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The Fibros and the Silvertails is the story of the feud between two football teams that turned into a war about class and alleged corruption.

The teams are Wests and Manly. The year is 1978. Manly are the new face of rugby league and have won the premiership three times in the last decade. Wests have to look back to 1952. Then a new coach takes over at Wests. Roy Masters coins the phrase — the fibros and the silvertails — to describe the struggle of the western suburbs against the elite of the city’s north and east. The season will become a war of words off the field and a battle on the field. The game will be overshadowed by violence and refereeing controversy. At the start, Wests and Manly are just two teams among many. By the end, they will be bitter rivals. Fibro and silvertail will be part of our language, and everyone will have two teams — their own team and the team playing Manly.

This is the story of one of sport’s classic feuds.

- Winner Best Documentary 2008 Australian Writers' Guild Award
- Official Selection 2008 Sydney Film Festival

W/D Paul Oliver

57 mins. 2008.

Financed by Screen Australia and ABC

Australian Distribution: Film Camp and ABC

International Distribution: Film Camp




Interviews with Roy Masters, Tom Raudonikis, Les Boyd, Graham Eadie, Max Krilich, Greg Hartley and many others. Plus rare footage of classic Wests v Manly battles.


Over three hours of Special Features with classic Wests, Manly and Cronulla game footage from 1978

Wests v Manly, Lidcombe Oval — ABC News Report about on-field violence

Wests v Manly Final — ABC Broadcast (Please Note! This is a copy of the only known recording of this classic game. The sound quality is very poor, but the action is very good.)

Manly v Cronulla Grand Final — ABC Broadcast

Manly v Cronulla Grand Final Replay — ABC Broadcast