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Manly's Ballin feared Monaghan challenge

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Manly's Ballin feared Monaghan challenge

    October 6, 2008 - 6:17PM

    Manly hooker Matt Ballin admits he feared he would never be able to fill the boots of former No.9 Michael Monaghan, let alone go one better and win an NRL premiership.

    The 24-year-old hooker was considered a possible weak link at season's start after the respected Monaghan headed to the English Super League.

    "It was a big challenge, probably at first it was too big for me," Ballin told reporters on Monday.

    "I probably thought about it a lot but as the year went on I think we were focused on my responsibilities rather than that expectation of him leaving."

    The crafty Monaghan was instrumental in Manly's run to last year's decider and, after the Sea Eagles lost their opening two games this year, Ballin began thinking another appearance on the October long weekend was unlikely.

    "The first couple of games we lost and it didn't look really good for us then," he said.

    "But as the season went on we probably addressed all those things that were the problems and we were very honest with each other and I think that helped.

    "We made a commitment to each other back then and it's just gone from there so it's just built on each other's confidence and passion for the game and your mateship."

    Monaghan has been back in Australia during the finals series and caught up with Ballin after last week's big win over the New Zealand Warriors.

    "I spoke to him after the semi-final and he was rapt and so happy for us," Ballin said.

    "When he left last year he said that I'd be a good player this year and I really accepted all his help and he really taught me a lot about the game and how to play."

    Apart from partying, Ballin's attention will now switch to tying up a new deal with Manly.

    "I think the best thing was we just put it aside for me as well as the team and (coach) Des Hasler so I know they're going to be good to me and that's the main thing," Ballin said.

    "I've got trust in them and they trust me as well.

    "I'm sure it will be sorted out in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully (it will be) at least two years and we'll go from there."

    And he joked: "I don't know what you get for winning a grand final but I'm sure it's something, so we'll have to work out a bargain there."

    © 2008 AAP
  2. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member

    +215 /5
    I have looked at the game three times and Ballin's work was sublime. His dummy half work and defence was first rate. First try, great metres in his runs and very slick passing.

    I told you so!!!! :)
  3. CliffyIsGod

    CliffyIsGod Well-Known Member

    +109 /2
    I would say that puts him one behind Smith as QLD hooker...
  4. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member

    +516 /0
    He had a very good game amongst all the other very good players.  Couldn't see anyone bludging or not giving their all.  Great work from all.  It's up to Cuthbo now to step up, get his defense right and stay in the top squad. 

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