SATURDAY September 16 1972 - a day that will live on in infamy.
Manly Warringah played Eastern Suburbs on that day in the NSWRL grand final at the Sydney Cricket Ground. This Sunday, some 41 and a bit years later, the two clubs will meet in a decider for the first time since then. Manly's still known as Manly but no-one much bothers with the Warringah bit. But Eastern Suburbs have morphed into the Sydney Roosters and they'll be playing in the National Rugby League (NRL) grand final in front of 80,000 or so fans at the ANZ Stadium.
But back to 72, when my dad, Ken, took me to my first grand final. We were Roosters supporters and had tickets for the Noble Stand - then the height of footy luxury and light years ahead of being in the crush on the Hill.
Footballers were way different back then. They didn't have hyphenated names, like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck or Sean Kenny-Dowell. This was also well before the Polynesian influence started in rugby league and all the players' names were easy to pronounce, like Harry Cameron, the centre for the Roosters, Fred Jones the Manly captain and hooker and Max Brown the Manly winger. Greg Banderia, the hardman in the Rooster pack, was about the most exotic.
Back then no-one much cared what players did off the field either - a Manly player was reportedly so pissed when he turned up the following day for the pass the ball competition on Rex Mossop's sports show on the telly that he could barely stand up. Imagine the uproar if that happened now.
And there wasn't a tattoo in sight back in 72. In fact, both sides were pretty well ink-free, if we recall properly.
Manly started the season as favourites after tearing South Sydney's premiership team apart - buying John O'Neill and Ray Branighan although Easts also snared Ron Coote from the Rabbits. At that point Manly hadn't won a comp while East's most recent success was in 1945, so both were overdue.
So to get to the point, Manly won 19-14. But the Roosters were ripped off with the referee Keith Page missing a couple of blatant forward passes that led to Manly tries while also disallowing some perfectly legitimate Rooster three pointers (as they were then). It was a disgrace - as mentioned, a day of infamy although Manly always did seem to get the rub of the green back then. There are some things you just don't forget. Of course SBW did throw a ball that was possibly slightly forward the other night against Newcastle, but that's a totally different matter.
Devastated, I flew back home with dad that night. We arrived here a touch after 8pm. On Sunday, given the madness of the 7.15 kickoff, it won't even be halftime by 8pm. That's progress?
Anyway, go the Roosters on Sunday. Revenge 72 for all us diehards. Boyd Cordner - who doesn't have a hyphenated name - for player of the match.