Manly keen to tackle 'over-rated' tag

Manly keen to tackle 'over-rated' tag

Fired up by claims they are over-rated, Manly are desperate to regain the NRL's No.1 billing and haven't given up on snatching the minor premiership from Melbourne.

The Sea Eagles and Storm traded the lead on the NRL table over the opening 11 weeks of the season until a horror stretch of three losses in five weeks cost Manly four points on their ladder leading rivals.

Manly skipper Matt Orford said the Sea Eagles still had their eyes on the club's first minor premiership in a decade and will continue their charge by disposing of the Wests Tigers at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.

"I think I can speak on behalf of the boys and say we still want to chase Melbourne, I don't think anyone has given up on that," said Orford.

"Without getting too far ahead of ourselves we definitely still want to stay where we are in the comp and go higher.

"We definitely don't want to take the foot off the gas whatsoever.

"We've done too much hard work to get to where we are in this competition and it's going to be a lot tighter by the time the comp is finished.

"The end of this competition nearing the finals is going to be tough for us and I think we're on the road a fair bit so every home game we get starting with Friday night we have to make the most of it."

The Sea Eagles were riled this week when the annual Rugby League Week magazine player poll named them the most over-rated team in the NRL and star recruit Jamie Lyon the most over-rated player.

The tags don't sit well with Manly and, almost as if they could sense them coming, they put the Sydney Roosters to the sword last week with an impressive 56-0 drubbing - the second heaviest defeat in the NRL this year.

The Tigers scored eight tries themselves to defeat Penrith last Friday, setting up an NRL blockbuster at Brookvale.

Orford said Manly had been given an advantage by the Tigers naming Robbie Farah at halfback and not hooker, suggesting he was more dangerous at dummy-half than first receiver.

"I think he's got the talent to play half or hooker but I'd probably rather see him at halfback than hooker because he is a lot more dangerous around the rucks," said Orford.

"He's done a great job (at halfback) but as a nine he is probably one of the dangers we have to keep an eye on and every time he gets in there we will have to have the alarm bells ringing."

Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs has been ruled out of the match with a medial ligament strain in his right knee and young prop Jarrod Saffy has been added to Tim Sheens' squad for the clash.

Orford said Gibbs' front-row partner, Tigers skipper Todd Payten who scored a rare double last week, was uppermost in the Sea Eagles' minds.

"They're a mobile footy team and a skilful footy team," said Orford.

"Their front-rower (Payten), he's in a purple patch at the moment and playing really good football.

"They do have structure but they're a team who do play with a lot of freedom and they can throw the ball around so across the board we all have to be on our game."

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