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1949 - An "Inconspicuous Season"

"A key signing for Manly's third premiership season was crunch- tackling George Hunter, a lock forward from Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley coalfields. Other acquisitions were halves, Len Walton and Jim Weir, while former Balmain player George (Barney) Mullins took over from Stehr as first grade coach. Even at 35, Stehr had contemplated a playing comeback with Manly. But since he was living in Maroubra in South Sydney territory, he was ruled ineligible under the rigid residential qualification rule.

At a committee meeting on February 17, 1949, Jack Munro survived two ballots before being re-elected club secretary. Munro, bidding for his 17th consecutive term as secretary of Manly's Junior League and district club, was beaten in the first ballot by New Zealander Arnold Stehr 54-50 in a four-way vote, but after a second preferential vote had the numbers 65-63 to retain office." [Smith 1991, pp 33-34.]

Again it would prove an inconspicuous season for the Sea Eagles. Manly lost it's first seven matches before beating Norths 16-7 in round 8. Another five wins and a draw in the last ten rounds lifted Manly eighth by the end of the season, ahead of Norths and Easts. Manly scored only 171 points in 18 games. Kelly McMahon was topscorer with just 39 points.

Nevertheless Bill Seymour's President's Report was positive about the future: "It can be said that the results of the season have laid the basis for great successes in the coming competition. In spite of what might appear to be inconsistency on the part of the first grade team, when they played like competition winners against the strongest sides and the following match went under to weak teams, the overall result was distinctly encouraging and marked a turning point in the history of the club." [ Smith 1991, p 34.]

A highlight of the season was the selection of Roy Bull into the Australian team for the second Test against New Zealand in Auckland. Bull was Manly's first international and at 20 years and 3 months was the youngest ever was the youngest Test debutant.

"After all the training I did in the surfboats and on the field, I was over the moon when I was named in the Australian touring party to New Zealand that year," Bull said.
"The club gave me a farewell night at Brookvale Oval where I received two leather bags and there was a cake shaped as a football and iced in the club' s colours. These days players get two or three thousand dollars when they go away on tours, but when I got those bags I was so bloody happy."

1949 Results
1949 Players

Main source: Smith 1991.

George Hunter

Bill seymour

Roy Bull