from February to September
League Annual, October 1987, p. 13
J.J. Giltinan Shield is back over the Spit Bridge for
the first time since 1978 and the Sea Eagles'
greatest player, Bob Fulton, has at last got the
monkey off his back.
schemed the win brilliantly and Manly proved they
could lead from start to finish over a gruelling
season and emerge deserved premiers of the 1987
Winfield Cup. It's been a long time between champagne
popping for Manly and the 18-8 grand final win over
Canberra broke the Canterbury-Parramatta domination
of grand finals in the '80s.
side was committed to a grand final victory well
before September 27 in the blazing heat of 31
degrees. Skipper Paul Vautin in his ninth year
with Manly was both an inspiring and
courageous skipper. "When Cliff Lyons scored in
the 26th minute I knew we wouldn't surrender,"
Vautin said. "There was never a chance this side
would buckle under pressure against any side.
were hungry for a victory. This was our best chance
and we wanted it for ourselves, our family, our
district and for coach Bob Fulton. "Fulton is
much maligned by people who don't know him.
"He's the greatest coach I have played under and
we dug deep for Bozo to repay the hours and the
unfair slamming he has received since he took up
couldn't be happier. I've tasted defeat in two
previous grand finals and didn't want it again.
"It is sheer relief really we were the
best side all season and deserved to win."
Cliff Lyons, winner of man of the match in the grand
final, slips away from Canberra forward Terry Regan's
attempted tackle at the SCG.
18-8 grand final win didn't show the superiority of
Manly over Canberra. The side had four tries
disallowed by referee Mick Stone with a few
centimetres the difference between the scoreline and
one around the 30-8 margin.
Cliff Lyons try in the first half and a Michael
O'Connor try from a Dale Shearer kick 15 minutes into
the second half had Manly in front 16-2 and in an
unbeatable position. O'Connor's perfect goalkicking
in a pressure cooker game (five from five) was the
icing on the cake.
had many stars in the blast furnace conditions.
Five-eighth Cliff Lyons was the winner of the second
Clive Churchill medal. Lyons was brilliant,
particularly in the first half when given a free
reign to attack more by coach Fulton. His defence was
outstanding and he is a turned around footballer in
over a year ago his career was at the crossroads
sent off in a sudden death semi-final and
looking for both stability and consistency as well as
discipline. He says Fulton has given him the right
advice to get all three.
far behind Lyons was English front rower Kevin Ward.
Ward was magnificent in the rucks, a real powerhouse
and worth every cent of the airfare Manly paid to get
him back from England for the big game. He tore into
the rucks with great determination and his defence
was rock solid.
English coach Mal Reilly rated him the best forward
on the field ... and there could be no arguments. But
what of the wholehearted effort of Ron Gibbs and Des
Hasler, the sheer brilliance of Michael O'Connor, the
safety of Dale Shearer and the inspiration of Paul
player pulled their weight and Noel Cleal ignored
smashed ribs to play his part in the victory.
were never going to be denied this victory in 1987.
Back to 1987
Grand Final Index