Manly show their title credentials, no bull Glenn Jackson | July 4, 2008 - 10:02PM http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/lhqmatchreport/manly-can-do-it-no-bull/2008/07/04/1214951047832.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 Gold Coast 14 Manly 34 COWABUNGA! The team with the calves' blood in their veins can play a bit too. Udderly fantastic. And after the week they've endured, the result was moosic to their ears. They've been saying it 'til the cows come home, but they are a premiership team. Boom tish! But seriously. Last night's clash with the Titans was a dangerous game for Manly. They have been under the microscope during the week, following the Herald's revelations about the peculiar use of the peculiar substance. But they do have substance, bovine intervention or not, even if you'll forgive us for having a little fun at their expense out of a rousingly entertaining fixture, which came after one of the most entertaining stories of the year. Even if their, um, blood boiled. They won last night even after losing centre Steve Matai, one of their best in recent months, early with a sternum injury. And even after the Titans stuck it to them. It was the Titans who had the hide to score first. They looked sharp early. Mat Rogers, with his branded arms and lethal left foot, kicked for winger Ben Jeffery, who found centre Luke O'Dwyer. Only problem was, O'Dwyer was so shocked by the quality of the play he promptly dropped the ball. A try butchered. But they were showing great movement. Just two minutes later, Blues back-rower Anthony Laffranchi charged onto a Nathan Friend ball for a ninth minute try. The Sea Eagles lost Matai soon after, but they also hit back, his centre partner Steve Bell getting the ball down in traffic to score. They knew they were in a game. Winger Michael Robertson was hit by a Michael Hodgson shoulder, and had the wobbly legs of a mad cow. The hit was neither penalised nor placed on report, however a charge would not surprise. The two sides have only played each other once previously, but there was clearly a bit of bad blood between them. No Scott Prince, no Ashley Harrison, no Luke Bailey. No worries. Manly were being forced into errors, but the good sides withstand the pressure. They are certainly that. Evergreen Steve Menzies, 34 but yet to be put out to pasture, showed why when he steered his way through with a dummy and a dart to score after 32 minutes. They can truly stake a claim for a premiership. The Ox, Matt Orford, can drive the cattle around a paddock. No wonder his coach Des Hasler thinks the talk that he cannot stand up in the big games is a load of old bull. The Titans aren't done yet, even without their co-captains. Halfback Brad Davis, who has been blooded at age 26 in Prince's absence, has been strong - his ball to Laffranchi for his second try of the night, 12 minutes into the second half, was superb - while Rogers lifted a gear last night with some of his best form in a while. His kicking game was largely first-rate, while he made a critical tackle on fullback Brett Stewart. In Bailey's absence, Michael Henderson stood up; his broken leg last year never so far away after his performance last night. Hooker Nathan Friend was also tireless. Only problem was, they may have lost another forward. Mark Minichiello, who has been one of the Titans' best so far this season, limped off with seven minutes left. The club cannot afford to lose another outstanding forward. That they were right in the game until late was a credit to them. Rogers' 55th minute penalty put them two points in front, even after they trailed by six at half-time. Disaster struck, however, when Orford kicked and Brenton Bowen slipped, with Jamie Lyon picking up the scraps for the try. When David Williams did the same, running 95 metres to score, the contest was over. Stewart put the polish on an impressive team performance with a long-range try with five minutes remaining, and then a simply superb four-pointer following a flick by Orford with seconds remaining. The final scoreline hardly represented the closeness of the fixture. The Titans put up a real fight. MANLY 34 (B Stewart 2, S Bell, J Lyon, S Menzies, D Williams tries; M Orford 5 goals) bt GOLD COAST 14 (A Laffranchi 2 tries; M Rogers 3 goals) at Skilled Park. Referee: J Maxwell. Crowd: 21,374.