The 'Tiger Talk' column appears each week in the Campbelltown Advertiser.
When I was told it had been 15 years since Manly had played a premiership match at Campbelltown Stadium, I couldnt believe it.
I knew it had been a long time but that long. It stunned me. I was even more shocked when I was handed the match details of the last time Manly had played at Campbelltown. It was on Saturday, June 27, 1998. The details showed that I was the Magpies captain and current Manly coach Geoff Toovey was the Sea Eagles captain. Manly won that game 45-30 in front of a crowd of 7712. It was that long ago Tim Mander was the referee!
Looking back at the Wests side that day there were Ken and Kevin McGuinness, a young Brett Hodgson was the half-back,. The forward pack featured my old Pommy mate Harvey Howard, Darren Fritz, the Mad Moroccan in hooker Cherry Mescia, and I was at lock. The coach was none other than Tommy Raudonikis and his son, Lincoln, was in the back-row with Scott Coxon.
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The Manly side contained the likes of centres John Hopoate and Terry Hill and what about their forwards in Steve Menzies, Neil Tierney, Daniel Gartner, Nik Kosef. Their bench players were also quite handy in Craig Field and Cliff Lyons.
Like I said, Manly won the game and it was a tough, hard battle. It always was when you took on the Sea Eagles. As Wests players, we loved nothing more than taking on the boys from the northern beaches. It was one game we always fired up for.
Leading the charge more often than not was Tommy. He played in the legendary Fibros v Silvertails battles of the late 70s and early 80s. They were really, tough, physical games. Tommy loved the Fibros tag and was proud to represent the working class people. He installed that in us when we were based in Campbelltown. He was proud to live there. We were proud to be from Campbelltown and that feeling still exists today.
It is one of the many reasons why I am looking forward to this Monday nights match against Manly at Campbelltown. It has been too long of a wait and apart from a much needed Wests Tigers victory, I love to see Manly given a traditional warm Campbelltown welcome. I hope their team bus had a Navman on it, they may need to use it to find Campbelltown again.
So come on you old die hard Wests fans. We need you there. After all, this is Manly, the Silvertails are back in Campbelltown. For one rare night only. So I want you to pull on your Wests Tigers gear and be proud to say you are from Campbelltown. Lift us to victory and make sure we give those Sea Eagles a night to remember