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Monaghan in Origin bolt

Glenn Jackson | May 12, 2007

Sea Eagles 22 Eels 12

NSW selectors had hoped a halfback would stand up. And while Matt Orford showed glimpses of Origin form, it was the player unwanted as a No.7 who stood tallest.

Just days before he is expected to announce he will be leaving the club - because he can't get a run at halfback - Michael Monaghan led the Sea Eagles to a 22-12 victory over Parramatta at Brookvale Oval last night in a performance that once again led former NSW coach Phil Gould to sing his praises. After earlier floating him as a possible Blues bolter, last night Gould added more weight, saying: "I don't know if he's the best, but I know we can win with him."

Monaghan seems to be in the same situation at Manly. He's not renowned as the best halfback, with Orford pulling most of the strings, yet they continue to win with him.

From next season they'll have to win without him because it is almost certain Monaghan will early next week be granted a release from the final year of his contract to take up a plum No.7 role with another NRL club or an English Super League outfit.

Monaghan, who turns 27 tomorrow, said he is likely to make a decision by Tuesday, the deadline the Sea Eagles have given him to make a decision. Although he is favoured to head to the UK, Wests Tigers are also keen to secure his services.

"The thing I really want to do is play halfback," Monaghan said after last night's win. "It's no secret that's why I want to move on. I have got offers over in England and Australia.

"I've been playing a few different positions but the thing I'm most pleased about is the consistency. The problem I've probably had in the past is that I'd have a couple of good games and a couple of average games."

Admittedly, Monaghan started at hooker last night, but the Sea Eagles looked at their most dangerous when Monaghan assumed playmaking duties in the second half.

And he did his work on a big stage: the 19,944-strong crowd was throbbing, a throwback to the clashes between the two clubs that inspired a beer commercial. Last night, it really was, here we go again …


Orford wasn't to be totally outclassed, grubbering for his winger Chris Hicks to score after 58 minutes. While it may not be enough to secure him a halfback spot for NSW, it was enough to get the Sea Eagles home.

Asked afterwards about his prospects, the player who has been picked twice before only to pull out through injury said: "Only the selectors can answer that. I'm not quite sure."


Lyon, an almost certain selection at centre for NSW in the first State of Origin, was quiet for the most part, lamenting the club's slow start as a "kick up the bum". All in all, the Ox and Lyon show was scratchy at best. Luckily for them, Monners came up with the money plays.

MANLY 22 (B Stewart 2 J Lyon C Hicks tries J Lyon 3 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 12 (T Smith Z Taia tries L Burt 2 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: P Simpkins. Crowd: 19,944.
 
UFO Hunter
He really does deserve the blues role.

And I say 'deserves'. I for once am going to agree with Phil Gould.

He's not the best or most talented but you can win with him there. He'd do the job at the moment without a shadow of a doubt.
 
Reserve Grader
I hope Monnas gets the gig. In all honesty, there aren't too many other options, and that includes Orford. I can't believe the wraps Gould is giving him though, when he had his last contract negotiation he said we'd never win a premiership with him and constantly says he's got no talent.
 
UFO Hunter
I hope Monnas gets the gig. In all honesty, there aren't too many other options, and that includes Orford. I can't believe the wraps Gould is giving him though, when he had his last contract negotiation he said we'd never win a premiership with him and constantly says he's got no talent.

Monaghan has proven quite a few of us wrong this season.

Myself included.
 
Moderator
Staff member
I hope Monnas gets the gig. In all honesty, there aren't too many other options, and that includes Orford. I can't believe the wraps Gould is giving him though, when he had his last contract negotiation he said we'd never win a premiership with him and constantly says he's got no talent.

That is what makes him 1 of, if not the best, comments man in the game.

He will have a strong opinion, but is man enough to go the opposite way if someone proves him wrong, which Monaghan has done, and doesnt let some past comments and agendas get in the way of what is happening in front of him
 
Bencher
how ironic.

Then wed have a state of origin half on 240k... and a non state of origin half on 500k.

I hope Monas gets a blues shirt.. but i dont think he will.. and it would piss me off if he gets one and then leaves the club.
 
Bencher
it was an interesting comment from Gould, whom i also respect, that while he thought Monaghs may not be the best half back, he knew we could win with him!

i hope he gets picked, the more big match experience he gets the better for us come september, hopefully both he and OX will be firing by then.
 
Bencher
how ironic.

Then wed have a state of origin half on 240k... and a non state of origin half on 500k.

I hope Monas gets a blues shirt.. but i dont think he will.. and it would piss me off if he gets one and then leaves the club.

if monaghs does get pick we will be one of about 6 or 7 clubs with a half million dollar non origin halfback so i wont loose too much sleep over that. Ill just be gald we have both.
 
Reserve Grader
[quote author=Cletus]
I hope Monnas gets the gig. In all honesty, there aren't too many other options, and that includes Orford. I can't believe the wraps Gould is giving him though, when he had his last contract negotiation he said we'd never win a premiership with him and constantly says he's got no talent.

That is what makes him 1 of, if not the best, comments man in the game.

He will have a strong opinion, but is man enough to go the opposite way if someone proves him wrong, which Monaghan has done, and doesnt let some past comments and agendas get in the way of what is happening in front of him
[/quote]

I respect Gould, but he still annoys the **** out of me! I guess he hasn't changed his tune too much, at the time he also said that Monaghan was the kind of player who could get a team off the bottom of the ladder, so I guess he never questioned Monnas heart.
 
First Grader
I don't question Mona's heart either. It is the price tag that was paid for him, when we have a half already and some talent we are trying to keep.
 
Reserve Grader
I don't think he's overpriced either. 240k isn't that much in a 4mill salary cap. The problem is he's an ordinary hooker. And I'd rather have Orford at half. That leaves him at 5/8, but he's not a natural 5/8, he has an ordinary running game.
game.
So that pretty much leaves him out of the team if we want to keep Burns. It's a shame because he's playing great at the moment. But at the time this all started, he'd always make an error in the first 10 minutes of a game. I really hope he makes origon and then finds a UK club. I'd hate to see him play for another NRL club.
 

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