DEVILS GROW UP
For the past 71 years, the Harbord Devils have produced thousands of young male and female rugby league players. Their alumni includes the great Steve "Beaver" Menzies, Dave "Mule" Hosking, Wayne and Rick Chisholm and former international Phil Daley. The Devils were the feeder club for Valley United's senior teams but that connection ended three years ago when the Spartans sadly folded after 50 years of senior football.
Sick of seeing their best junior players end up at other clubs, Harbord United has taken the bold step of launching adult-aged sides for the first time in 2021. The club will be represented from under-6s right through to men's A Grade. "Our focus has always been on the juniors, development, growth, family and fun," Devils president Ben Smith said.
"But with an increase in junior numbers and teams over the last couple of seasons, we realised we needed to address senior footy so our kids had a pathway instead of leaving for other clubs.
"We have people who are proactive, experienced and passionate about ensuring this pathway from junior to senior rugby league at Harbord is sustainable for the long term."
The highly-respected Frank McKee will take the A Grade coaching reins, assisted by Nathan Miller and manager Steve Woodley.
JACK'S 24-HOUR CELEBRATION
Manly cricketer Jack Edwards is proof professional athletes don't always have to stick to the activated almonds and Tahitian alkaline water to be at their best. The 20-year-old was up all Saturday night celebrating with Sydney Sixers teammates after they won the Big Bash title at the SCG. Just hours later on next to no sleep, he opened the batting for Manly and blasted 92 in the Waratahs' big quarter-final limited overs win over Fairfield-Liverpool. A fully rested Edwards and Manly will be back in action at Manly Oval on Sunday when they take on Randwick-Petersham for a spot in the final.
SHANNON TACKLES MARRIAGE
Congratulations to former Manly and Wests Tigers NRL player Shannon Nevin following his marriage to Erika Huayllasco last Saturday. Shannon and the "Peruvian Princess", as he calls his new wife, wed before family and friends at Bexley's Anater Lebanese restaurant. Ex-NRL referee Greg McCallum handled celebrant duties as masterfully as he used to control State of Origin matches. Shannon has been doing some wonderful work in the metal health space over the past few years, launching the popular Walk 'n' Talk for Life events.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
There was a nice family moment at North Sydney Oval on Monday when former Manly and NSW cricketer Matthew Phelps was on hand to watch daughter Mia play for ACT in the Regional Big Bash cricket finals. On a ground where he scored plenty of runs, the proud dad witnessed young Mia help her side beat the powerful Coffs Coast side to win the tournament for the first time.
IN THE NEWS
NUMBER'S NOT UP
When Lottoland came aboard as naming rights sponsor of Brookvale Oval in 2017, it created a massive stir. Once people worked out what Lottoland was and what it actually did, the anti-gambling mob went rabid while rusted-on Sea Eagles fans simply refused to have their arm twisted into calling the ground anything but "Brookie Oval".
But over time everyone learned to live with the rebrand, with many fans joking last year you had more chance of winning Lotto than Manly actually winning a home game. We understood the deal with Lottoland was to run out at the end of the 2020 season, but apparently not. Manly CEO Stephen Humphreys confirmed a one-year extension had been signed - on the quiet it seems - before he arrived at the club. "At some point there was another year added on...it now runs until the end of the 2021 season," he said.
In an interesting twist, Northern Beaches Council does not have to sign off on any future name change or sponsorship renewal. "Under the current licensing agreement, sponsorship agreements including benefits such as naming rights at the oval, are between the Sea Eagles and the sponsor," CEO Ray Brownlee confirmed.
We sought comment from Lottoland but they were unusually quiet.
Things have returned to normal at one of Manly's more upmarket sporting establishments following a workplace scandal. Two board members stood down after a lengthy investigation, which caused great angst among the committee and those involved.
DID YOU KNOW?
Men's netball is a thing - and the Manly-Warringah Netball Association is one of the prime movers. The MWNA is launching a mixed Sunday afternoon competition this year and hopes it eventually morphs into a male-only league in the near future.
"It's about being more inclusive and growing the interest in what has largely been an untapped market," MWNA secretary Cathy Hurditch said.
See the MWNA website for details.
Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor at: email@example.com