BY claiming rugby league's Dally M Medal, Manly halfback Matt Orford killed off the theory he was too small to cut it in the NRL. Now Orford must confront the other stigma which haunts him -- that he chokes in big games. Orford returned to training on Wednesday at Narrabeen just 12 hours after winning the most prestigious individual award in rugby league. Orford will now throw all his focus into Saturday night's blockbuster semi-final against St George Illawarra at Brookvale Oval. Asked where the Dally M rated in his career, Orford said: "It's at the top at the moment. "It's the best individual award you can get. The whole night was pretty much a blur. It went so quick. "To realise you are in the presence of some really great names (is unbelievable). You're in the history books. You've done something special. "The award is so prestigious and I am grateful (to be chosen). "You don't get too many opportunities like this. It is something I can reflect on after I retire." Orford has been much-maligned his entire career yet continues to be ranked among the game's elite players. With a season to run on his contract, Orford, 30, said he planned to retire as a Sea Eagle. "If the body and mind and passion is still there, I'd definitely like to stay here," Orford said. "Why would I want to leave this? "I've got the beaches, got a great club but at this stage I haven't really thought about it too much. "I'll get through this year and worry about my future come next year. "I wouldn't rule out England, you never say never. It would give you the chance to do some travelling." Manly CEO Grant Mayer said Orford was in the club's long-term plans. "He's our captain and an integral part of our team," Mayer said. "As his Dally M win shows, he's rated among the best in the NRL and we'd certainly like to sit down with him next year and discuss his plans. "We haven't spoken to him yet about it and he hasn't requested a get-together but once the dust settles on this season we will definitely have a look at the situation. "It's very heartening to hear he has come out and declared his loyalty." Manly coach Des Hasler praised Orford's Dally M success. "It was a great reward -- Matt has worked very hard," Hasler said. "It is well-deserved." St George Illawarra have won nine from 12 matches against Manly and four from six at Brookvale. "They have a good record at Brookvale so we are going to have to be on our game," said Manly centre Steve Matai. "There are a few things we need to tweak."