menzies unwavering devotion to his football club. At his testimonial dinner last month, he didn't shed a tear as he thanked his family, teammates past and present and coaches. Then when they sprung it on him that they were naming one of the stands at Brookie in honour of him and Immortal Bob Fulton, Menzies was overcome with emotion.

    "Until then, he hadn't missed a beat - then he was speechless," Manly chief executive Grant Mayer recalls. "He reckoned it was the greatest honour in his career."

    In all the incarnations and transformations the Sea Eagles have endured since a skinny, lanky kid with headgear and high shorts came off the bench against the Broncos in 1993, Menzies has been their rock.

    While he has always loved his club, has it always loved him back? That it did not offer him a contract beyond this year puzzles some fans, considering his form. The tries keep coming. There he was in the 32-6 victory over the Warriors last weekend, sniffing out another one.

    When Menzies was sidelined for an extended period with a groin injury last season, he told Sea Eagles officials he wanted one more year in the NRL and that would probably be it.

    The club exhaled a sigh of relief. It meant they could avoid tabling an insulting offer to a club legend because of the heavily back-ended contracts of playmakers Matt Orford and Jamie Lyon.

    "I've been very lucky with injuries during my career," Menzies says. "But in a weird way, that one freshened me up and I wanted to play on."

    Loyal to the end, Menzies will leave the sunshine of the northern peninsula for the drizzle of Bradford next season, and possibly beyond. "I couldn't play against Manly," he says resolutely.

    Ask him if he's angry - even just a tad - at not being offered an extension and he'll run a mile.

    "I'm 34. Getting pretty old," he says. "I don't have a problem with them going for younger people, or if there was salary cap issues. It's a business for them, and I understand that."

    Has the club always done the right thing by him?

    "Yeah, they've been pretty good," he smirks. "Except when they put me on the bench. I have no complaints. A lot of players have loved the club they've played at but then the club will buy someone else or you get an injury and they don't want you. I've been lucky that they've always wanted me."

    It might have something to do with the fact Menzies has a flawless character. Go in search of the skeletons and the closets are bare. "Beaver hasn't got any skeletons in any of his closets," former captain Geoff Toovey says. "Plenty of skeletons - no closets. I don't know anyone who has a bad word to say about Beaver."

    Nineteen-year-old brother Josh says: "He once got kicked out of the Steyne Hotel, but that's only because the bouncer wanted to make a hero out of himself. He'd had four beers."

    His long-time manager, Wayne Beavis, puts it this way: "He hasn't let the game overtake him. He has taken it all in his stride: silently, responsibly. All the lights haven't got to him. He's the exception in the game when it should be the rule."

    There was another reminder of his decency this week. Recently, a Manly official has been peddling the notion of Menzies being registered for one match next season so he can break Canterbury legend Terry Lamb's record of 349 games for the most matched played. Menzies equals the mark in the grand final.

    "I wouldn't consider coming back for one game and cheapening the record or anything," Menzies said this week. "If I fell one short or equalled it or whatever, then that's my career and the way it finishes. Terry Lamb was such a great player … I'm very honoured to stand next to him."

    Menzies has also told those close to him that he wouldn't consider pressuring Bradford into releasing him for one match. His allegiance to the Sea Eagles will never be in dispute - but he is already showing his devotion to a club he hasn't played for.

    He might play beyond next season, but the shadows are lengthening on Menzies' career. So charmed has it been, it is almost irrelevant if he claims another premiership tomorrow night.

    "When you're young and you play first grade, you think, 'How good was that? I hope I can do that again.' You never know you're going to play this amount of games. I've never wanted to play for anyone else. It won't dawn on me that I am no longer playing for Manly when I'm in England and I see them play. That's when it will hit me that I'm not going to run on to Brookie again."
    Cash couldn't sway Beaver to become a Rooster

    STEVE MENZIES put pride in the Manly jumper ahead of his own financial future when he rejected significant offers from the Roosters and Parramatta when the merger between the Sea Eagles and North Sydney was on the precipice of collapse in 2001.

    "My stepfather [Greg Gerrard] was keen for me to take the Roosters offer," Menzies explains in his biography, which was released this week. "He sat with me for 25 minutes, giving me all the reasons to accept what they were offering. He didn't repeat himself once, so powerful was the case for a switch.

    "Part of that was money, and part of it was the vulnerability that Manly's financial woes had meant for them. His biggest and most compelling argument was that it would give me the chance to play with Brad Fittler, at the time the best player in the game and a five-eighth who would make a whole world of opportunity for a player like me … It was a very tempting thought. But when Greg had finished his case for a switch, he looked at me knowingly and said: 'You're not going, are you?' I replied simply: 'Nope!"'

    Andrew Webster
  2. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    +5,437 / 74
    What can I say that hasn't already been said about this great man, I honestly an not yet fully believe this is the last time we will see him in our colours.

    At least it means I can become mildly interested in the English Super League and follow the Bulls now!

    But my god this man truly in every sense of the word deserves the title of Legend, there is no two ways about it, he is a man that young boys should be taught to live up to
  3. Ian Martin tragic

    Ian Martin tragic Well-Known Member

    +137 / 0
    Beaver was asked on the foxtel league show last year what he would identify as his defining talent and he said anticipation; that he was good at seeing something about to develop and that meant he could be there if it did. That goes with the speed, strength, agility, hands, durability and contribution to team confidence of course, but it is what makes him such a great hole-runner, support player, big hitter, chip and chase opportunist, and all round big play maker.

    In the article at the top of the thread it says his stepfather pushed the idea of playing with freddie fittler. We're all grateful he didn't leave manly; but that would have been a hell of a combination to see week in week out. It's a pity no really good ball player came along after Cliffy as Beaver had to reinvent his game post-god (did a bloody good job of it too). I haven't seen a better hole runner go round.
  4. The Wheel

    The Wheel Well-Known Member

    +1,718 / 71
    Your a winner Beaver and you deserve to go out this afternoon as winner - good luck Champ

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