Manly has so many reasons to be proud.

The Manly Sea Eagles understand pride. So much so that three of their players recently showed their support for a man found guilty of stabbing someone.

Josh Schuster, Josh Aloiai and Haumole Olakau’atu made a 61 symbol during a televised game to show their support for former teammate Manase Fainu who was recently found guilty of stabbing someone outside a Mormon church dance in 2019. The players were apparently displaying their pride in the Sydney suburb of Guildford, postcode 2161, where Fainu and other players grew up. The gesture also earns the players a nomination for The Fronwlow Medal.

The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while NRL star Jarryd Hayne is the most recent recipient.

61 also refers to suburb-related gang violence in Sydney’s west, which is connected to the argument which led to Fainu stabbing another man.

The same players recently refused to wear the Manly pride jersey in support of the LGBTQIA+ community because this conflicts with their strict religious beliefs, proving that ‘PRIDE’ takes many different forms at Manly.

Another player to publicly support Fainu was New Zealand Warriors player Addin Fonua-Blake, the same Addin Fonua-Blake who was inducted into The Fronwlow Medal Hall of Fame after being found guilty of domestic violence.

Olakau’atu made the symbol to celebrate scoring a try in Manly’s embarrassing loss to the Gold Coast Titans, and after all this controversy, the try was disallowed because Olakau’atu had knocked the ball on.

This year Manly has bungled the pride jersey, seen a former player found guilty of stabbing – and publicly supported on national TV, they have lost convincingly to the team in 16th, and finished out of the top 8. Many NRL fans will be very, very happy.

Image: NuNa


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