Manly v Roosters Trial - Some Impressions from the Stand

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Canteen Worker

First Grader
Obviously the two clubs took a very different approach to the trial at Gosford. Whilst the scoreline was disappointing it is clear that Manly were using the trial as an opportunity for some of the fringe players to put their hand up and demonstrate they were ready for first grade football. Seven first team Sea Eagles didn’t show up to play and other topliners were given little game time. The Roosters had a more settled squad and played that way.

What did the Trial Show???
1. We have several exciting youngsters coming through. Matt Ballin was very strong at hooker. His defence was superb and his dummy half work showed flair and creativity.
Adam Cuthbertson also impressed and made ground every time he touched the ball. His offloads were also a strong feature of his game. Defensive work was good and he will press strongly for a place on the first grade bench at minimum.
2. It would seem that Kite, King, Kennedy, Watmough, Menzies, Orford, Bell, Hicks, Bell and Brett Stewart are all guaranteed spots in Manly’s top 13, seven other spots are wide open.
3. Manly struggled defensively in our own quarter and despite some aggression we were outsmarted by simple plays. Ball players such as Anasta found it easy to pick up ball runners and the defensive decision making by our line was poor. The lateral mobility of several of our bigger forwards was ordinary. On the positive side, when Kite and Willo came on we looked much stronger. Ballin and Wells certainly did not shirk in the defensive department.
4. Our attack looked pedestrian for much of the night. Our power game was okay but when we were in attacking situations we did not threaten and our work was stereotyped. We hardly made a clean break all night and the flat backline was too easy to read, even when we had numbers on them. Our three tries were scored from a Monaghan bomb, a Roosters error and some good work from Monaghan/Burns. There seemed to be no attacking pattern though and the second man plays of cutting out the decoy runner and sending it wide were easy to read, especially with no Brett Stewart to chime into the backline.. Orford’s short passing game was good and should have resulted in at least one Matai try.
5. The Prop rotation, left centre and five-eighth problem still worries me. Each of these were issues last year and nothing seems to have been decided for 2006.
6. The positives of the night were that we have halfback, Bell is an exciting addiion as a centre, Kite looked frightening and more mobile, Robertson did some great work to score an opportunist try, Monaghan defended well and looked better that expected at five-eighth.
7. Negatives of the night were the form of Matai (who was out of his depth), no stand-out five-eighth, the poor ball control, silly penalties, poor mobility of our big men and lack of defensive intensity in the ruck, especially in our own quarter.

Des certainly didn’t give anything away as to how Manly will approach 2006 and opposition coaches won’t be quaking in their boots. However that is probably just how he would like it.

PS From the Rooster perspective Harrison is a great buy and Anasta looked quickly at home. They have pace to burn out wide and will certainly be a much stronger side than in 2005. Soward impressed me and Finch didn’t!
the game lacked enthusiasm and excitement.

I was bored from start to end!
Put that up on the news page CW.

One more thing to add - we were just in front of the coaches box and Des looked GUTTED at the conclusion of the game.

Shaking his head whilst held in his hands. He did not look very impressed with the effort.
I dont blame him, apart from a few players there was zero effor.

Orford really impressed me though as did Ballin but Ballin impressed me at Hooker in last years trials too
Put that up on the news page CW.

One more thing to add - we were just in front of the coaches box and Des looked GUTTED at the conclusion of the game.

Shaking his head whilst held in his hands. He did not look very impressed with the effort.

I wonder if groundhog day is Dessie's favourite movie. Different year same leaking woeful defence.

Lets hope this year that des picks the team on form and doesn't perservere with players who are not putting in the effort (ie King last year).

I would much rather have the younger players in the team this year like Cuthbo, Ballin and Wells who will give it 100% effort every time they get on the field.

Someone on MSE has said that groom is only on a contract of $200 pw. I hope that it is not true because most clubs would pay a hell of a lot more for a kid with his ability. Lets hope we don't lose him because of lack of money.
You have to give Des a bit of time - the trial this weekend and then 3 games into the season. If we are still leaking then it could be a long miserable season. A 30 point loss is very disappointing.
No one like to lose games, let alone by 30 points - but with the players Des used for this trial, it's nothing to lose sleep over. Players were given opportunities - it sounds like Ballin and Cuthbo stood up, others were sound, and the rest didn't do a lot. I think we have a fair squad this year, and if Ballin and Cuthbo manage to step up to NRL level, Manly will only be stronger than I 1st anticipated.

I'm not sold on Matai yet, and so it wasn't good to hear of his night, but it's 1st game back for everybody in a mixed side.

Good to see Kite going so well that even BK mentions him, and shall be interesting to see how King goes this weekend.

Question - is the beer shed open this saturday?
cheers Byso, I just remember a NE trial when the beer was not available. It's not overly important, but the boys are trying to organise a night out around this trial.
So will you say g'day to the ST lads ;)
:)0 I got no problems with you guys, just difference of opinions and I got tired of people whining without adding something that's even a little constructive. You get it in every forum though.

Seeing as your the only guy I "know of", I'll make sure i say hello.

I should say hello to daniel to, for upsetting him so much last year.
All is good champ, I can't remember if i've met you. I'm sure Dan and Co will be happy to have a yarn!
Team P W L PD Pts
6 5 1 59 12
6 5 1 20 12
6 4 2 53 10
6 4 2 30 10
7 4 2 25 9
7 4 3 40 8
7 4 3 24 8
7 4 3 -8 8
7 4 3 -18 8
7 3 3 20 7
7 3 4 31 6
7 3 4 17 6
6 2 4 -31 6
7 3 4 -41 6
7 2 5 -29 4
6 1 5 -102 4
6 0 6 -90 2
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