In 2005, the Tigers taught the world that talent alone was not enough to win a title. They were also the best of mates that year. Better, closer, tighter mates than any other team. They played together, ate together, drank together, socialised together and basically did everything else together. So it should be no surprise to any of us that in recent years, their decline as a contender has also coincided with their decline in team morale. The strong bonds within any team are arguably their greatest asset, and competitive edge, during the semi final series. Only fools would doubt that Manly stole the mantle from the tigers ever since 2006. Our success since then, winning more games legitimately than any other team, is evidence enough of the mateship within our team. Only fools would question the strong bonds forged amongst our seasoned players up until this year. The fourth estate has been in a frenzied state even before the season started. Innuendo, sensationalist diatribe, often proven to be false, lacking any journalistic integrity. Not that any of us care, but nothing short an envious, hate driven agenda to eat away at what our players value most; the mateship that they have built and want to retain. I forgive all of our players for things they have said this year. Think of it this way; the hurt they have shown at losing one of their team mates is a sign they hurt more than other teams when they face that reality. The media, in general, are almost gagging to death over anything our players may say at the next interview. I choose to believe that our senior players are having a bit of fun with the media. I choose to believe that the pacts made as mates, remain intact. Make no mistake, Fridays game hinges on how true the mateship is within our team. On that basis, I think we will win. It would be nice if Channel 9 introduced the game as a test of Manly's mateship. Would be nice if Beaver, rather than Fittler, interviewed one of our players, prior to the game to get a true insight into the mateship within our team. Would be nice to see a video montage with Gould commenting, while he parades the stadium, how our very many big guns don't go missing in action when it counts. They do it for each other when it counts, one play after another. A final video clip, and I will never get tired of seeing it, could remind the world how the bunnies blew a 14-0 lead against us when it counted. This is a test of the mateship within our team. It has been questioned but I choose to believe we will rise once again in the face of adversity.