Big League Analysis

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For the third time this year Big league has regarded the Sea Eagles to be a participant in their match of the round, heres their analysis from

Safety-first Manly no dummies

Manly face a tough task when they travel north to Suncorp Stadium this Friday night to face an in-form Brisbane side, but a win is well within the realms of possibility.

A game of contrasting styles will pit the expansive Broncos against the more safety conscious Sea Eagles who are surprise competition leaders after seven rounds of the Telstra Premiership.

Clearly, Manly's increased focus on ball security this season doesn't make them any less dangerous.

The northern beaches club are the dummy-half kings and experts at exposing lazy defenders.

They rank second behind only Parramatta (203) this season for dummy-half runs with 175 and average the most per game with 29.2 ahead of the Eels' 29.

Manly also lead the way for most dummy-half line breaks with six and most dummy-half tries with four.

Rather than get carried away with ball movement inside their own half – a major downfall in their disappointing 2004 campaign, they're content to work up the middle when coming out of their own half using their big forwards and scooting out of dummy-half to make quick metres with low risk.

Centre Paul Stephenson is the Sea Eagles' most prolific dummy-half runner this season with 39 from six games – a figure bettered only by South Sydney's Shannon Hegarty (50).

Hooker Shayne Dunley is also heavily involved with 33 runs. Both he and Chad Randall have two dummy-half line breaks to their name in 2005.

What makes the Sea Eagles dangerous this year is their ability to earn field position then capitalise on what they've achieved through their fast and skilful backline.

In-fact, of the 34 tries Manly have scored this year, 28 have been from within their opponents' 20 metre line.

However they show no preference for any particular zone with 11 scored on the left, 12 up the middle and 11 on the right.

They've also scored nine tries from kicks this season – more than any other side in the NRL.

The Broncos, for their part, play a far more expansive game and seem more willing to throw the ball around before they hit halfway.

They boast the remarkable statistic this season of having scored more tries from outside the 20-metre line (22) than when they're attacking the line (14).

One reason is that Brisbane love to move the ball.

Five-eighth Darren Lockyer will regularly hit centres Brent Tate – replaced this week by Justin Hodges – and Shaun Berrigan with room to move and let their speed and footwork do the rest.

They'll also put on plays from anywhere on the field including their favourite second man play which they’ve turned into an art form.

Lockyer will receive the ball one or two out, then fire a pass behind the decoy – inevitably one of Brisbane's big men – to Tate, Berrigan or Karmichael Hunt.

They scored their fourth try of the year from this exact play against Cronulla last week when Berrigan strolled over having previously hurt the Warriors, Roosters and Dragons.

Brisbane's penchant for open spaces explains why they've struggled to score from close range, but doesn't make Manly's task easy even when defending in good field position.

Like most sides these days, the Sea Eagles will highlight Lockyer and Brett Seymour as the 'spot' players in Brisbane's defensive line.

Seymour missed 11 tackles against Cronulla last week to go straight to the head of the NRL's missed tackle list with 38 for the year, while Lockyer ranks third with 32 (Dragon Shaun Timmins has missed 33).

The Broncos have begun switching Lockyer between the left and right side of defence recently with Tonie Carroll and David Stagg given the job of protecting him, but either way he'll be targeted by Manly's two most aggressive ball-carriers Ben Kennedy and Anthony Watmough.
I am not sure this writer has watched a game with Manly in it. I could look at the stats and come up with this. He is right about Lockyer's plays and we will have to close up on the fringes where the Bunnies showed a weakness, but we have BK coming back.

We are scoring in the forwards through sheer domination and I just can't see the Bronco's pack coming up with the goods. This is where it will be won, closing out the time Lockyer has. We should get them on the back heel and our pace backrow should carve them up. Only luck will save the headless horsemen.
The broncos are too old. Webke has shown he can't hack rep football anymore and civinoceva is only good for one half before tiring. Brad torn is a worry but where the hell is he half the time? I don't think they will go the full 80 mins. Infact Ill give them 50mins against the tireless smashing defence before we start to run riot. I think a convincing win is on the way.
I am pretty confident too.

The broncos have shocking defence. The game plan should be for Monas, stewy, watmough and Menzies to run at Lockyer all day. THe more we run at him the more we break the advaatage line.

Then put high kicks at hunt all day once he gets use to them drive the ball low with a classic hamburger kick :D
I thought their defence was pretty rock solid against the Sharks on Saturday. I was very impressed with the ticker they showed late in that match when the Ref was doing his utmost to get the Sharks home.
I am not confident thi weekend. Good article Ice Fusion - highlights where we are very weak - centres on decoy plays and where we need to lift our game. We can't rely on tough quarter defence like last week as Brisbane have the weapons to hurt us.

Should be an interesting match-up and contrast of styles.
Bomb the ass out of Hunt - he leaves them alone, we have 2 of the best in Stewy and Hicks. I can see a few tries soming this way.

Our game plan will be very similar to the storm i imagine - tire them out up the middle.

Lockyer and Seymour no dount will be exploited in defence.
I am not confident thi weekend. Good article Ice Fusion - highlights where we are very weak - centres on decoy plays and where we need to lift our game. We can't rely on tough quarter defence like last week as Brisbane have the weapons to hurt us.

Should be an interesting match-up and contrast of styles.

you sound like a broken record. Has there been a game where you havent been worried about our "centres"
also read that Lockyer has the "highest innefective tackle count" in the league this year!! interesting
Lockyer is third in total misses, Seymour 1st.

Run at them, force stagg and carrol to make the tackle and offload to Stewy.
Dunley running from Dummy half at carrol and stagg should carve em up
I am not confident thi weekend. Good article Ice Fusion - highlights where we are very weak - centres on decoy plays and where we need to lift our game. We can't rely on tough quarter defence like last week as Brisbane have the weapons to hurt us.

Should be an interesting match-up and contrast of styles.

No - our centres are very average in defence and at some stage we are going to get burnt!
:blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah:
hmmm I'd like to see you pull the stats champ. They actually arent too bad. Hill will help bulster the ranks too
But stats dont tell the whole story.

Well that is everyones escuse, but stats dont lie either.
fluffy that is right. I havent seen onw occassion (aside from the dragons game) where I was dissapointed with our defense, including the centres.

The centres attack is another story but with Hill back in we should see hicks get over the line a few more times
Steppa's attack has been impressive when he is moving - ie a deep backline move, unfortunatly for him and don we are playing rather flat, but it seems to be improving.

One STAT that is very real and nice to look at it the number of missed tackles, most is Witt with 16. Although on average Matai is the worst.

But none of these would come near the worst in other sides.
I am one of those people who disregards raw stats as what they don't tell us in tackle counts is the percentage of missed tackles against good ones.

Witt has been a superb defender and yet you suggest that his defence has been sus. Where on the field and how the player is beaten is also significant as a defensive line is something that works together. Sometimes as a winger you will miss tackles if your inside man is not doing his job and vice-versa. A badly positioned player won't incur the missed tackled stat but allow a gap that you could drive a Double Decker bus through.

Stats are a bit like a small bikini. Its not what they reveal but what they cover that is most important!

what they tell you is a lot - not the be all and end all but a lot.They do tell you tackle count percentage - thats another stat, i dont know how else you get it??

Witt must have missed a few to have 16 tackles missed. You cant miss a tackle without attempting one. As for the Stat it shows that maybe he hasnt been as good as we think. He has made around 90 tackles, so is making appprox 85%. But compare that to someone who has been going really poorly in some people views here - someone who has played 3 games, made approx 50 tackles at 100% - Jason King. Maybe some of you are a bit harsh on him, but that shouldnt suprise - he is not an AE favourite.

You want to ignore stats that show you the guy that misses the postie bike because others may miss a double decker bus (to keep on you vehicle theme, but i can drive a double decker through the same size a a single decker)

If stats meant nothing the clubs would not pay 30K a year for them
Stats are part of the picture but my point is that they don't tell the whole story.

Do you think that Des reads the stats or actually watches the tapes of the previous games/opponents etc? !stupid:

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