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Manly forward Corey Waddell.

Corey Waddell says his mum thinks he runs like his dad. It's probably one of the nicest things she could say.

Because the memories of his dad's death are some of the darkest times of his life.

Waddell was at Sea Eagles training on Monday, which was the seventh anniversary of former Penrith and Dragons first grader Steve Waddell. 

"It was on Easter and I was at the farm with my family. We got the news and it was obviously one of the worst days of my life," the 22-year-old said, of his dad suffering a fatal heart attack in 2012. He was 45.

Waddell was just 15. So his father never got to see his NRL debut in round two this year and the two wins since against the Warriors and Rabbitohs. He's not even sure what his dad would think of him running around in a Manly jersey when he grew up a Panthers junior.

"I think he'd be proud. Every time I go out there I try to make him proud; make my family proud; and try and do myself proud. Hopefully I can continue to do that," Waddell said.

"He was my biggest fan. The time we spent together was really special and I'll never forget that.

Sea Eagles forward Corey Waddell.
Sea Eagles forward Corey Waddell. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"I remember everything we did together… and Carty [Manly assistant John Cartwright] is here now with me and he was one of his good mates. So it's good to see him around."

Cartwright presented Waddell with his NRL jersey. Another of Steve Waddell's teammates is current Dragons coach Paul McGregor.

"He was a country boy who talked slow and ran even slower," McGregor told 

"But he was a bloody tough and funny bloke with a great dry sense of humour.

"He was a wonderful clubman even if he did love John Williamson's 'True Blue' song a little too much."

Corey Waddell loves hearing stories about his dad. He even has some old video tapes of him playing.

"Mum always reckons I run like him," he said.

"I'm not the quickest bloke on the field but hopefully I'm a bit quicker than he was.

"I can see where I've got some of my game from. But we're a bit different because of the style of play back then to now. Hopefully I've developed a few more ball skills than him."

Waddell is developing into a necessary member of Des Hasler's bench, although he must pass concussion protocol tests this week to return for the round five match against the Knights on Saturday at McDonald Jones Stadium.

His head hit the hip of George Burgess in the 37th minute of the win over the Rabbitohs last weekend and his day was over.

"I do remember most of the game. I had visions the night before the game though of tackling the Burgess boys. But in my visions it didn't work out like it did in the game," Waddell said.

"I'm fine. I passed one test this morning and have got one more test on Wednesday."


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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