It was certainly a beach day and I was fortunate enough to enjoy about 90 mins at North Curl Curl before heading off to enjoy what the Sea Eagles served up at Brookie today - and the Roast Tiger tasted good. The Tigers started the game well but the Sea Eagles, despite playing like strangers early, worked their way into the game and exploded in the second half. Others have reported on the game as such but the following things are worthy of discussion: * Kylie and Kite and King (yes a Silvertail is giving him a rap!!) all put their hands up. Kite was sensational in defence and hit the line much harder than in 2005. King looked more mobile and offloaded several times leading to good metres. From all reports Rose played well in PL and will put pressure on these three. Bryant had a good game and scored a fine try. His defensive work was strong and our front row shaded the much vaunted Skandalis, Paton and O'Hara. Farrah was slippery but the centre of the ruck stood solid. * Our backrow looks exceptional again and all were fit and keen to do some work. Beaver seemed to align himself wider and BK looked to get inside ball from Orford, creating havoc when he did. Willo added defensive steel in the latter part of each half and was his usual hard working self. * Orford was slow to impact on the game but as it progressed he started to do some very smart things. A lot of our players looked a bit out of sorts with the short passing game and wanted to take the ball back from the line. It is no surprise that as they adjusted, we started making line breaks. A great inside pass led to Watmough's try. Our forwards scored a number of tries as the threat of Orford plus other runners had the defence in two minds, rathter than the predictable hit ups we have become used to. As the game wore on we started to construct sets (in attack) rather than just drift through 6 tackles. * I am one of the few who believes that Monaghan and Orford got in each other's way and that we looked much better when others were there. I am still of the opinion that Witt will get a go there first but pressure will come from Burns. * Monaghan was very good at hooker but so was Dunley. Monaghan's defence was excellent and his dummy half work and running was effective. His passing was occasionally erratic but in general he was enthusiastic and involved. Dunley was his usual energetic self and made many metres from Dummy half, sparking our attack and finding out lazy defenders. Ballin was outstanding in PL as well. * Brett Stewart was solid but quiet and did not look at full fitness. He was run down from behind in about 40 m by two of the Tigers after some smart work from Monaghan in the Manly quarter. Last year, if Bullet was in the clear noone could catch him!! * Steve Bell didn't see much of the play but in what ball he did get indicated that he is a class player. He easily beats one man and is very solid. Hard to say how quick he is - as the Tiger's backs are amongst the most slippery in the comp. Bell also did a lot of effective defensive work and he and Hicks cleaned up some potentially dangerous situations through good communication and effective positioning. * Matai had an improved game in my view. He scored some good tries and was more solid in most aspects of play. He still worries me in his defensive option taking and several times failed to read the situation. He and Robertson did not combine as well. I think Matai has talent and hopefully experience and guidance will assist him to improve. He bombed another try too, and could have passed it to an unmarked winger outside him for an easy try. The jury is still out though I personally favour Alberts at left centre. * Robertson did nothing wrong and defended well, cleaning up a few mistakes made inside. One poor situation led to the first try. He didn't get many opportunities in attack, though his try last week demonstrated undoubted class. He looked ahead in the winger selection stakes but Stevo came on in the last 20 minutes and scored a beauty showing the pace that eluded Bullett earlier. Hicks was solid and scored a great try and set up another after a poor kick that he jumped for. Only two of these boys will play first grade on March 11 - Hicks is in and the other two fight out the starting position. * We have some improved depth and Ballin, Cuthbertson, Rose and one of the wingers is going to put great pressure on Des and the selection panel. Despite his controversial selection on the bench JP Cherry did nothing wrong and had a solid game at 5/8. Morwood did nothing wrong either. * Our discipline and ball control was mixed and in the first half we struggled to hold the ball together for six tackles. It was improved in the second half as attacking cohesion improved. We gave many silly penalties away for holding down and need to improve in this area. Our play the balls were generally quick though King was slow to get up a few times (had to find one criticism of him!!! :lol * Our kicking game and kick-chase was generally good though Orford needs more protection as he kicks closer to the defensive line than our kickers of previous years. We won about three line-dropouts versus two against. *Defensively we looked good and covered them most of the time. Ruck defence was good though they looked dangerous when they attacked Matai's side in particular. They had pace to burn and looked quicker in the backs than our team. * The loss of Tezza, Randall, Donald, and Harris is not going to affect us and we look a stronger all-round side. It remains to see if the Props can be consistent enough to cover the loss of Hecks. In all Sea Eagle Fans have every reason to be confident that we will be a stronger side in 2006! It is hard to say with the Tigers. Last year several on this forum tipped them for the spoon. Without Benji they lacked the attacking direction and the effectiveness of Prince was affected. Des and the coaching staff will be pleased with the form and it will be interesting to see which way they go with the selctions dilemmas.