IF you’ve ever paid a visit to the post office at North Nowra, no doubt you have seen the place covered in Manly memorabilia and been served by arguably the two biggest Sea Eagles fans in the Shoalhaven.
Ian Pedley and his wife Diane are long-time members of the club and have lost count of the number of times they have seen their beloved Sea Eagles play at Brookvale Oval.
Diane has had the good fortune of seeing all of the Sea Eagles’ eight grand final wins live and she is hoping to make it number nine when they travel to Sunday’s decider against the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium.
Diane grew up in the Manly-Warringah area and was dragged down to a game with her brothers when she was six and has been a fanatic ever since.
Ian is originally from England and grew up away from rugby league territory.
When he came to Australia in 1972, it just so happened to be the year the Sea Eagles won their first premiership and that seemed like a good reason to stick with them.
Ian missed their first two grand final wins, but was there in 1976 and for the famous decider in 1978, which had to be replayed.
Before the days of golden point, if a grand final ended in a draw, it had to be replayed and Ian recalled going to watch the replay on a Tuesday.
“A lot of people had to take the day off work and for me, it didn’t matter what the reason was, I wasn’t going to miss it,” he said.
“I remember Russell Gartner scoring a try and yelling out ‘cameras!’ and all the people in the stand who were having a sickie ducked for cover so they wouldn’t be seen on TV,” he laughed.
When asked to pick his favourite Sea Eagles memory, Ian could not go past their 40-nil drubbing of Melbourne in the 2008 grand final, when the great Steve ‘Beaver’ Menzies played his final game.
But for Diane, who was there for the early days when the club really struggled, nothing can go past seeing them win their first title in 1972.
Not surprisingly, both of them tipped a Sea Eagles win on Sunday.
“I don’t care if it’s by one as long as we win!” Diane said.
“They haven’t beaten them this year, but they need to hang in there and they’re good at that.
“If they go out and give it their best, they will come up trumps.”
Two people who definitely do not want to see the Sea Eagles win are Bradley Moulds and his sister Ann-Marie Dhillon.
The two can often be seen working the scoreboard at Nowra Showground for the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets home games, but they are also life-long Sydney Roosters fanatics.
When they learned the Roosters would be playing in this year’s decider they made sure they got grand final tickets on eBay.
Their current record of watching the Roosters play finals football doesn’t make very pleasant reading, having been there for their losses in 2003 and 2004, but missing out on their 2002 triumph.
But they are hoping their luck will change on Sunday, with Bradley tipping a Roosters’ victory by six points.