Manly cheat in charity cricket-match says Buford

It was a Twenty20 cricket match to raise funds for Queensland’s flood victims in the laid-back atmosphere of Manly Oval. But while money was raised, so too were tempers.

The 40-over game of sedate cricket reignited a long-time feud between two of rugby league’s greatest rivals.

Manly and Wests Tigers have a history of dislike for one another, dating back to the infamous Silvertails versus Fibros (Manly v Wests) days of the 1970s.

In January, the Sea Eagles invited Wests Tigers players to contest the charity game. The Tigers were filthy that Manly played to win at all costs and they claim rules were changed throughout the day. So unimpressed by the Sea Eagles’ attitude, the Tigers left before the post-match function.

The Tigers also claim their players were told to retire but Manly players were permitted to bat on.

And when Jamie Lyon was due to bat at No. 8, with 20 runs needed for victory off the final over, Manly instead sent in NSW batsman Tim Cruickshank, who was able to hit the winning runs.

Former NSW wicketkeeper and new Sydney Thunder assistant coach Daniel Smith played on the day for his beloved Tigers. He said it was clear one team was there for fun and Manly was there to win.

“The Tigers’ boys took it as a bit of fun, but the Manly boys were keen to make sure they won,” Smith said.

“A few of the Tigers’ boys were disappointed they treated it as a rivalry and not like a charity game. I didn’t bat or bowl. But they sent Timmy Cruickshank out and he destroyed us.

“At the end of the day it was for charity and we raised a lot of money for the Queensland floods. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bit of niggle tonight.”

A well-placed Manly source, however, tells a different story.

“The Tigers didn’t go to the after-match function. We provided a team bus for them and they were suddenly gone,” he said.

“The match was for a fabulous cause but professional sportsmen want to win. Even a game of tiddlywinks. When they don’t, they react – and Wests Tigers elected to leave straight away.”

Last year there were two flare-ups in games. In round 20, Manly centre Steve Matai was sin-binned after becoming involved in a scuffle from his high tackle on Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah.Matai accused Farah of taking a dive.

And in round one at the SFS, four players were charged (three from Manly, one from Wests Tigers) while Manly prop George Rose was sin-binned. Rose was charged with a grade four careless high tackle on Tigers utility Daniel Fitzhenry.

“I can’t wait – we’ve had a couple of heated clashes,” Manly prop Brent Kite said.

“It has produced a couple of good games of footy in recent times.

“I’m sure the fans are hoping to see another cracker.”

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens was in no mood to discuss the rivalry between Manly and his club.

“You’re drawing a long bow…it will be a good game of footy, that’s all we’re looking forward to,” he said.

Asked if the Silvertails versus Fibros feeling still existed, Sheens said: “I think that’s long gone.”

Buford Balony says: Typical Manly, if they can’t buy it, they’ll cheat it.


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