Hi to all my 1989 team mates & coaches.
Sorry I couldn’t be here today as I am currently living in the UK.
When I look back on my career the 1st thing that reasonates with me always is not where it started but where I enjoyed it the most. I can honestly say that the 4 years I had in the cardinal & myrtle were by far the most enjoyable for a number of reasons.
With every team there has to be a leader – in George Piggins we could not have had a better one. In most teams the characteristics that make that man so unique usually shine through in his players – we were no different. Words like Tough / Physical / Relentless / Uncompromising would sum up both George and this team.
He created an environment not only for success but one that also challenged us as a group. His greatest attribute is his humility & that is why we all respected him as a coach but more importantly as man. I think we can all say without hesitation that the integrity of George is 2nd to none.
In regards to 89 – We all know that the results didn’t go our way in the end as we worked and trained for better. But we also know that life in this arena can be brutal. With saying this we can still be very proud of each other for our relentless effort. We worked bloody hard & sometimes the results doesn’t necessarily tell the story.
The NRL is both physically & mentally demanding but always worth it – in large part because of the people you share it with!!
It was an honour to be part of this team so thank you.
Have a great afternoon.
(Phil Blake 9th November 2019)
Ps – please remember those who have passed Adam O’Neil, Rod Gorman, Jason Moon, Col Berwick and anyone else whom I may of missed .
A Manly junior, Phil Blake burst onto the league scene as an 18-year-old halfback in 1982. Blake was a brilliant prospect, possessing a perfect chip-kick, with great anticipation and positional play, and was unlucky not to tour with the Kangaroos that year. A try-scorer in Manly’s grand final loss to P’matta in 1982 (and ‘Dally M’ Rookie of the Year), he scored a club record 27 tries fin the 1983 season. Under coach Bob Fulton in 1983-84, Blake’s defensive lapses were exposed and after persevering as a winger, he went to England (Warrington 1985-86) before switching to Souths where he secured his favoured five-eighth role. His career at Souths brought momentary stability, including State of Origin selection as a reserve in 1989. Blake left Souths the following year but despite scoring over 100 first grade tries, failed to re-establish a first-grade place at either Norths (1991) or Canberra (1992). Lining up with St George, Blake produced glimpses of his old magic in 1993, including an appearance in the grand final against Brisbane, but the 1994 season was unrewarding. Blake joined his sixth Sydney premiership club, the Auckland Warriors, in 1995 and scored the club’s first premiership try in the 25-22 loss to Brisbane. He returned to Manly at the beginning of 1998 and trained with the club pre-season before announcing his retirement. Blake was later assistant coach to Craig Coleman at Souths in 2002-03.
– ALAN WHITICKER