Ken Day was the Manly ‘blue chip’ signing of the 1960s. Originally from Brisbane Wests he was forced to defy a QRL ban on Queensland players migrating south to play in the Sydney competition to join the Sea Eagles in 1965.
An outstanding lock forward he was a regular in the Australian test teams in the early 1960s. He made his state debut in 1961 then toured New Zealand later that year but injury forced him to miss the majority of games.
He finally achieved test status when he played against the touring Kiwis and South Africans in 1963. Later that year he toured the UK with the ashes winning Kangaroos. He starred in the Ashes winning test now known as the ‘Swinton Massacre’ when the Kangaroos defeated the Lions 50 to 12.
After 9 test matches Day’s international career ended in 1964 and when he played his final test against the French.
The Sea Eagles required an experienced player to guide their young team and recruited Day in 1965 to captain the club; this move effectively ended his representative career.
Management saw the tough international as the ideal player to build a premiership winning squad around. With Ken Day leading the team, along with Wally O’Connell, the club’s coach in 1966 & 1967, the Sea Eagles became a dominant force in the premiership.
A number of appearances in the finals came to fruition for Day and the Sea Eagles before the club made the 1968 Grand Final against South Sydney.
However Day missed the Grand Final due to injury and without their star forward and several other key players the Sea Eagles were no match for the Bunnies and lost a hard fought game.
Day returned to Brisbane the following year to coach Redcliffe and later Souths in the Brisbane premiership. However his contribution to the Sea Eagles should not be underestimated as the young team he led were the basis of the successful premiership sides of the early 1970s.
Unfortunately Ken Day passed away in 1998 aged 62.
Ken Day – a real Eagle ‘Blue Chip’