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Graham Eadie

Graham "Wombat" Eadie came to Manly from Woy Woy aged 17 in 1971. Eadie played four first grade games in 1971, but early in 1972 the incumbent fullback Bob Batty stepped aside into retirement to enable Eadie to take over as first grade fullback.

A brilliant attacking fullback, Wombat became a Sea Eagle legend and was heavily involved in Manly's first four premierships in the 1970s. He holds the record as Manly's top point scorer with 1917 points.

Eadie toured with the 1973 Kangaroos tour and grabbed the test fullback position when Gaeme "Changa" Langlands broke fist fist on an opponents face. He played in 12 tests as well as in the 1975 and 1977 World Cups.

Eadie won the Rothmans Medal in 1974 and was the league's top point-scorer in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He retired after the losing grand final in 1983 as the game's highest total point-scorer (at the time).

He came out of retirement to play in the UK for Halifax in the mid 1980s to win the Championship and the Challenge Cup in 1987 He was coach of Halifax in 1988.

[Source:W&H 2002.]

The following article is from French 1989, pp 59-60:

"GRAHAM EADIE

When Australian international Graham Eadie announced his return to Rugby League with Halifax in 1986 after almost three years in retirement, the Sydney press, and a few observers of the British rugby scene, declared that he was mad to even contemplate the idea. It was a tribute to the determination and fitness of this greatest of full backs that within 12 months of his arrival in the small Yorkshire town, perched high on the Pennines, he was to become their last line of defence in their Silk Cut Challenge Cup final victory over the mighty St Helens by 19-18. Furthermore, his impeccable display of full back skills was to gain him the coveted Lance Todd Trophy for Man of the Match at the age of 33. Not content with that distinction, the following year he was back again to face the star-studded Wigan side, sadly this time to pick up a loser's medal. Although he lacked a vital yard in pace Graham's positional sense and timing during those two seasons with Halifax were evidence of all the experience gained in his 17 seasons of rugby since journeying from Woy Woy to join Manly-Warringah in 1971.

The scouts who scour the junior teams of New South Wales never spotted better talent than the 5 feet 10-inch, 14-stone full back who burst on to the Test scene at only 19 years of age. As a youngster on his first Kangaroo tour in 1973 he proved to be a very strong runner into the threequarter line, joining many an attack out wide on the flanks and often scoring tries himself. He had the strength to shrug off the cover tackles of forwards but always had the sharp footballing instinct to look for a man better placed than himself. The hallmark of class full back play is the ability to burst into the gap, to make the extra man, but to hold onto the ball only long enough to allow the covering defenders no time to catch the player who ultimately receives the pass. The No. 1 must also be watching play from his deep position on the field and reshaping tactics accordingly. Graham Eadie, in a coaching manual for youngsters, once wrote: 'A full back can watch the plays like a chess player and assess the opposing strengths and weaknesses. Temperamentally he must be a cool customer. He must not dither.' His own words are the best estimation of Graham's own ability.

Graham's contribution to Australian rugby, both at club and international level, was immense. He enjoyed two Kangaroo tours to Britain in 1973 and 1978 as well as World Cup experience in 1975 and was awarded 14 Test caps for Australia. In domestic rugby few Sydney clubs have ever had a more prolific points-scorer than Manly's Graham Eadie. In between 1971 and 1983, when he played his final game for Manly, 'Wombat', as he was affectionately known to the fans, scored an amazing 1917 points in First Grade rugby. It is little wonder that Chris Anderson, Halifax's Australian coach, tempted him out of retirement and allowed him to give the Yorkshire fans a sight of the player who graced the Sydney Premiership for so long. Many player who try to recapture their lost youth often end up by tainting their reputation. Not so Graham Eadie. If it was ever possible, he added to his reputation as a magnificent fullback."