Sean Maloney: The four best Manly v Warringah derbies I played in

By Sean Maloney

Mad Monday 2008.

Manly had just rolled Warringah in the upset of the season and we were camped at our scrumhalf Paddy Pearce’s joint in North Steyne. There were plenty of quality dress ups including James Lakepa who arrived as Captain Caveman. Sadly, ‘Keps’ lost the deposit on his costume after accidentally eating the rubber nose attached to his face, while mowing through a handful of leg ham.

The arvo was travelling beautifully when for some inexplicable reason, Paul Sheedy, who’d been a menace in the victory two days earlier, decided to wallop prop Eddie Aholelei from behind with an industrial strength broom. As expected, it was the broom that snapped first, then Ed.

"What are you doing Sheedy," asked Ed calmly. (I should note Eddie is built like a Tongan Hulk)

"You wanna lay down," replied ‘Sheeds.’

Eddie shrugged his shoulders and sent a punch that travelled a total of 4cm, which in turn sent ‘Sheed’s’ nose so far across his face it almost landed in Freshwater.

"Why’d you do that for," asked Sheedy before resetting his hooter, shrugging his shoulders and walking back to the esky.

I’m not sure why, but Paul was denied entry to the Round Bar that afternoon.

That was my final run in a Derby. More on the game later, but a decade out of the code gives you time for reflection on those you played with and against. It’s the greatest Rugby Derby in Australia and here are four of the most memorable clashes I’ve been involved in. (Thanks to Bob Wilson for digging out the Rugby News programmes. No names have been changed, this is how it went down.)

IT BEGINS – 1st Grade Colts Grand Final 1999

The Marlins had a decent team that year, it was a forward pack of giants. One day at Chatswood Oval we packed a scrum 30 metres out and ended up being awarded a penalty try after driving them back 25 over six minutes, just because we could.

Warringah were decent too, led by Cameron Treloar, Michael ‘Lippo’ Lipman and Justin Purll. Out wide they also had Sam Harris and Mike Ruthven doing good things.

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