|Menzies while playing for the Sea Eagles in 2007|
4 December 1973 |
Manly, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||190 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||98 kg (15 st 6 lb) |
|Position||Second-row, Lock, Centre, Five-eighth|
|1995–2006||New South Wales||20||4||0||0||16|
|As of 13 September 2013|
|Source: Rugby League Project|
Steven "Steve" Menzies (born 4 December 1973 in Manly, New South Wales, Australia) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer best known for his stellar career with the Manly Sea Eagles. He currently plays for the Catalans Dragons of the European Super League after agreeing a one-year deal which will be his final season in his professional playing career. Menzies has spent the majority of his playing career in the back row but in recent years he has played in the centres, at five-eighth and as a utility player off the bench.
Menzies is a noted defender, but is best known as the most prolific try scoring forward in rugby league. His total of 180 tries is second in Australian first grade rugby league, behind former North Sydney and Manly player Ken Irvine, who scored 212 tries. He is well known for wearing headgear during games.
Menzies is the grandson of Manly-Warringah pioneer Mackie Campbell who had played in the centres in Manly's first ever game in 1947 against Wests at Brookvale Oval. While attending Narrabeen High School, Menzies played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 1992. His junior club was Harbord United. As a teenager he turned down an offer of $5,000 from North Sydney to later sign with Manly for $9,000 in 1993.
Professional playing career
Menzies rose to prominence in the Winfield Cup premiership, forming a lethal combination with five-eight Cliff Lyons during the 1994 NSWRL season and scoring 16 tries, earning him the Dally M Rookie of the Year and Second Rower of the Year awards. He also came second in the Rothmans Medal, finishing behind North Sydney Bears' David Fairleigh. His season was then topped off when he was selected in the Australian Squad for the 1994 Kangaroo Tour.
In 1995 Menzies became the first forward in fifty years to top the season's try-scoring list (22 tries) and in the same year made his State Of Origin debut for New South Wales. His efforts saw him again win the Dally M Second Rower of the Year award, and further representative honours in the 1995 World Cup squad. During the tournament he appeared in four games and topped the tournament's try-scoring list with six tries, which consisted of 'doubles' in all matches except the Final.
Due to the Manly-Warringah joint venture with the North Sydney Bears as the Northern Eagles from 1999 to 2003, some statisticians do not list Menzies as a "one club player". However, the Manly-Warringah club acknowledges all of Steve Menzies' achievements during this period as part of the Sea Eagles, arguing that he never left the club and that the joint venture was simply another ownership phase as has happened with other clubs whose records are not separated.
In 2004 Steve Menzies surpassed rugby league and Glebe stalwart Frank Burge's record of 'Most Tries Scored by a Forward' when he scored his 147th try against St George Illawarra. Since then Menzies has gone on to amass a tally of 180 tries in 349 games, both club records at the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. His try tally is only second, behind ex-North Sydney and Manly Sea Eagles player Ken Irvine, in the list of 'Most Tries Scored in Premiership History'.
When Manly reached the Grand Final in 2007 Menzies was the sole surviving member of the club's last Grand Final appearance back in 1997. He started in his fourth Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm but the Manly side was unsuccessful in securing the premiership trophy.
After speculation on his retirement from rugby league, Menzies announced in October 2007 that he had re-signed with the Manly Sea Eagles for 2008 on a one-year contract, stating that he would likely retire at the conclusion of the 2008 season.
After a record-breaking club career with Manly and the Northern Eagles, Menzies had the opportunity to play in another Grand Final - again against Melbourne. Unlike 2007, Manly were the overwhelmingly dominant side, destroying the defending premiers 40-0 - a grand final record. This triumphant victory penned a fairytale ending to Beaver's distinguished career. By playing in the 2008 grand final, Menzies equalled Terry Lamb's record of 349 first-grade games. He was one of eight Manly try-scorers on the day and completed his playing-career in Australia with 180 tries - second only to Ken Irvine but first among try-scoring forwards. With less than ten minutes left on the clock, Menzies completed his fairytale by scoring a try with his first touch after coming off the bench for a second time, replacing the injured Steve Matai. Menzies is much loved on Sydney's Northern Beaches, not only for his legendary achievements on the rugby league paddock, but also for his ability to avoid controversy in an era riddled with unsavoury off-field incidents involving rugby league players. His efforts in the Grand Final of 2008 will be entered in Northern Beaches and Rugby League folklore and have earned him legendary status, as well as the 'Performer of the Week' award from the Sydney Morning Herald. In anticipation of equalling Lamb's record with his final appearance, Manly was reported to have made Menzies an offer to make a cameo appearance in 2009 to break the record. Menzies' response confirmed his and Lamb's standing among the greats:
"I wouldn't consider coming back for one game and cheapening the record or anything," said Menzies.
"If I fell one short or equalled it or whatever then that's my career and the way it finishes.
"(Lamb) was such a great player ... I'm very honoured to stand next to him.
Menzies announced in July 2008, that he had agreed to a one-year contract with the Bradford Bulls in the Super League for the 2009 season. Manly was unable to offer Menzies a further contract due to salary cap restraints. Menzies stated he could only continue to play overseas as playing against the club he loves "was not an option".
Menzies extended his contract with the Bradford Bulls until the end of 2010. Menzies told BBC Radio Leeds: "I think I've still got a bit to offer and can play another 12 months. "My first choice was to stay at Bradford so it's great that they wanted to keep me."
After being released by Bradford Bulls at the end of the 2010 season, Menzies signed a one-year deal with French club Catalans Dragons. The season started poorly for the side from the south of France, but the Dragons soon became one of the form sides in Super League. The legendary forward signed a 12 month contract extension with Catalans, which would see him stay in Perpignan until the end of 2012
In September 2012, Menzies announced yet another one-year contract extension with the Catalans Dragons. The former Australian international, who in 2012 became the oldest player in Super League history, will start his 21st professional season in 2013.
Menzies announced his forthcoming retirement as a rugby league player on 4 July 2013. He stated that the current (2013) season would be his last. He explained his decision as "I'm still enjoying playing and I feel good mentally and physically, but it was the right time to finish. My biggest fear was to play one season too long and I'm happy with my decision."
Menzies played his last game at the KC Stadium in Hull on 13 September 2013. Catalan Dragons were eliminated from the Superleague playoffs, losing 14 points to 4 against Hull FC. After the match, the Hull fans paid tribute to Menzies as he joined the Hull players in the Lap of Honour.
- "Dragons Catalans". web page. Dragons Catalans S.A.S.P. 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- "2009 NRL Player Movements". NRL Live. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
- "SportingPulse Homepage for Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". SportingPulse. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
- Steve Menzies at nrlstats.com
- Money magazine, April 2009 edition, pg16
- "Menzies signs one-year deal with Manly". Fairfax Digital. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2007.
- Performer of the week - Sydney Morning Herald
- "STEVE MENZIES ANNOUNCEMENT - update". Manly Sea Eagles. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
- FitzGibbon, Liam (17 July 2008). "Beaver heading to Bradford". Fox Sports News (Australia). Retrieved 19 July 2008.
- "Warrington dominate Exiles picks for Origin fixture". bbc.co.uk. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- "Steve Menzies announces retirement". Sporting Life. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "Super League: Hull FC 14-4 Catalan Dragons". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- Menzies, Steve; Tasker, Norman (2008). Beaver: the Steve Menzies story. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74175-560-3, 9781741755602 Check