Graham Eadie

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Graham Eadie
Personal information
Nickname Wombat[1]
Born (1953-11-25) 25 November 1953 (age 61)
Lidcombe, New South Wales
Playing information
Height 179 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 95 kg (14 st 13 lb)
Position Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1971–83 Manly-Warringah 237 71 847 3 1917
1986–89 Halifax
Total 237 71 847 3 1917
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1974–80 New South Wales 14 3 13 0 35
1974–79 Australia 20 2 5 0 16
Source: 100 Greatest Players

Graham "Wombat" Eadie (born 25 November 1953, Lidcombe, New South Wales), is an Australian former rugby league footballer of the 1970s and 80s who has been named amongst the nation's finest of the 20th century.[2] A New South Wales State of Origin and Australian international representative fullback, he played in Australia during Manly-Warringah's dominance of the NSWRFL competition during the 1970s. He won four premierships with them and his 1,917 points in first grade and 2,070 points in all grades were both records at the time of his retirement. Eadie also played in England for Halifax, winning the Challenge Cup final of 1987 with them. He also won World Cups with Australia and collected awards such as the Rothmans Medal and Lance Todd Trophy.

Playing career[edit]

  • Manly 1971–1983: 237 games, 1,917 points (71 tries, 847 goals, 3 field goals)
  • Australia 1973–1979: 20 Tests, 16 points (2 tries, 5 goals)

Eadie was graded by Manly-Warringah in 1971 and showed immediate promise in the lower grades that season. The following year with the retirement of long serving Manly fullback Bob Batty, he established himself as the team's first grade fullback and his powerful running style was already a serious danger to all Manly's opponents. Though not excessively tall at just under 180 cm, Eadie's solid build of around 97 kg (15 stone) gave him abundant pace and so much strength that once he was on the move, few opposing defenders were ever able to stop him when he ran into the backline. At the same time, Eadie was an accurate line kicker and extremely safe under the high ball in an era when the "bomb" was coming into prominence.

Although he had been used as a goal kicker in some games in 1972, it was only in 1973 that Eadie became Manly's major point scorer. That year, he kicked 14 goals in a match against Penrith, and for the following three years he was the leading point scorer in the competition, reaching a high of 242 points (14 tries and 100 goals) in 1975, a club record that would not be broken until New Zealand dual international fullback Matthew Ridge scored 257 points (11 tries, 106 goals and 1 field goal) in 1995.

Eadie was selected to the Australian team for the 1973 Kangaroo tour and, after an injury to Kangaroos Captain-coach Graeme Langlands, took over as Test fullback for the final two Ashes tests against Great Britain, marking his debut at Headingley in Leeds by kicking 5 goals in windy conditions. Though Langlands regained the test fullback spot in 1974, Eadie went on to be Australia's regular fullback from 1975 until he retired from representative rugby league following the experimental 1980 State of Origin match. Despite being a record point scorer for Manly, Eadie was never a prolific point scorer at Test level as Country Firsts and later Parramatta Centre Mick Cronin was generally the first choice kicker in representative sides.

In 1974, Eadie won the Rothmans Medal as Sydney rugby league's best-and-fairest player, and at the end of the controversial 1978 finals series he produced one of the finest performances ever by a fullback in the Grand Final replay,[according to whom?] scoring a try, going close to scoring a second time before passing for Russell Gartner to score, and charging consistently through an extremely strong Cronulla-Sutherland defence. Two years earlier, his accurate goal kicking under pressure won Manly the 1976 Grand Final where they scored only one try to Parramatta's two. Eadie's dominance in the '76 and '78 Grand Finals was recognised thirty years later with the awarding of retrospective Clive Churchill Medals for Man of the Match in those games.

Following the 1978 Grand Final, Eadie was selected to his second Kangaroo Tour. The coach of the 1978 Kangaroos was Eadie's Manly coach Frank Stanton, while the captain was his former Sea Eagles team mate Bob Fulton, who was at the time playing for Eastern Suburbs.

Despite Manly declining in surprising fashion to miss the semi-finals for the first time in twelve years in 1979, Eadie's form remained excellent, and even a major injury that forced him to miss half of the 1981 season failed to dim his brilliance: at the end of 1982, commentators[who?] were noticing how he was "more involved in the game than at any stage since 1973." Thus his retirement from Sydney rugby league after Manly's loss to Parramatta in the 1983 Grand Final was regretted by most lovers of the game[citation needed] – borne out by his comeback for English club Halifax three years later, when he scored sixteen tries (a record for a fullback) and helped Halifax to the 1986 Club Championship and 1987 Rugby League Challenge Cup, winning the Lance Todd Trophy for his man-of-the-match performance in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Coaching career[edit]

After retriement Eadie occasionally wrote articles for such magazines as Rugby League Week and attempted to carve a career as a coach. His first attempt with Halifax was short-lived, and in 1991 he returned to Australia as coach of the Gold Coast reserve grade side.

Eadie coached The Mullumbimby Giants in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition for the 2012 season.[3]

Accolades[edit]

In February 2008, Eadie was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia.[4]

Family[edit]

His son, Brook Eadie, won a President's Cup premiership with the South Queensland Crushers in 1996, but plans for a top grade career were thwarted by the demise of that club due to the Super League war. Eadie still lives on the Gold Coast today, where he works as a sales representative for a local brewery.

Sources[edit]

  • Whiticker, Alan and Hudson, Glen; The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players (3rd edition); published 1998 by Gary Allen Pty. Ltd.; 9 Cooper Street, Smithfield, New South Wales, 2164.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Wombat' leaves habitat". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 29 August 1983. p. 31. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Century's Top 100 Players
  3. ^ Teams ready for battle Northern Star, 15 February 2012
  4. ^ "Centenary of Rugby League - The Players". NRL & ARL. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 

External links[edit]