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The Rock-itt : October 2009
having to play above their Grades. A sensational success from the 20's this season was Sam Gallagher. Sam spent most of the season playing in the 20's but Phil Moss brought him up to make his First Grade debut in the Tiger Turf Cup Final. Sydney FC had been showing interest in Sam and this and subsequent First Grade appearances convinced them to sign him to their youth squad. Sam was subsequently invited to a Qantas Young Socceroos training camp in Canberra where he left such an impression on head coach, Jan Versleijen, that the Dutchman included him in the final squad of 21 players -- made up of A-League and overseas-based players - to play in the Under 20's World Cup tournament in Egypt! The group stages started on September 28 and The Qantas Young Socceroos were drawn to meet 2007 runners-up, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Brazil. Unsurprisingly Sam was voted Grade 20 Player of the Season at the Awards night. Sam Gallagher, started the season in Grade 20 for Manly United, finished it as a Sydney FC player and a Socceroo. Quite a good 2009!!! I usually concentrate on the First grade and the 20's but it would be churlish of me not to mention the 18's and their coach Louis Dimitropoulos, who made their Grand Final, only to go down to Wollongong Wolves by a single goal. They were great to watch last season and I'm sure we will be hearing lots more of top goal scorer Justin Hayward and the rest of this excellent team. As The Rock-itt was going to press, Manly United was revealing the winner of the very prestigious Lucas Neill Scholarship. The winner was under-16 captain Leigh Egger. The three-time NSW representative will board a plane on October 2 for a three-week trip to the UK and train with three clubs possibly including Championship side Leeds United and English Premier League outfit Everton -- Lucas Neill's new club. Winner of the Lucas Neill Scholarship Leigh Egger gets used to the attentions of the media. After his initial surprise, Leigh said "It's a great opportunity and one I'm determined to take with both hands. I'm very grateful to Lucas and all the coaches at Manly United for providing this chance and I'll be motivated to do them all proud." Leigh has worn a Manly United jersey since he made the 2002 under-10 Skills Squad before going onto represent the Manly-Warringah Football Association in the Metropolitan League 11s and 12s. He arrived at Manly United from his local junior club, Seaforth FC. He then progressed through the club's 13s-16s and played a regular role with this year's 18s. He also made the NSW 13s, 14s and 15s along the way -- the first Manly United player since Lucas Neill himself to make a state team three years running! Manly United head coach Phil Moss said it was a highlight of the Manly United calendar to announce the winner and continued "This announcement changes the life of a young footballer forever and that Leigh is the first genuine Manly- Warringah local junior to win it makes it all the more special, " Leigh has agreed to write a Blog for The Rock-itt during his time in the UK so watch these pages in the next couple of months. At the End of Season Presentation night Keith Shevlin won the First Grade Players Player after a very hard working 2009 season following on from an awful injury plagued 2008. Goalkeeper Brad Swancott won the Coach's Choice award and Scott Thomas won the Directors Award. Super reliable Brad Swancott (Swanny) picked up a Gong at the 2009 Awards night. Finally this month, I came across this shot of what the Socceroos kit looked like in the 1980's, no prize for naming the player but what a shocking kit! Leigh Egger with Lucas Neill's father Ed to his left at the Press conference. His very proud Mum Sharon is the rose with all these thorns!