If Anthony Watmough stays injury-free he could become the Sea Eagles' most-capped player by the end of his current contract which expires post-2015. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos.

Choc inching to Manly games record


In what is probably the truest measure of the man, Anthony Watmough doesn’t want to talk about having his name written into the Manly record books.

“Typical Choc,” his skipper Jamie Lyon laughs when being told the hard-nosed second-rower wasn’t having a bar of his rise up the Sea Eagles' appearance record ranks, with his 264 games in the famous maroon and white taking him past club legend Alan Thompson to sit third on the all-time list behind Steve Menzies and Cliff Lyons.

No fuss, no fanfare, just tear in and give it your all.

The type of player others look to model themselves on, which is exactly what prop Brenton Lawrence did when he joined the famous Northern beaches club in early 2013.

“He’s definitely someone that I look up to in the game… he’s the heart and soul of the Manly club,” said Lawrence.

“The way he plays makes me think about how I play the game, and that’s a good show of character and a measure of what blokes think of him.

“The way he just carries himself and carries the ball, he continually shows up time after time.

“Rugby league’s not necessarily a hard game but it can be very physically demanding at times and he makes it look like it’s not.”

Watmough has come a long way from a tough first grade initiation 12 years ago for the ill-fated Northern Eagles otufit, when he sang the team’s victory song just 17 times in his first 50 NRL appearances for the joint venture and understrength re-amalgamated Manly sides.

Lyon remembers the local Narrabeen junior who left school at 15 well, having opposed the youngster during his first NRL stint with Parramatta.

“I do remember him from those early days, he was an angry little bugger. Still is,” chuckles Lyon.

“He was a little bit smaller then but I think he’s got a fair bit of that pace still.

“He’s still got that quick leg speed through the ruck.”

With his future at the Sea Eagles locked in until the end of 2015, and an average of 22 games across his 13 seasons of first grade, the 32-year-old stands a good chance of moving past Menzies (280) and Lyons (309) to hold the club appearance record all on his own.

And Lyon says the record would be a fitting reward for one of the club’s most loyal servants.

“Choc’s a great player and a good bloke to have with the club, great for the camaraderie and the culture,” said Lyon.

“He doesn’t miss too many games so it’s definitely possible, but I hope I haven’t jinxed him there.

“It’s always hard in today’s game given how physical it is, and he always gets through a lot of the work so full credit to him.”

When asked for a story that could sum up Watmough’s presence at the club, Lawrence drew a blank, before coming up with a descriptor that goes beyond any yarn in capturing what the NSW and Australian rep means to his teammates.

“He’s just someone you want to play footy with and someone you want on your side.

“That’s the best description of Choc, I think.”