Journey Man
Manly have secured their spot at the top of the NRL table after a sensational 25-18 win over the Melbourne Storm in front of an ecstatic capacity crowd at Brookvale afternoon this afternoon. After seven terrible years of disappointment and thrashings it is official – Manly are well and truly back in business.

Manly’s forward pack have shown that they’ve found a ruthless streak that has been missing for several seasons after they paved the way for a sensational upset victory over a Melbourne Storm side that has been running hot in recent weeks. To a man the Manly pack (starters and replacements) hit like sledgehammers in defence to show that they are well on the way to becoming one of the most feared units in the NRL this year.

Every forward was outstanding in an outstanding performance of forward play. In many respects it is difficult to single anyone but special mention must go to Anthony Watmough who was devastating in attack and busy in defence. Heckenberg gave great go-forward and was rewarded with a deserved try. Leuluai hit hard in defence and Kennedy was inspirational in marshalling the troops.

The game started badly for Manly. They were not able to get their kick away on their first set and Melbourne attacked their line immediately. Steven Bell took advantage of Watmough being slow to react to a switch in play and strolled over for the opening try in the first two minutes.

Manly hit back however and were able to take advantage of several consecutive sets deep in Storm territory. Hardworking forward Daniel Heckenberg picked up just rewards for his tireless efforts over the past year. He burst into space close to the line and was able to go over for Manly’s first try.

Manly’s second score came from another penalty close to the Storm line. Manly took several quick play the balls before Chad Randall speared over from one metre out. Manly’s third came when Michael Monaghan put a kick through on the third tackle. It rebounded off a Storm player and ended up in the arm of Dunley who was able to cross the line despite the best efforts of Billy Slater. Witt’s flawless place kicking took the score to 18-6.

The Storm hit back with seconds to play before half time. Cameron Smith put a clever kick into the in goal area to force a Manly drop out from the line and in the ensuing set of six Cooper Cronk found his way to the line despite the attentions of three Manly players. The teams went to half time with Manly enjoying an 18-12 lead.

In hot and sweaty conditions Manly had been nearly flawless in the first half, committing only two errors, one of those being a kick out on the full on the sixth tackle. Another highlight of the half was a long run from Billy Slater from behind his own goal line. Slater scorched upfield but was matchd in the speed stakes by Manly’s rising fullback Brett Stewart. Stewart corralled Slater quickly and was also able to force the error from his opponent.

The second half began as an arm wrestle and there was some exhilarating football played. The Storm launched a sustained raid on the Manly line before King spilt the ball. Manly counterattacked upfield and were denied a try by a knock-on from Donald. Off the back of a penalty the Storm again raided the Manly line but were held up by extremely urgent defence. Then Manly had their turn only to be denied by a knock-on from Brent Kite.

Play continued to swing back and forward up the field. During this period the Melbourne Storm generally had the better of exchanges off the back of a few doubtful penalties but the Manly pride in their defensive line was enough to hold them out. It became obvious that both sides were intent upon grinding the other down and a war of attrition was played out for more than twenty minutes.

The deadlock was nearly broken when Witt put through a clever banana kick that was fumbled by a Storm player. Brett Stewart was able to get his finger tips to the ball but the video referee decided that he had insufficient control for the try to be awarded. It was on the next set of six that Melbourne marched upfield and Billy Slater was able to pounce on an Orford grubber kick. A despairing dive from Brett Stewart was not enough to knock the ball out of Slater’s hands and Billy the Kid regathered and scored a spectacular try. Smith converted to lock the game up at 18-18.

In the 65th minute Manly significantly upped their tempo and took themselves to within striking distance. Another grubber kick was put through and was yet again fumbled by a Storm player. The ball was regathered by Manly and slick passing through the hands saw Stewart streak over to put Manly back in front with Witt extending the lead to 6.

With ten minutes to go the Storm were able to put together three sets of six right on the Manly line but Manly’s defence was urgent, organised and committed. The Storm attack broke down when Turner was shepherded to the sideline and put a foot into touch with a inches from the try line on the Storm’s left hand side.

I am not ashamed to admit that with seven minutes to play tears welled up in my eyes as Manly continued to dig in deep in defence and desperately hold their line. The Storm launched raid after raid and several time looked dangerous but kept getting denied by last ditch plays from a heroic Manly defensive line. It was at this point that it became obvious that the pride that has been lacking in the Manly jumper over the past few years has been well and truly restored.

The win was iced when Monaghan put over a long range field goal with two minutes to play.

Fears that Manly would be vulnerable on their right hand side following the suspension and sacking of John Hopoate and injury to Terry Hill did not come to fruition. Replacement Creary and debutant Mattai had solid games without doing anything spectacular but they were able to hold their much vaunted opponents King and Geyer. In his first hour of NRL football Mattai made 13 strong tackles and 11 hit ups in an assured performance.

With the bye next week Manly’s long suffering fans can look forward to at least two weeks at the top of the NRL table. I think we’re going to have some fun.


Winging it
Great stuff Mata. Exactly as my maroon and white coloured glasses saw the action. It was a tough win and an outstanding effort right across the park. Thay dug deep and delivered one of the great victories at Brookie. Time for just a little bit more celebrating. !drunk:


Bloody superb. That defence, I wouldn't have thought it could be that good. Just remarkable. The commitment, great. There isn't enough space for all of the :clap: :clap: required.


Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
Defense ...clap clap clap defense clap clap clap.....

and i thought the defense wasnt as good as other games..... the sharks game can you imagine with a full team?


Journey Man
Mattai was really solid too.

How good was it to see the Storm restricted to 1 try in the second half? And a flukey one at that?


"Every forward was outstanding in an outstanding performance of forward play"

Thanks Rex.

Nevertheless, a great win on the back of great defence.

George Carmont played ok without signalling that the messiah has arrived.

<span class='smallblacktext'>[ Edited Sun Mar 27 2005, 10:52PM ]</span>


Reserve Grader
8 hmmmmmmmmmmmm............

G Stewart, Hicks, King, Alberts, Hill, Lennon, Mullane.........

Unless we recently signed Gasnier I can't find this other injured player?
<span class='smallblacktext'>[ Edited Mon Mar 28 2005, 12:15AM ]</span>


First Grader
About.........couldn't be bothered researching. Would you agree 7 is a significant number? :blaugh: :blaugh: :blaugh:


Cliffy Lyons told me he will be right next week after overcoming his midlife crisis hes ready to play.


Journey Man
\"Every forward was outstanding in an outstanding performance of forward play\"

Thanks Rex.

Nevertheless, a great win on the back of great defence.

George Carmont played ok without signalling that the messiah has arrived.
LOL! That's the price to be paid for having the match report within ten minutes of the final whistle.

Noone realises the sacrifices made to write the report as the game is happening. :boho:


\"Every forward was outstanding in an outstanding performance of forward play\"

Thanks Rex.

Nevertheless, a great win on the back of great defence.

George Carmont played ok without signalling that the messiah has arrived.

You do a great job.
I couldn't resist paying homage to Rex, the Don Chipp of Football Club members.

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Team P W L PD Pts
24 18 6 333 42
24 18 6 214 42
24 16 8 168 38
24 16 8 124 38
24 14 9 175 35
24 14 10 122 34
24 13 11 -24 32
24 13 11 -137 32
24 12 12 59 30
24 12 12 13 30
24 12 12 4 30
24 11 12 6 29
24 9 15 -111 24
24 9 15 -126 24
24 7 17 -331 20
24 5 19 -199 16
24 4 20 -290 14
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