Hard work pays off for proud Hall By Barry Toohey Rugby League Writer | September 26, 2008 12:00am IT has taken Glenn Hall six years, four clubs and a whole heap of self-doubt along the way to work it out. To finally realise this is where he belongs. In first grade. And right now, without even the slightest hint of self-adulation, the Manly second-rower says he is pretty proud of himself. Proud to have finally grabbed an opportunity, knowing there wouldn't have been another. Proud to have worked hard to make it happen. Proud to have conquered those self-doubts which threatened his career. Among a host of big-name Eagles, this bloke is probably the least known. Certainly the least talked and written about. But the fact he has kept club legend Steve Menzies on the bench for a large chunk of the season without so much as a please explain from anyone says a lot about the job he is doing for coach Des Hasler. The kid from Panania has finally found a home on the Northern Beaches. OK, so the fit may not be perfect. While most of his teammates lap up the coastal lifestyle, Hall doesn't spend a lot of time in the surf. "It's his white skin," laughs prop Josh Perry. "The boys give it to him about it. No sooner does he get to the beach, he scuttles back to his car pretty quickly." Hall doesn't shy away from the gibes. "I burn real quick but, hey, I still love it here," he says. "It's a massive difference from Panania. You don't see too many walking around in bikinis out there." Suntans aside, Manly trainer Geoff Toovey reckons Hall has found his niche at the club. "He doesn't lack for confi- dence now," Toovey says, as Hall walks past at the end of a recent training session. "Look at him, he's got the sunnies on, thinking he is Tom Cruise." Go back a couple of seasons, though and it was a different story. Hall was in his second year at South Sydney and heading out the back door fast. He had been signed by the Bunnies at the end of 2003 after two seasons with the Bulldogs and, while there were promising signs during his first season at the club, 2004 was a disaster. "It was pathetic, to be honest," the 27-year-old says. "I was on the grog a bit, the team was struggling and I just lost interest. Looking back now, I was pretty immature about it all, wasn't playing any good, wasn't enjoying it and just dropped my head." The self-doubts were working overtime. The Roosters threw him a lifeline in 2006. He spent virtually the whole season in Premier League with Newtown but, in a strange way, it was the making of him. "I had a real consistent year," he says. "It was only reserve grade but I enjoyed it and the hunger to make something of my career returned." The alternative was to get a real job again. Before getting a start with the Bulldogs, he was working as an apprentice construction carpenter on city high-rises. It wasn't something he was itching to go back to. It was Toovey who gave Hasler the heads-up about signing Hall at the start of last season. Toovey was coaching Manly's Premier League side at the time and suggested he would be a good buy. "He is your typical old-fashioned forward who works hard but he can ball play and has a good off-load," Toovey said. "Des asked me about him and he'd played well against us and it went from there." Manly offered Hall a two-year deal. Most players in his position would have grabbed it. But wanting to back himself, Hall signed for one, hoping the gamble would bring out the best in himself from day one. It paid off. He trained hard, dropped some weight and, when Anthony Watmough pulled out of the opening game last season through injury, Hall went from 18th man to into the squad - and hasn't looked back. Halfway through 2007, he signed a new two-year deal. His stint at the club hasn't been without its disappointments. He missed the entire semi-final series last season after dislocating his collarbone against the Warriors a couple of games out from the playoffs. He made it back but only as 18th man for the grand final. "It hurt to watch what happened - still does," Hall says. Rectifying that has been a motivation for everyone at Fortress Brookvale this season. Hall said no one at the club is under any illusions about the task ahead of them tomorrow night against the Warriors in the grand final qualifier. "It's always tough against them and they'll be confident because they are playing so well," he says. "You've got to be ready to throw your body at them and expect to be icing it later on. But every- one is relaxed. We've grown a lot from last year." None more so than the man who'll wear the No. 12. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I really rate this guy, i always have. I am so glad he has taken his oportunity with both hands. I think he gives our starting pack a better look then having Menzies or Williamson starting with Stewart and Watmough. Hall provides more go forward. Earlier this year Dessie was trying King & Perry in the front row with Kite in the back row. This is definately a better mix and how strong does it make our bench look.