Not being able to get to many games, I'm always keen to read any reports on the lower grades from people who go to watch. So having the chance to get to Brookie on Sat, I got to watch NSW Cup and U/20's as well. We got there about 15-20 min into NSW Cup and Illawarra scored their third try just as we walked into the ground and were up 16-0. Given our NSW Cup has finished down the table a bit the last few years, it didn't look promising. However they hit back with a couple of tries just before half time to get back into the game. Illawarra scored again straight after half time, but Manly switched back on and went on to win 32-20. I'm not sure they'll challenge for anything, but it looks like they may be more competitive than they have been. TBH, there weren't any 'hidden gems' there. Vave is a massive human, but looked out of condition even for NSW Cup level, so not sure he's up to the pace of NRL just yet. Satini went OK in the centres and looked threatening, however the two standouts IMO were Wolfman and Hodges. Wolf is captain and playing fullback and looked good, scoring two tries. He's probably 4th or 5h in pecking order of outside backs, but I think he'd still do the job in NRL if required. Hodges was busy and a constant handful for Illawarra. If you attend any games at all, it's worthwhile getting there early to watch the U/20's. We have a seriously good team here. They scored a good win last week against Parramatta 54-26. Given Parramatta beat Canterbury on Friday 30-10, that form appeared good. From the kickoff, they looked a level above Melbourne and won 46-20. Tom Trbojevic lives up to the wraps on him and is the standout in what is a very good team. He scored 4 tries last week and another 3 this week. The other player to really impress was prop Addison Demetriou. Not overly tall, but very nuggety and strong, built a bit like Paul Gallen. He runs hard, hits hard, and is deceptively quick. I could see him playing lock when he gets up the grades a bit. The rest of the team all did there jobs very well, which is a credit to coach, David Heath, who I know nothing of, but he has this team very well drilled. Anyway, hopefully those of you, like me, don't get to watch much of the lower grades found that some what informative. On a side note, Saturday was the first time I took my oldest son (7 yrs old) to Brookie. He doesn't really know many of the players as such, just supports Manly. However, he was given a footy card of Matt Ballin by an NRL development officer who visited his school. When the players came around high fiving fans along the fence, I pointed Ballin out as the player on his card. Will had his hand out ready for a high five from him as he ran past, but instead he stopped in front of Will, introduced himself, shook his hand, asked if he enjoyed the game and thanked him for coming. I know he is held in high regard by all Manly supporters, but just another example of what a class individual he is. No guessing who is Will's favourite player now!