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Canteen Worker

First Grader

Sunday, 26 June 2005
3:00 PM
Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs

Dogs danger with Shrek back on deck

The Bulldogs visit 'fortress Brookvale' this Sunday with the unenviable task of trying to snap Manly's unbeaten run at home this season … but never fear, O'Meley is here.

Mark O'Meley forms just one part of the Bulldogs machine, but as they look to edge their way back into finals contention, he could prove the decisive factor against the third-placed Sea Eagles.

There is no doubt the Bulldogs are a far better side when O'Meley is in the team.

In three games this season he has averaged an impressive 136 metres per game � despite playing just 28 minutes of his side's opening round win over St George Illawarra before limping off injured ? including 163 metres against the Roosters in round 6 and 143 v Canberra last week.

It's a tremendous contribution, but it also eases the pressure on his front-row partner Roy Asotasi, who has been exceptional this season but in many ways a lone hand when it comes to going forward.

More importantly, O'Meley is a prolific off-loader � a facet the Bulldogs have sorely missed in their plunge down the ladder during the first half of the year.

At their best, the Bulldogs love building on second phase play, which allows them to build pressure from anywhere on the field.

The signs were there last week against the Raiders when O'Meley produced six of the side's 15 off-loads and expect that number to increase as he gains match fitness.

It allows the Bulldogs to gain cheap metres and they are masters at exploiting quality field position.

In fact, the Bulldogs are never more dangerous than when they're attacking close to the line.

They've scored 38 of their 50 tries this season from within 20 metres of the opposition line.

On a percentage basis (76 per cent) only Newcastle and South Sydney have favoured this region more. Manly will have to watch the likes of O'Meley, Asotasi, Matt Utai, Corey Hughes and captain Andrew Ryan who all boast the strength to power over if given the opportunity.

Ryan in-particular could prove lethal against a Manly defence that has stuttered over the past fortnight. Attacking on the left side, expect him to target five-eighth Michael Witt in defence.

There have been some worrying signs for Manly in their games against South Sydney and Newcastle where they've conceded 70 points against the competition's two bottom-placed teams, with Witt caught out last week when he over-read a situation close to his line, allowing Milton Thaiday in for a try.

They'll need to tighten up this Sunday � but so too will the Bulldogs.

The return of O'Meley may add plenty to the side's go-forward, but it also provides Manly with a clear passage of attack up the middle of the park where the bulked-up Bulldogs pack may struggle.

Already they've conceded 24 of 55 tries this season up the centre, compared to 16 on their right-side defence and 15 on their left.

No other side in the competition has let in so many up the middle.

And of course, Manly are the kings of dummy-half running, having scooted 443 times this season (most in NRL).

Watch them look to target lazy marker defence in centre field.

The Bulldogs will also have to be wary of Manly fullback Brett Stewart who will lurk behind play then accelerate onto an off-load.

Conversely, in broken play situations Manly will invariably look to spread the ball left to Scott Donald's wing, hoping his pace will catch the opposition out of position.

A perfect example came during their round 11 clash with Parramatta when the Eels dropped the ball in centre field. Three passes later, Donald was touching down 50-metres up-field.

Manly deserve favouritism at home this Sunday, but the O'Meley factor can't be dismissed. Time will tell who comes out on top.


Journey Man
Dunley has been quiet lately compared to earlier this season, could see him eat them up late in the halves. We need to be aware of omealy, but dont over commit leaving gaps elsewhere. Im sure Des has a game plan that will be effective if we stick to it.


Now the dogs are being accused of only scoring in their own 20, I thought it was us !!!!


fact is... its easier to score from inside the twenty. Im sure most teams score more in the 20 then anywhere else. Its a stupid stat.


Winging it
I had a good look a few days ago at the stats/efforts made by King vs O'Melley. The Ogre is just an outstanding distributor of the ball. In 3 games he has made 12 offloads and in 9 games Jason has made 6. He also averaged 136 mts a game vs. 76. If we can shut him down we have a chance.


Journey Man
None of our props give many offloads.

And Cleal looked much better not trying to force it all the time.

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