Feather in Fulton's Cap
Big League Annual, October 1987
FULTON moved a step closer to League
immortality by steering the Manly club to its fifth
premiership success. A player in the triumphant Manly
sides of 1972, 1973 and 1976, Fulton had done it all
on the field. But there were many who thought his
coaching record was far from perfect until
this season's superb grand final win over Canberra.
|In many ways, Fulton
was on a hiding to nothing. He had the best
players in the Winfield Cup at his disposal,
had reached two grand finals as a coach
previously and failed and would have bowed
out of the game a loser had Manly lost this
But the Sea Eagles won
the grand final over Canberra in such
convincing style that even Fulton's strongest
critics had to admit he had his side
perfectly tuned for the big game. Going into
the game after only one match in the past
month, Fulton's boys were expected to do it
tough against the Canberra Green Machine, the
But from the kick-off, it was
obvious that this was a match Manly was never
going to lose.
Mal Cochrane spots
an opening in the defence
power up front, spearheaded by Englishman Kevin Ward,
and the guile out wide of Cliff Lyons ensured the
last grand final at the SCG would be a memorable one
for Manly fans. Manly took out the big game 18-8
before a crowd of over 50,000 fans in sweltering 31
||Canberra provided stiff
opposition and their defence cracked just
once in the first half when Lyons
broke away from a scrum in the 27th minute.
Michael O'Connor's boot added a couple of
penalty goals, with Mal Meninga replying for
Canberra to leave the score at 10-2 midway
through the second half.
the turning point. With Manly on the attack,
fullback Dale Shearer kicked the ball across
field; Michael O'Connor received the perfect
bounce and scored. Was he offside? Canberra
fans said yes, but referee Mick Stone said no
and, at 16-2, the grand final had been won
Canberra produced their best
football in the last quarter of the match and
gave their fans a glimmer of hope with a try
to Chris O'Sullivan after an Ivan Henjak
Raiders pounded the Manly line for much of the
remaining time, but the well-disciplined Sea Eagles
defence held firm to secure the title.
could argue with the final result Manly were
the minor premiers, the best team all season and
played an entertaining style of football that brought
the fans to their feet.
the gallant Canberra outfit received plenty of
accolades from the League world as well. Two weeks
before the finals began, the Raiders were favorite to
miss out on a spot in the top five. Their
adventurous, daring and unpredictable football was
the highlight of the final series and a credit to
coaches Don Furner and Wayne Bennett.
was no doubt, however, that the day belonged to
Fulton, Grand final captain, Test captain and now
18 (M. O'Connor, C. Lyons tries; M. O'Connor 5 goals)
d CANBERRA 8 (C. O'Sullivan try; G. Belcher, M.
SCRUMS: Manly 12-11.
PENALTIES: Canberra 9-7.
REFEREE: M. Stone
League Annual, October 1987
Back to 1987
Grand Final Index