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1948 - Wooden Spoon Bearly Avoided

New recruits for Manly's second season were Newcastle and Country Firsts representative prop Fred Brown, halfback Ron O'Connell and Cootamundra utility back Neil McDonnell. The coach was again Ray Stehr.

In an optimistic start to the season, the Sea Eagles opened with an encouraging 15-14 win over premiership heavyweights Newtown at Brookvale.

With its impressive opening, Manly was granted its first "Match-of-the-day" at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the second round against St George. The Dragons won the match 23-10 before a crowd of 21,000.

A lengthy injury list took its toll and the defeat to St George was the first of six straight losses with the second win of the season not coming until round 8 with an 8-5 win against Parramatta at Brookvale, followed by a 3-3 draw against Norths at North Sydney Oval.

Fred Brown

Despite putting up strong displays against the top sides, wins were hard to come by in the second half of the season. The only win between rounds 10 and 17 was a 39-13 thrashing of Souths at Brookvale in round 15.

This set up a local derby final round clash with Norths to decide last place. The Sea Eagles scraped home 13-12 to once again avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.

In 18 matches Manly won 4, drew 1 and lost 13 scoring 221 for and 334 against, finishing ninth in the ten team competition.

In the words of Club President Bill Seymour the efforts of the Sea Eagles "...were marked with a very definite inconsistancy; they staged a magnificent game on one Saturday and a mediocre performance on the next. They would play their best games against the strongest opposition. Naturally, the loss of outstanding players through injuries had far-reaching effects". [Smith 1991, page 33.]

Bill Seymour

Merv Gillmer


Merv Gillmer was Manly's top scorer with just 47 points. Wingers Gordon Willougby and Jim Walsh were the leading try scorers with 8 each.

1948 Results
1948 Players

Main source: Smith 1991.

Jim Walsh