February 16, 2009 SMH Manly have no qualms about getting down and dirty to try to end Australian teams' dismal run in the World Club Challenge, writes Greg Prichard. Manly flew out of Sydney yesterday with a plan to play as ugly as it takes to beat English club Leeds in the World Club Challenge. Preparing for the likelihood of bitterly cold and wet conditions at the Elland Road ground in Leeds on March 1, the Sea Eagles have discussed the need for patience above all else as they try to become the first Australian team since the Sydney Roosters, in 2003, to win the event. Since the WCC, which was played irregularly and in both hemispheres from 1976 to 1997, became an annual event staged in England from 2000, Australian teams have won only two of the nine games. Some of those losing sides have made the mistake of taking too many risks in difficult conditions against English sides more prepared to wait for opposition mistakes. Manly are determined not to fall into that category and - amid a backdrop of political in-fighting at the club which has seen chairman and co-owner Scott Penn accused co-owner Max Delmege of failing to meet ongoing financial commitments to the operation of the club - have formulated a plan designed to have them out-stay the opposition. The plus for the Sea Eagles is that, while they had the best attacking record in the NRL last season, they were a great defensive team as well, with only Melbourne, conceding fewer points than them in the regular season. Manly star Jamie Lyon, who played two seasons with English club St Helens in 2006 and 2007, believes if the Sea Eagles want to win, their approach has to be dictated by conditions. "Australian teams have struggled over there, and the conditions come into it a lot," Lyon said before leaving. "We've been trying to adapt to the conditions, and we'll train a lot in the conditions over there. Playing a warm-up game against another Super League team [Harlequins] will be a big help. It will provide a taste of the conditions for the guys who are wondering what it's like to play over there. "We have to be prepared to get into an arm-wrestle, shorten our passes up and limit our mistakes. You can't go out and try to throw long balls all day and play an expansive game. It'll probably be zero degrees and water everywhere, and you've got to adapt to that. Our defence has been up with the best in the competition here. We've been able to withstand constant pressure, so we should back ourselves. "We have to be prepared to win ugly. If it has to be about nitty-gritty, and not being pretty, then that's how we'll be. The thought of wanting to play attacking footy is always in the back of your mind, but sometimes you just can't play it that way. The decisions we make on the field are going to be critical. If the conditions happened to be good, we would play differently, but sometimes you've just got to tuck the ball under your arm and run straight." Even when his team won games easily last season, Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler highlighted when they had not secured the ball and established field position as well as he would have liked. He will push those points going into Sunday's game against Harlequins and against the Rhinos. "The result will mostly come down to the conditions and how you handle them," Hasler said. During a media conference on Friday that had been scheduled for weeks to announce the selection of Manly's squad for the trip to England, the players stood in the background for the most part as Penn, chief executive Grant Mayer and David Kenney, a director representing the club's new major sponsor, Quantum Eco Hot Water, took questions related to the off-field drama. Hasler said he didn't believe the boardroom bust-up had been a distraction to players, adding: "We're concentrating on the game. From the English perspective, it's a massive game, but we're taking it very seriously as well, because it's a big part of our preparation [for the NRL season]. We play both of our trial games over there, so that's where we've got to get ourselves ready for the start of the season." Dan - I will post articles like this on the front page when you have time to let me know how to do it!!