IN HIS last interview before his death, Manly great Bob Fulton likened Josh Schuster to fellow league immortal Wally Lewis.
"He is once-in-a-generation player - just watch the way he moves and the time he has with the ball," Bozo told this columnist. "He's got similar traits (to Lewis). "With his size and skill, they (Manly) can build a side and a club around him at five-eighth."
Schuster backed Fulton's words with deeds when he was finally given his shot at a regular first grade spot, producing several stand-out performances as Manly roared into the top four last year.
But it's got to be said, his dip in form during this season has been alarming. No longer commanding a regular run-on berth, Schuster came off the bench for the last 22 minutes as the Sea Eagles threw away victory against North Queensland last Friday. His involvement was minimal and one of his no-look passes - now as predictable as white bread - forced Kieran Foran into a knock-on that pretty much killed off any hope of a late Manly revival.
Schuster is not solely to blame for Manly's average campaign this season, but his so-so form is a contributing factor and a concern. He started the season late due to injury, playing just six of 15 games for one try, one try assist and just two line breaks.
Fans accuse the 21-year-old of being unfit - a claim the Manly strength and conditioning staff strongly dispute - but it's clear something is not quite right. Schuster is slated to take Foran's spot at five-eighth next year, and Sea Eagles fans will be desperately hoping he lives up to the hype.
Players have been teeing off at Manly Golf Club since 1903, among them some of the biggest names in the game. But none had ever pulled off an albatross - a hole in one on a par four or two shots on a par five - in 119 years
Until now. Twenty-one-year-old Will Crisp achieved this remarkable feat on Manly's ninth hole, smacking his tee shot 270m before nervously pacing the fairway unsure of where his ball had ended up. When a quick look in the rough did not give up the Titleist, someone suggested Crisp check the cup. There, nestled against the flagstick, rested his ball. Cue pandemonium among the playing group.
The odds of an albatross sit somewhere north of a million to one and counting. It just doesn't happen...supposedly.
"I hit the drive perfectly and it was probably a bit too online, but 270 metres anywhere around the green is usually a pretty good shot," Will told us. "I'm running up there and I didn't see a ball anywhere near the pin. I'm thinking it's either in the hole or off the back of the green."
The roar of delight from his playing group quickly gave it away.
Back at the clubhouse, as tradition has it, an open bottle of scotch sat on the bar to help celebrate the occasion.
"It was half gone by the time I got there...you'd think they would have waited," Will laughed. "It was nice to be able to do something like this at a club which has been so good to me since I was a young bloke."
The club will erect a plaque on the ninth to permanently recognise Will's feat.
It's not often rugby sides travel to University Oval and come away with the spoils.
But the Manly Marlins are enjoying ticking off the challenges one by one this year, knocking off perennial Shute Shield powerhouse Sydney Uni last Saturday to go top of the table.
And weren't the locals upset about it. As Manly players celebrated with their fans - belting out a loud rendition of the team song - just metres from unimpressed Uni players and coaching staff stood with dark looks on their faces. One peed-off official shoved your columnist in the back after yelling 'can you get off the field' as I conducted a post-match interview as a women's match was about to kick-off behind us.
It sets it up for a spicy return bout at Manly Oval on August 6.
Down at the Rats, the men in green are in fifth spot after beating Southern Districts in a typically tough and torrid affair. They hope to be right on the Marlins' hammer by the time the local derby - the 100th in history - comes around at Manly Oval on July 23.
First came the split - then a 24-year separation - before a reunion that led to one of the strongest "marriages" in peninsula sport. The Forest-Killarney Football Club this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, but not many are aware of the path the men and women in green trod to reach the milestone.
Starting out as Forest in 1962 with just two teams - under-8s and under-10s - the club shared a field with Forest Rugby Club at what is now known as Melwood Oval, relying on players' mothers to sew together jerseys. Forest was the largest club in the Manly-Warringah Football Association, boasting 23 teams and around 300 players.
By 1969, with young families moving into one of the big growth areas on the northern beaches, Killarney Heights FC was formed as a breakaway club, with Wakehurst and Belrose Rangers also emerging as local rivals. Killarney and Forest stayed apart for 24 years before a merger in 1993 brought them back under the same umbrella.
Today, Forest-Killarney is one of the biggest clubs in the Manly-Warringah Football Association, fielding 99 teams and 1400 players.
A number of functions and activities have been planned to mark the 60-year milestone.
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