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

manly al

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Mid 1999.

Manly's SOS to Roosters
By ALEX MITCHELL and DANNY WEIDLER

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.
Pretty sure that Manly were the only affiliated A R L aligned club during the Super League war who did not receive direct support funding from the Packer group as opposed to all of the other A R L affiliated sides . This very significant drain on the Manly club money resources and cash reserves then apparently meant that they would really struggle to be financially viable during the early stage of the Peace or realigned competition post 2000 at least . Just was not the same for me when the merger occurred , full credit to those Manly officials and individuals who started the process of Manly being a stand alone club once more for 2002 .
 

Nuttybott

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Why is anyone even contributing to this thread? Surely no-one WANTED it to work...I certainly didn't!
I NEVER considered the Northern Eagles to be my team, never attended a single one of their games or watched them on television, and spent three years just praying for their demise and the return of our beloved Manly Sea Eagles...which thankfully happened. ☺
One thing I know...if the NE had continued, I wouldn't be on this Forum now. In fact, I would not have been a rugby league supporter for the past 20 years...
 

Manly To Win!

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It's important not to ignore the past. As an avid Manly supporter who was still a child during this period and a big reader of rugby league history I find this insight and these old articles very interesting.
 

Desert Eagle

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Those that ignore history are destined to repeat it.

We should learn from such mistakes.
 

Nuttybott

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I think we can take it as read that the Club HAS learned from this ghastly mistake, and will never repeat it... ☺
 

Brissie Kid

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Sunday, October 17, 1999
Norths, Manly too strong, clubs say
By GREG PRICHARD

The National Rugby League is putting enormous heat on the management of the Manly-Norths joint venture to leave some quality players out of their 25-man squad and put rookies in their places, sources within the league have revealed.

The official reason is that the NRL wants to help the new club get under the salary cap sooner rather than later, but sources say that is not the real reason.

They say it is because the NRL is bowing to pressure from other stand-alone clubs that fear the team would be too strong. They are worried about the potential for another joint-venture outfit to be instantly and enormously successful in the mould of St George Illawarra.

Officials from some of these clubs also have positions of power within the NRL.

The 25-man squad is yet to be publicly revealed, since the joint venture is yet to be finalised, but no-one would have to study the Manly and Norths lineups for long to realise the potential of the merged teams.

Some star players still contracted to either Manly or North Sydney are being courted by other clubs. They include Manly centre Terry Hill and the Bears quartet of fullback Matt Seers, five-eighth Michael Buettner, back-rower Willie Leyshon and prop Mark O'Meley.

All are still contracted to their original clubs beyond this season.

The NRL last week issued a written warning to all clubs that negotiations with such players could attract a charge under the anti-tampering rules, apparently as a gesture to try to appease Manly-Norths.

But, at the same time, the NRL is leaning on the northern joint venture to become a less obvious juggernaut by shedding some experienced players.

It is expected people involved in the Manly-Norths merger would be incensed at the NRL's attitude, but it is impossible to find out because no-one at the club wants to talk about or even acknowledge the problem.

They have enough problems in trying to settle the merger.

The Dragons were allowed to keep all players from the St George and Illawarra clubs. The players were placed on notional values far below what they were actually being paid to keep the club under the salary cap.

But St George Illawarra made the grand final first-up and that result has rubbed a few other clubs the wrong way.

Managers who can see a dollar for themselves in steering some of the Manly-Norths players elsewhere on new contracts over longer terms have been working overtime on that, which has upset the Manly-Norths players who want to make sure the new team is successful.

Those players have been appealing to colleagues who have huge offers elsewhere, and might leave, to hang on for another couple of weeks before making decisions on their futures.

Hill and Seers have been linked with the other joint-venture club, Wests Tigers.

Manly-Norths would naturally expect the NRL to apply the anti-tampering rules if a club was breaking them but whether the league would be prepared to do so or has merely made a hollow threat is another question.
 

Terry Zarsoff

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I believe it was the Goosters who approached Manly. They were keen on picking up our juniors.

Noting that Dan Dubya was one of the authors of the article, one is reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same. He is still concocting imaginary apocalyptic stories re: Manly.

As for the perenially angry and beetroot-faced Mitchell, is he still breathing?
 

Ryan

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Hmmmm, what to say?

I AM glad it happened, because it landed me many life-long & true friends (and that's what life is really all about), but it was dis-heartening to both groups of fans, and their respective clubs histories.

One thing I CAN say, is that the Manly Sea Eagles community was much more interactive and inclusive. Our (and I mean Sea Eagles here) online presence, thanks to many sources was such an upgrade, and the club, compared to The Bears, was much more connected to the fanbase.

The cultures were very different though. I'm not trying to be harsh here, or gain allies, but it's true - Manly had a winning culture. The Bears were always....relaxed by result I felt. The standard I guess was different. Players went to Manly to win Grand Finals. The Bears - I felt players went there for the coin mostly, apart from the juniors.

One thing I can say, is that The Sea Eagles as a club, our players, and our community has helped me through so many tough life situations, by providing a respite from life, and by providing entertainment & a hobby, and for that, I'll be eternally grateful.

Therefore, the ill fated merger was a positive for mine, because at the end of the day, it lead me into supporting the maroon and white & meeting all of you. I could never support another club (even if The Bears returned to the competition). I take that as a sign of me "seeing the light".
 

HoldenV8

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For mine, the Northern Eagles were never going to work. It was a forced marriage between two entities who pretty much outright hated each other, and like most of those marriages it ended in a bitter divorce with one continually whinging ever since that they got the worst of it and blaming the other for all their failures.

So am i but we'd have doubled our fanbase had it worked, done right it could've worked but it was done wrong on every level
Would it have doubled the fan base? How many life long Norths fans walked away from the NRL and the game itself when we merged and became the Northern Eagles? The crowds the Eagles got weren't split 50-50 between Manly and Norths fans, it was more like 75-25.
 

HoldenV8

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Show me a joint venture that has worked.
The other 2 worked for a while

Then like us ego didn't help
Sure both the Tigpies and St Merge have each won a premiership. But when you look at the two clubs ... the Tigpies are a shambles and as a club are about the same as what Wests and Balmain were 20 or so years ago with yearly calls for them to go back to being Wests and Balmain. While in all reality, St Merge was really nothing more than St George taking over Illawarra and giving token use of their name, home ground and jumper.

And both clubs in recent years have fallen into the category of those who have to start offering overs to name players just to get them to even consider joining. Take a look at the recent Latrell Mitchell saga. He turned down the Tigpies million dollar, play fullback offer to sign with Souffs for less money. And you know what? I really can't blame him for doing that.
 

manly al

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Thought that it was simply some financial viability that eventually and very pleasingly finally sunk the ill fated Manly - Norths union . Manly just seemed to have their heads above water , money wise but not the Bears grouping . Hence why Manly were able to still retain the franchise , just . The Illawarra region was or always seemed to be a major recruiting ground for the Dragons so maybe some type of a natural alliance there but dedicated Steelers fans may have had a different viewpoint at the time of that merger . Wests -Tigers will inevitably always have their issues but should stay functional enough to continue to have a future long term .
 

master blaster

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Hmmmm, what to say?

I AM glad it happened, because it landed me many life-long & true friends (and that's what life is really all about), but it was dis-heartening to both groups of fans, and their respective clubs histories.

One thing I CAN say, is that the Manly Sea Eagles community was much more interactive and inclusive. Our (and I mean Sea Eagles here) online presence, thanks to many sources was such an upgrade, and the club, compared to The Bears, was much more connected to the fanbase.

The cultures were very different though. I'm not trying to be harsh here, or gain allies, but it's true - Manly had a winning culture. The Bears were always....relaxed by result I felt. The standard I guess was different. Players went to Manly to win Grand Finals. The Bears - I felt players went there for the coin mostly, apart from the juniors.

One thing I can say, is that The Sea Eagles as a club, our players, and our community has helped me through so many tough life situations, by providing a respite from life, and by providing entertainment & a hobby, and for that, I'll be eternally grateful.

Therefore, the ill fated merger was a positive for mine, because at the end of the day, it lead me into supporting the maroon and white & meeting all of you. I could never support another club (even if The Bears returned to the competition). I take that as a sign of me "seeing the light".
And we are glad you are with us mate.. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

47MVEagle

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Photo of first NE game in 2000. A trial match at Leichardt vs Wests Tigers.



I was at that game!

Check out the old style "away trial match" jerseys lol they look like something someone had in an old kit bag in the boot of their car.
 

master blaster

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Thanks mate !! I really appreciate that.
Mate. We might not all agree all the time, but one thing I do know is that we are all family here. There is always someone ready to pick you up when you are down and you are very welcome.. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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