By Adam Lucius
What: Shute Shield round 1
Who: Southern Districts v Manly
Where: Forshaw Rugby Park
Result: Manly 35-17
Manly are where on the table: Fourth (5 points)
80 minutes in 80 seconds: After a 259-day/eight and a half month wait, the men in blue were finally back in action. The first scoreless 25 minutes gave no real indication of the points to come as both teams felt each other out. Souths were the first to score 15 minutes before the break, taking advantage of Manly being down to 14 men with Kotoni Ale binned. But just two minutes later – with Ale back in action – Manly grabbed the lead via a converted penalty try. The Marlins weren't to be headed from there. Two tries in three minutes early in the second half – Dennis Pili-Gaitau grabbing one and Sam Lane the other - helped the visitors out to a 21-5 lead. Souths hit back with a try on 67 minutes but a late Tommy Chesters double saw them off and earned the Marlins a bonus point into the bargain.
Where it was won: We all know games go for 80 minutes but this one was arguably won and lost in the first 20. Manly was being hammered 9-1 in the penalties and had Ale in the bin during the first quarter of the match but only conceded the one try. It was a monumental defensive performance. Sam Lane's 5/5 with the boot was also critical.
Marlins' best: Sam Lane, Adrian Hall, Sio Tatola
What they said: "We competed well for the full 80 minutes and won the moments that mattered. There's a fair bit of room for improvement but it's a hard place to win, so to come away with five points is very pleasing." – Manly coach Brian 'Billy' Melrose
Where to from here: It's perennial powerhouse Sydney Uni at Manly Oval on Saturday
On Sunday, the Marlins kicked of the 2017 Premier Rugby season at the Manly Bowling Club in front of a strong crowd of supporters, sponsors, players & coaches! Certainly there was a clear sense of community around the room and Club President Anthony Bergelin made note of the diverse attendance
“We have a renewed focus on our engagement with the Manly community and we look forward to rewarding all of our supporters with an improved match day experience both at the Oval and post-game here at the Bowling Club”. In attendance were Directors from the Mounties Group the club's Major Sponsor as well as gold sponsors and a host of businesses, many local, who have taken back of jersey sponsorships.
Head Coach Brian ‘Billy’ Melrose said the squad was in good shape for kick off but pointed out that there are a number of very strong teams in the competition and it is as tight as he has ever seen it. Melrose also pointed out that he is after improvement first & foremost
“The reality is we finished 7th in 2016 and looking at the teams ahead I can’t see any of them going backwards, so we either improve or we stay 7th”. He also encouraged fans to travel to watch the team throughout the season “I live in Manly & I know how wonderful life is by the beach but the reality is the competition is played all over Sydney and if our supporters want success then we have to get along and support the team away from Manly Oval - as hard as it is to leave!!”
The 1st Grade team selected to face Souths on Saturday saw the welcome inclusion of Dennis Pili-Gaitau who has returned to the Marlins following a stint at the Rebels. The team also includes 3 players from New Zealand making their debut for the Marlins, brothers Gunnz and Kevin Fuavao from Auckland, and Cam Bailey.
Bailey, who arrives from Christchurch said "I am definately excited about the opportunity to wear the Marlins Jersey with the history that comes with it. My family are heading over from Christchurch, and I hope to do them and the club proud on Saturday"
The Marlins always welcome the support of their loyal fans whilst on the road, so head down to Forshaw on Saturday to start the season off with a bang!
Get those dates locked in!
In just 16 days the 2017 season begins and for your convenience we've created a calendar of our fixtures, so you can now schedule your life around the rugby!
Just follow this link to add to your calendar, what could be easier?
And don't forget that you save if you buy a season ticket, and the first 50 ticket holders get a free Marlins trucker cap.
Following on from last weeks Major Sponsorship announcement, the Manly Rugby Football Club is delighted to announce that People + Culture Strategies (PCS) have renewed their commitment to the Marlins in 2017 as our Platinum Sponsor. Announcing the deal, PCS Founder & Managing Principal, Joydeep Hor said: “PCS is delighted to once again be a significant sponsor of the Marlins in 2017. The Marlins... are a club steeped in history and have a tremendous culture and sense of community. These qualities align very strongly with our firm which remains the only firm in the labour and employment law space that blends management consulting and legal services. Our commitment to making our client organisations stronger and more successful in their people management is a trait resonant with the Marlins. We are looking forward to an exciting year." MRFC Club President, Anthony Bergelin was equally thrilled in welcoming PCS back to the Marlins “We are very excited that PCS are back on board for 2017 and are committed to the growth of Rugby in the Manly District. PCS are an industry leader and the Club has found Joydeep and his team very personable, we are really looking forward to working with them again this coming season.”