By Dean Ritchie September 27, 2007 http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,22488263-5006066,00.html A STIRRING speech by club legend Ben Kennedy at 1am on a darkened team bus has provided the inspiration for Manly players ahead of Sunday night's sell-out grand final. The Daily Telegraph has learned Kennedy made his heartfelt speech to the Sea Eagles when the team bus returned to Manly's Narrabeen headquarters hours after last Saturday night's win over North Queensland at the Sydney Football Stadium. The Manly coaching staff and administration hopped off the bus - with the exception of head coach Des Hasler - to leave Kennedy alone with the players. Kennedy spoke about a raft of issues but stressed: "Don't miss the opportunity." He also said: "A man can have a couple of great moments in his life. "One is when you father a child, the other when you achieve something great on a sporting field - don't miss this opportunity." One player listening intently was Manly champion Steve Menzies: "BK has so much aura," he said. "He told us we had to enjoy the week and take the opportunity that has been given to us. "BK told us it would be tough at times during the week like having to get up early for the grand final breakfast and that we'll be asked to do things we wouldn't usually be asked to do. "But he said it was all part of the experience." Kennedy's close friend and club media manager Peter Peters also gave an insight into Kennedy's speech. "I hopped off the bus because I thought it was personal between BK and the players," Peters said. "But I saw the faces when the players left the bus and those faces gave the message that the job wasn't done. "Ben is reluctant to come forward but when Des asked him, he didn't have a problem." Kennedy will be at this weekend's Homebush grand final and will no doubt play a key behind-the-scenes role in preparing Manly. "He was very inspirational on the field and even though he's not playing now, he still has a lot of respect among the the players," Menzies said. "BK is very intense about his footy and whatever he does. By saying intense, I mean passionate, not necessarily angry. "You can tell when BK says something that he means it 1000 per cent. It's in his body language." Manly chief executive Grant Mayer said his players still had enormous respect for Kennedy. "The players still count BK as one of the team," Mayer said. "That's the respect he still has in the playing group. "It's great to know we have BK on the sidelines and ready to help when he is needed." The Sea Eagles are surrounded by former grand final players in coach Hasler, assistant coach Geoff Toovey and club recruitment officer Noel Cleal.