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Northern Eagles - A retrospective look at how it could have worked


Active Member
Jul 23, 2017
Is there any bears fans who could give their perspective on this?
My Dad was a North Sydney supporter...................he, as with most heathens hated Manly.
I don't think there was/is any another club's supporters who would have accepted and "embraced" a merger with Manly!

He started watching AFL!


Maroon and White - Born and Bred
Jun 22, 2010
Although I hated the merger, I was a season ticket holder from day one.
It was doomed from day one, with a fractured board and playing group.
Also David Fairleigh and Greg florimo, along with central coast mayor Chris Holstein bagging Manly and death riding the joint venture EVERY SINGLE DAY! on NBN , 2GO and sea FM.


Well-Known Member
Sep 25, 2011
Ask a Steelers fan what they think. It wasn't a merger, it was a takeover.

The thing that really sh!ts me about St Merge is how the NRL and their media lackeys perpetuate the myth of the Red V and their records. St George died when the club merged and their records were consigned to history. St Merge have only been around since 1999 and have only won one premiership. Their is no more "proud tradition" and their is no "amazing history".
Was going to make the same point about the Steelers fans - plenty around the Illawarra who still maintain the rage about the takeover and won't have a bar of the Dragons.

The Tigers JV is also more accurately described as a takeover than a merger. They picked up a big junior base and a whole heap of cash in return for a little token magpie embroidered on the jersey. The only 'Wests Tigers' fans I personally know were Balmain supporters; my uncle was a mad Magpies fan and hasn't watched a game in years.


Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
It was what it was. A grab for $8M. They were always going to cast off the Bears side of the merger and come back to Brookie after an appropriate period. We got what we wanted and so did the league - one less team in Sydney.

Brissie Kid

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 1999 - Malcolm Knox: "Norths and Manly - it'll all end in tears."

Marriage made in hell borders on the insane

The architects of rugby league's future are drawing up new club borders with the same wisdom as those imperial mandarins compelled by the neatness of situating Kurdistan within Turkey, Croatia within Yugoslavia, and Belfast within Britain.

One of the first rules of history - civil conflicts are the bloodiest, neighbours reserving a special ferocity for each other - is sometimes ignored in the interests of neatness and convenience.

League is going the same way, proposing such preposterous internecine marriages as Manly-Norths and Penrith-Parramatta.

The merger business carries a fundamental contradiction. It might be simpler to force neighbours into the one house but sporting neighbours would rather die than live together.
St George-Illawarra and Balmain-Wests were easy mergers. Neither are neighbours but the Saints would never merge with perfidious Cronulla, and Wests reserve too much hate and fear for Canterbury.

Norths and Manly - it'll all end in tears.

Doesn't the NRL understand how profoundly Norths and Manly hate each other? Think of how much everyone else hates Manly, and double it with each suburb as you near Brookvale.

This stuff tears families apart. I grew up as a lone Manly supporter in a den of Bears, and it was horrible, horrible. No matter how high on the ladder Manly were, or how low Norths, the local derby always seemed to end in an upset - mine.

Even when Norths could find ways to lose to any team, they could beat Manly. I still throw darts at a photograph of my brother poncing about in Norths jersey, socks, cap and scarf the day they beat us at Brookvale to stop us winning the minor premiership. My brother and I live 300 kilometres apart now, but our most common reason to telephone each other is to gloat at the other's club's misery.

I grew up an outcast in my own family. They dragged me to Bear Park, my grandfather reminiscing about stealing away from North Sydney Boys' High to watch Cecil Blinkhorn and Harold Horder in the Bears' premiership teams.

We'd sit on the hill squinting into the sun, seeing the Bears get trounced by Canterbury or Parramatta - but it didn't matter how badly they lost, when the PA announced that Manly were getting done at Brookvale, my family would rack it up as a victorious day.

Or, if Manly won, I could nurse it as a secret triumph for the brave individual over the bullying kin.

Could I support a team with Norths in it? Could my family follow a team with any colour, name or symbol associated with Manly? Impossible. Is there any natural affinity between the culture of the northern beaches and that of the North Shore? Is there any sympathy between the folks who've trudged along, defying weather and circumstance, to see Norths lose for 75 years, and the people who'll clear off to the beach at half-time if Manly are going down?

Does anyone think a merger could force Norths fans to forgive Manly for stealing Herman Hamilton, Johnnie Gray, Bruce Walker, Cliff Lyons? These map-drawers understand us as scantly as Whitehall and Versailles understood the Kurds and the Croats.

We may come from rugby union territory but league is the game. When I was at school, my mates and I played union but talked league, only league. Have things changed so much that everyone from Milsons Point to Woy Woy gets lumped into one club, or sacrificed to rugby union?

It'll all end in tears. My brother has already bought Bears gear for his toddler sons and would sooner barrack for the red-and-black Nabiac Bears in Group 27 than have anything to do with Manly. I imagine Parramatta and Penrith supporters have similar feelings.

One plus one, in this case, equals nothing. If we must die, merge us with anybody - with Souths, with Easts, goddamn it, with Brisbane - but please, not with our despised neighbours! The Northern Eagles? I have no club!


Brissie Kid

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Norths, Manly arguing over the deckchairs


Officials of Manly and Norths met again yesterday morning, their joint venture a fait accompli except for a name and a coach.

North Sydney officials argue the combined team should be a brand new entity, while Manly prefer Northern Eagles.

Norths are lobbying for a name which picks up the coastal ethos of the two clubs Stingrays or Lighthouses, perhaps.

(The Pelicans is already taken, being the name of the Central Coast division team.)

The choice of coach is also an issue, recriminations from the Super League war clearly continuing.

Manly are opposed to Norths' nominee, Graham Murray, who was sacked by Illawarra for taking players to meetings with News Ltd in 1995. Murray was subsequently appointed the inaugural coach of the Hunter Mariners and is now coaching Leeds in England.

The Bears have signed him to a three-year contract which pays him a little over $200,000 a season.

Manly argue News Ltd can continue their generosity to Murray by extending the term of his English post.

In any case, the Sea Eagles are happy with their incumbent coach, Steve Sharp, while Norths contend Murray is better credentialed.

While neither club will make on-the-record comments about the coaching dispute, Norths chairman Ray Beattie admits he favours a new entity.

Beattie said: "We're looking at something generic, a theme that picks up our big footprint, from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Wyong and west to Pennant Hills.

"It is a region of 1.3 million people and we need to grow a new identity without losing our traditional markets.

"Rugby league has changed forever. We can keep our heritage in first division and play at North Sydney Oval, but if we go belly-up we lose all that."



Maroon and White - Born and Bred
Jun 22, 2010
I lived in Gosford at the time and was a season ticket holder.
It could have and should have worked, but I'm damn glad it didn't.
The reasons it didn't work imo are as follows.
Board infighting Manly v norths
Anti Manly local media agenda led by local mayor Chris holstien and supported by florimo and Fairleigh.
Every time you turned on 2go or sea fm one of these dribblers were sabotaging the NE and incouraging supporters to boycott home games.
That's it in a nutshell, it didn't help that the NRL refused to register certain players because the other clubs protested that the club would be too strong and have an unfair advantage from the beginning.
But the crowds were there in the beginning, and it could have been a successful club if not for the above mentioned.


Well-Known Member
May 4, 2010
And a big financial step in the merger failing was the signing of Kimmorley. Nothing against Kimmorley but if the club didn't spend the reported $500,000 and kept Orford, I wonder if the merger could have stayed afloat financially at the time.


Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2014
And we have private ownership by egocentric ****wits

Pick your poison
If we were still the Northern Eagles I wouldnโ€™t be supporting them or watching NRL......guaranteed. They nearly took us down with their useless board & management. All I can say is thank God we are still Manly Warringah Sea Eagles & have zero to do with the Bears or their colours! Give me Penn anytime. We are maroon & white......not black or red or whatever! The Bears are gone & I for one donโ€™t give a $hit.

master blaster

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Feb 8, 2010
Although I hated the merger, I was a season ticket holder from day one.
It was doomed from day one, with a fractured board and playing group.
Also David Fairleigh and Greg florimo, along with central coast mayor Chris Holstein bagging Manly and death riding the joint venture EVERY SINGLE DAY! on NBN , 2GO and sea FM.
Dont forget Mark Cannon. He was another grub was doing his best to make sure it failed
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Brissie Kid

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2010

Mid 1999.

Manly's SOS to Roosters

Manly's only hope for continued stand-alone existence in the National Rugby League is to find a very rich sponsor - and urgently.

Otherwise, realistic Sea Eagles officials are faced with a cap-in-hand merger, with their targeted option being the Sydney City Roosters.

However, Sydney City chairman Nick Politis was adamant his cash-flush club would continue to stand alone in next year's reduced 14-team competition.

"We're not interested in any mergers," Politis raged.

"I'd like to know who approached us. Was it the groundsman from Brookvale Oval or a member of the board. Who was it?"

The problem for Manly is that when Optus completes its final $1.5million payment to the club at the end of this season, Manly face a huge hole in their funding.

Already the club is drawing up plans to dump a swag of its highest-paid stars, as it had to do with champion prop Mark Carroll last year.

Manly's financial predicament can be sourced to a steady fall in club revenue and the burden of fabulous salaries paid to senior players during the Super League war.

The Manly Warringah Leagues Club, the highly successful registered club which has been Brookvale's most generous sponsor over the past four decades, is incapable of meeting the post-Optus funding crisis.

As the financial vice tightens, there are rumours at the club that some players are not being paid or that salary payments are slow.

Some senior players with Test aspirations have started to search for new careers with other NRL clubs.

Their managers are in the market discreetly seeking bids, including speculation surrounding Test centre Terry Hill.

A merger between the two clubs would leave the Eastern Eagles as the only rugby league club north of the city after the Bears complete their relocation to Gosford.

The only advantages for the Roosters in a merger with Manly are gaining access to the Sea Eagles' loyal tribe of fans, and being able to market themselves as a super club for a significant geographical area of Sydney's east and north.

While Sydney City have no problem with funds, they do have a serious shortage of fans, and have struggled to attract viable crowds for many years.

Manly has the fans, but fast emptying reserves of cash.

Wests' situation is equally bleak. Privately, officials have told the league that unless they can achieve a joint venture they will be forced out of the 2000 competition. The Magpies have a funding shortfall of more than $1 million and cannot afford to stand alone next season - even though they are close to organising funding for 2001. In the past few months they have had talks with Penrith, Canterbury and Parramatta.

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