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2010 NRL premiership season preview with Greg Alexander: Manly

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

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    2010 NRL premiership season preview with Greg Alexander: Manly

        By Christopher Boyd
        March 05, 2010


    Foxsports.com.au and Greg Alexander bring you all you need to know about Manly, Brandy's tip to finish 8th in the 2010 NRL premiership season.
    New faces: Joe Galuvao (Parramatta), Matt Cross (Melbourne Storm), Terence Seu Seu (Cronulla) and Rodney Moefaauo (Parramatta).

    Shown the door:
    Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Adam Cuthbertson (Cronulla), Glenn Hall (Bradford), Heath L'Estrange (Bradford) and Matt Orford (Bradford).

        “" They've lost a few quality forwards, so they've lost a bit of depth, but they still have plenty of class in the side. "” – Greg Alexander

    Last year: Manly's title defence got off to the worst possible start when Anthony Watmough and Brett Stewart were pinned for boozy pre-season antics. The Sea Eagles then lost their first four matches and were no certainties to make the top eight at the halfway mark of the season. A strong back end to the year seemingly had them primed to shake up the finals from fifth position, but they were abruptly eliminated in week one, putting an end to a season that never fully got going.

    Room for improvement: Manly boast an imposing pack of forwards, but they need to improve their ability to convert good yardage into points. The Sea Eagles dominated the competition in most statistics in 2008, but returned in 2009 to rank mid-table in line breaks and points scored, while also falling off in defence. The departure of Matt Orford to Bradford opens the door to readjust their attack, which will rely heavily on the guile of Jamie Lyon and the combination he can form with emerging talents Kieran Foran and Trent Hodkinson. The Sea Eagles will improve dramatically just by having a fully fit, drama-free Brett Stewart back at fullback for the whole year.

    Game breaker: Anthony Watmough is the definition of a player who gives opponents nightmares. The uncompromising second rower has been the chief enforcer for the Sea Eagles in recent seasons, emerging as a State of Origin calibre forward capable of turning games with his damaging runs on the fringes. At 26, Watmough is nearing the peak of his physical condition and must covert that raw power into more inspirational performances as the club looks to coax through a bunch of promising juniors.

    Rising star: It's unknown what heights Kieran Foran can hit for Manly at NRL level, which is an exciting prospect for Sea Eagles fans as they move on from the Matt Orford era. But what is certain of Foran already, apart from his obvious football ability, is that he is tough as nails. This trait will see him given first shot at the Sea Eagles halfback spot for 2010, a daunting prospect for some emerging talents, but unlikely to fluster Foran. At 19 he is already a New Zealand international, and looks the man most likely to fill the No.7 jersey as the Sea Eagles look to respond from last year’s reality check.

    Last chance: Dubbed T-Rex ahead of arriving at Manly for the 2009 season, Tony Williams didn’t quite live up to the hype that his Jurassic nickname implied. The imposing winger nabbed nine tries from 12 appearances in his first year at Brookvale, but was demoted by Des Hasler during the year for some lacklustre performances. With Stewart fully fit and Michael Robertson shifted back to the flank, Williams will find it hard to maintain a spot in the Sea Eagles’ line-up unless he shows more of the power and speed that saw him signed from Parramatta for three seasons.

    Coach factor: You can be sure Des Hasler will enter his seventh year as Manly head coach with more determination than ever. A man characterised by his intensity and work ethic will not have slept well since his team’s disappointing finals exit in 2009. Among Hasler’s biggest challenges are establishing a successful halves combination and helping his side recapture their intimidation of 2007-2008. But there is no man better man to do it, with Hasler having been in and out of the Sea Eagles system for three decades now.

    Fox Sports Stats: The Sea Eagles will badly miss Orford, their halfback for the past four seasons. In that time he captained them to a premiership in 2008, won the 2008 Dally M Medal, missed only seven games and was in the competition's top five all fours years for try creates.

    Greg Alexander says: "No recognised half is a difficult situation when you're trying to judge how Manly are going to go this season. They've lost a few quality forwards, so they've lost a bit of depth, but they still have plenty of class in the side. If Brett Stewart can get through the season, then it will certainly be a massive plus for them."

    The Adjudicator says: "The decline will be slow and steady but no less enjoyable to watch. It started with a first-round finals elimination in 2009; now watch as the Sea Eagles drift to the lower half of the eight in 2010. Before you know it they'll be floundering with the all the other NRL also-rans. Still, better a Lyon leading the side than an Ox, right?"

    Fantasy banker/darkhorse: Look no further than Glenn Stewart (8.0) when selecting your back row. Stewart is not your average hard-working backrower - his creativeness and quick feet in attack allows him to rack up Fantasy points with line breaks, tackle busts and offloads. Ben Farrar (6.0) is an inside back set for a big year with the birds having had his settling-in season in 2009. He'll bag you good points.

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