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Journey Man
Well - there it is fellas. In Red & White. What we have just seen on channel nine, is the level of commitment we need from Manly to compete with the top four teams in this competition. Here are some of my questions & concerns. I'd love your opinion on any of them:-

1. (Question)Do we have the personell in 2005, to match the quality of The Dragons?

2. (Question)I think it was Blunty who said the centre position in the scheme of things isn't that important. Do you now think this is still the case?

3. (Question)Player on Player i.e. 01. Brett Stewart versus 01. Clint Greenshields, Gasnier versus Alberts, Cooper versus Hill, how do you think the quality of OUR ilk stands up?

4. (Statement) It isn't rocket science. Take a ball up hard in the middle of the ruck. Front Rower takes the tackle, and plays the ball as fast as possible, setting the defensive line on the back foot. Good dummy 1/2, spreads the ball to either the 5/8 or 1/2, who in turns spreads it to a big backrower, who targets a centre in defence. Backrower takes the tackle, plays the ball to a 5/8 or 1/2 standing at dummy 1/2, and passes it to a flying centre who runs a great angle.
Manlys problem with this basic manouver. 1. We don't generally have a prop who makes it over the ad line. 2. Our dummy 1/2 - usually Randall/Dunley seem to have the need to survey their surroundings before throwing the pass to the 5/8 or 1/2, and when the pass IS thrown, it's generally behind or above the intended target. 3.It then reaches Monnas or Witt, who, as we hasd initially not made it over the ad line, is playing against a set defence, so are generally stationary, and don't have momentum or time (we have ALL seen this with Monnas). Monnas then usually stops, props, sets, swivels, gets hammerred. 4. The ball generally then DOES get to a backrower, but our momentum is usually a tragedy, and they have to pass it to a centre like Steppa / Hill / Matai / Alberts who generally don't have the finesse, speed or ability to break the line (another proven stat), and is the reason we have the centres who have scored the LEAST points / tries in the NRL.

We DID execute this well for around 20 minutes in TWO game this year at Brookvale, and it was generally on the back of a Sam Harris run over the ad line to begin with mostly (and he has been released). It was against Penrith, and against Newcastle both at Brooky. We went on try scoring blitzes.

5. (Statement) I was almost saddenned to see how good that game was by St George guys. It really showed me how far we need to travel to get to a level like that. It was the most attractive style of attacking football by any team I have seen in many years.

6. (Statement) I was thinking throughout the game (and I hated myself for doing it) imagine they were playing against US tonight. I wonder what the score would have been !!!!

7. (Statement) Before I say this - you all know I love Manly with a passion. The way The Dragons played tonight almost reminded me of the footy the Bears used to play. Larson/Fairleigh take the ball up and set the defensive line on the back foot. Buettner goes to dummy 1/2, spreads it to Jason Taylor (usually hit its mark), who passes it to Florimo who targets a centre, as he was a mobile, but powerful player. He plays the ball fast, and gets it on to a quick (was back then) Ben Ikin or Brett Dallas....Aaaargh reminisions. Mind you, it was never at the speed of todays game !!!

8. (Question) What do you think guys - can we match em with Tezza, Witt, Monnas, Randall, King, Bryant & co.?

I hope so.
1. No.

2. No.

3. Stewart, Kennedy, Watmough, Menzies and maybe Kite are the only guys who would regularly line up on paper better than their opponent, the rest would probably be average at best.

4. It sounds simple but we still can't do it. It is sad.

5. The Dragons are playing wth confidence, that's what happens when you've got half a NSW side running out, to go with a constant stream of good juniors filtering through who can make the step up.

6. Would have been 60+ against us I think.

7. Never took much notice :p

8. No

This season is virtually a write off but Manly admin are slowly heading towards being a competitive side in the long term. It's a long process, especially when they aren't producing quality young players like the Dragons, or Parra, or the Bulldogs to fill the gaps not filled by rep players.
I dont question that we have the arsenal to match the Dragons, Broncos, Eels.

I question the effort. Thats all that is missing.

Our forwards dont run with intent (except BK).

The backs don't move the ball. Their is always someone who wants to be the hero and take the ball themselves.

Defense is down 200% from the start of the season but as i've already said, its not we can't do it, its that they just arn't. It a comitment thing.

Watching the boys play just gives you the feel that their not willing to try hard enough to make it all happen. Almost as though its expected that they can walk out and breeze in a win.

You also notice the look of disapointment on a few of the boys faces when these things happen.

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