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Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by eagle_predator, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. eagle_predator

    eagle_predator Active Member

    +0 /0


    Second coming of the Sea Eagles

    September 28, 2008

    Sea Eagles 32 Warriors 6

    MATT ORFORD, big game, getting the job done, injured, busted ankle, grimacing, hobbling, cursing, refusing to come off. The Sea Eagles captain sent a shuddering scare through the camp when he suffered an injury late in the slaughter last night and not even the gravel voice and stern expression of trainer Geoff Toovey could get him to leave the damn field.

    It was brave of him to stay on. But wise? The Sea Eagles were leading 22-0 with 21 minutes to go when his night stuttered. Surely he had to be replaced. Surely the result had become a foregone conclusion and having a fit skipper for next week's mission against the Storm was the priority.

    Two Manly trainers, including the revered Toovey, tried to talk him into an early departure. He stayed put, still, grimacing and hobbling.

    Get him off!

    Finally, at 28-0 in the 69th minute, he said goodnight. He was later seen walking up the tunnel with ice packs on both ankles, waddling like an astronaut. Manly coach Des Hasler played down fears about Orford's fitness. Orford himself admitted to concerns.

    "My ankle just twisted - Ruben Wiki got me," he said while putting on a big black surgical boot. "I wasn't too keen to come off. The trainers fired up. It was probably a good call in the end to come off but I just wanted to stay out. I knew it was pretty serious. I'm not sure how bad it is. I'll just have to see what happens tonight."

    Manly and Melbourne will square off in the NRL's big dance after Orford's rat cunning and Brett Stewart's outrageous attacking skills helped the Sea Eagles account for the Warriors. Stewart did what he can do in his sleep - score the first try, and his side's last try, and set up another with an extravagant under-the-legs pass to give the club what it has craved for a year … the chance to exact revenge on a team that belted them from pillar to corner post in last year's crushing decider.

    Virtually half a second into his post-match address, Hasler said he was already thinking about the grand final.

    "Melbourne's toughness over the last couple of weeks has been incredible," Warriors captain Steve Price said.

    "Manly have got their work cut out, don't worry about that."

    Hasler was adamant the Sea Eagles remained under his much-cherished radar, adding: "In all seriousness, they're a champion side."

    Manly players make no secret of the fact they are desperate to get stuck into the Storm in the biggest game of the year. Controversy has already engulfed the premiers in their war against the NRL.

    The appearance of Manly players in a Storm-produced DVD of grapple tackles released to the media on Friday might also raise a few hackles among the Sea Eagles.

    Orford cajoled and probed got his team around the park. A cat did not have his tongue. He is nothing if not feisty. He passed up the opportunity to take a simple two points in the 12th minute, preferring to run the gauntlet in the hope of a try. He took off across field, slipped a short pass, Stewart grabbed it at the speed of light and Manly were on their way.

    David Williams, wolfman, had a rousing stoush with Manu Vatuvei. Vatuvei seemed certain to score in the sixth minute after Williams had coughed up possession. But Vatuvei returned the favour when the ball flew out of his hands just as he was about to give the Warriors the jump.

    Steve Menzies, head gear, legend. One game to go in the NRL. Last night could have been his swansong, but he did his bit to avoid an inglorious exit with a 34th-minute try. For those among the crowd of 32,095 who had made the trek across the Harbour Bridge from the northern beaches, it was the highlight of their night.

    Manly were led out in the second stanza by Orford and Stewart. Well, they were led out by a bloke wearing a Sea Eagles costume, but then followed Orford and Stewart.

    Orford threw himself into a tackle on Jerome Ropati and stumbled away with his bones still rattling.

    The extent of all his bumps and bruises will be known today.

    MANLY 32 (B Stewart 2 S Matai S Menzies M Orford M Robertson G Stewart tries S Matai M Orford goals) bt NZ WARRIORS 6 (A Kirk try L Hohaia goal) at Sydney Football Stadium. Referee: S Hayne.

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