Manly's first premiership game was against the Western Suburbs Magpies at Brookvale Oval on Saturday 12 April 1947. Max Whitehead, who had first played for Norths in 1942 and was a member of their 1943 Grand Final team, was Manly's first captain. Whitehead was a big barrel-chested second rower who was used by Bonds as the model for their iconic "Chesty Bond" character. Their first win was against the Parramatta Eels and the club finished their first season in second last place. Manly's first Grand Final appearance was in the 1951 season, which they lost to South Sydney. Manly Warringah played in five Grand Finals before winning their first premiership in 1972. They then won the following year in 1973 and again in 1976 and 1978. The 1973 final against Cronulla is reputed to be one of the hardest and toughest grand finals, at least in the televised era. There were several incidents of players being hurt, in particular very tough and hard English import Mal Reilly was "taken" out early and didn't take any further part in the game.