Manly No.1 in Origin mix

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clontaago

First Grader
MANLY fullback Brett Stewart has declared himself ready for State of Origin this year after yesterday scoring his 31st try in 31 matches at Brookvale Oval.

Stewart scored a crucial try in his side's 13-10 win over New Zealand Warriors- a victory which keeps Manly on top of the NRL Premiership.

The New South Wales fullback spot remains open with Sydney Roosters' Anthony Minichiello yet to recapture his best form since returning this year from a back injury.

Stewart scored 21 tries last season and has already notched three this year in four games.

"I think I could handle it," said Stewart. "State of Origin has always been a goal of mine, like it is with all kids.

"I'm thinking first about playing for Country against City.

"But I think I'd be up for Origin football."

Manly coach Des Hasler agreed that Stewart was a star performer yesterday. "He was certainly a handful," Hasler said.

Manly legend Steve Menzies called on selectors to consider picking Stewart, who has added 3kg yet managed to retain his blistering speed.

"Brett is up to State of Origin level," Menzies said. "I thought he matured a lot toward the end of last year. He has added a few elements to his game and he's playing some great football."

It was tough, grinding game yesterday, with both sides scoring two tries but Manly performing better throughout the second half.

Sadly, though, Brookvale Oval continues to struggle with big crowds - fans were still queuing 25 minutes after kick-off.

The famous Northern Beaches ground desperately requires some improvement.


On the field the Warriors soaked up an enormous amount of pressure in the first half, making 183 tackles. It was a gusty effort from the Kiwis, who had little left in reserve when in possession.

The victory was Manly's third straight without its injured stars Menzies, Matt Orford and Steve Matai.

In its four games this year Manly has conceded just 32 points - the best defensive effort in the competition.

"It's about commitment to your teammates and attitude," said Manly prop Jason King.

"Defence in the off season was a real focal point for us. We are setting ourselves defensive goals before each game and we are working hard to achieve them.

"An average of eight points a game is a great effort considering the quality attacking sides in the competition."

More than 16,000 fans attended yesterday's match at historic Brookvale but sadly the ground's old charm was ruined by an over-zealous ground announcer.

"They had a lot of ball in the first half and they didn't give us much of a look in," said Warriors coach Ivan Cleary.

"We didn't get too many opportunities until the last 10 minutes and then we were a bit rushed.

"Manly was very professional and controlled. They completed a huge amount of sets, particularly for this time of the season."

The win sets up a bumper match next Saturday night between Manly and the Bulldogs at Homebush.

Manly's win yesterday came after they had four tries disallowed - although it appeared that each decision was correct.

"We just weren't able to get a try there for a while," said Manly skipper Brent Kite.

"But we weren't about to lose heart. We just wanted to keep doing what we were doing."
 
I'd love to see Brett get the gig but it won't happen.

Selectors show time and time again that current form has no bearing on selection. Unfortunately the positions go to players who are heralded by idiots such as Phil Gould and his media friends.

Minichello will get the job despite Stewarts excellent start to the season. Although the how effective the selections will prove to be is questionable, considering the Roosters fall into the same category.

They have fallen into the trap of buying the big name players who can't back it up on the field.
 
Yep, totally agree there. Hopefully he can prove me wrong and get the Blues jumper as well.
 
Brett's only weakness is in his running the ball back from a kick. Often his runs end meekly surrendering to the tackle. If he could jink, or bust the tackle, then he's in, until then I doubt he'll get the call.
 
i think he has improves a lot in that area and is now making regular breaks on kick returns, something we didnt see at all last year
 
How safe has he been under the high ball too?

That take under the posts against the Roosters takes the cake. Awesome!
 
There is all this talk about Stewy and the Blues jersey but there is a small matter of an ANZAC test coming up before the origin. Am I forgetting someone or is he not a shoe in for the test match?
 
I was reading the Courier Mail and Gorden Tallis made a plea for Bowen to be test fullback and also added that Smith should get the nod ahead of buderus again... if he had it his way the team would include bowen, C smith, lockyer, tate, hodges, thurston, carlaw, civoniceva, stagg, carroll etc.
 
I was reading the Courier Mail and Gorden Tallis made a plea for Bowen to be test fullback and also added that Smith should get the nod ahead of buderus again... if he had it his way the team would include bowen, C smith, lockyer, tate, hodges, thurston, carlaw, civoniceva, stagg, carroll etc.

Well i would have bowen, C.Smith, lockyer, hodges, thurston and civoniceva in the team
 
You could pick the Qld team mow and they'd thump the NZ rabble. Qld certainly seem to have the dominant players at the moment.
 

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