One of the truly great Sea Eagles, Graham Eadie came to Manly from Woy Woy on the NSW Central Coast in 1971 as a prodigious 17 year old.
His chunky frame belied his unbelievable ability and he played 4 first grade games in his first season. The club captain of the time Fred Jones took a look at this fresh faced behemoth at the first training session of the year stunned at this youngsters physique he was heard to ask who is this young guy he looks like a wombat. The name stuck and from then on he was affectionately known as Wombat or the Bat.
The 1971 fullback was another great in Bob Batty, the first player to play 200 first grade games for the club. Bob could see there was no point in holding back this brillant young fullback and he retired to allow Graham to assume his first grade spot.
Wombat never looked back and his brilliance in attack and solid defence played a vital role in Manly winning 4 premierships in the 1970s. He went on to hold the all time point scoring record for the club scoring 1917 points (71 tries, 847 goals and 3 field goals).
I am sure every Manly fan during that era would have a Graham Eadie favourite moment but personally for me was watching him score a 60 metre try at Brookvale against Cronulla, unfortunately I cannot remember the year but it would have been around 1976 to 1978. I was sitting with my father in the corner at the northern of the ground. Wombat took the ball near the half way, sliced through a gap as he charged his way to the try line 3 or 4 Cronulla defenders rushed across to attempt cut him down, Eadie without missing a step simply put his hip and shoulder into them and sent them flying backwards. After a 60 metre sprint he finally dived over in the corner directly in front of me with another Shark player hanging off his back. He got up and acknowledged the delerious crowd with a modest nod of the head I was sure he was looking directly at me.
It was such a great thrill for a young lad and I can still vividly remember that moment after nearly 25 years. Wombat was my hero after Bob Fulton became a turn coat and headed to Eastern Suburbs and he remains today my favourite all time player.
Eadie represented his state 12 times and his country on another 12 occassions. Words can probably not expressed his true ability but I had a discussion with Alan Thompson some years after Graham retired and I ask him about there brilliant combination in the backline. Thommo would take no credit for the many games they won through this combination, he only said I just through a long cut out pass in hope, Grahams football instincts were that good he just knew where the ball would go and luckily enough it hit him in the bread basket every time.
Eadie won the Rothmans Medal in 1974 and was the league&&aposs top point-scorer in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He retired after the losing grand final in 1983 as the game&&aposs highest total point-scorer (at the time).
After 3 years in retirement he made a comeback with Halifax in the UK league.
It was a tribute to the determination and fitness of this greatest of full backs that within 12 months of his arrival in the small Yorkshire town, perched high on the Pennines, he was to become their last line of defence in their Silk Cut Challenge Cup final victory over the mighty St Helens by 19-18. Furthermore, his impeccable display of full back skills was to gain him the coveted Lance Todd Trophy for Man of the Match at the age of 33.
Graham Eadie will always be remembered as one of the greatest players ever to pull on the Sea Eagles jersey.