Monnas wants to be hooker

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LAST year's Manly captain Michael Monaghan is ready to turn himself into a Danny Buderus-style hooker and says he's looking forward to playing with star recruit Matt Orford.

Monaghan has muscled up significantly since the end of the 2005 season in a bid to secure a place in Manly's starting side – not at halfback, but at hooker or five-eighth.

Monaghan yesterday moved to end speculation he wouldn't be able to work with the man who will replace him in the Manly No. 7 jumper.

"I've got no problems with Matt Orford, or any other players," said Monaghan.

"I wanted to get back to training and earn a spot.

"There was talk there'd be trouble, that I wouldn't be happy playing here with Matt.

"So I wanted to get to training and prove it's wrong.

"I didn't expect to be guaranteed any spot."

Monaghan says he's excited about the prospect of playing hooker or five-eighth this year with Orford calling the shots at half.

"In all honesty, I think hooker could suit me better than halfback," said Monaghan.

"I'm looking forward to playing there. While I've always been a halfback, I played a bit of grade at hooker at Canberra.

"I was pretty reluctant to play hooker back then but the way hookers play now, it suits me a bit more.

"The way Danny Buderus plays – you're not just staying at dummy half passing the ball any more. I'm a bit more excited about it.

"At the start of training I was probably real keen on playing six. But having done a fair bit of work at hooker, I'm leaning towards nine.

"I think it suits me more at the moment."

Monaghan will face tough competition from the experienced Shayne Dunley for the hooker's jumper and from Michael Witt and youngster Travis Burns for the No. 6 spot.

The 25-year-old, who was only re-signed by the Sea Eagles for 2006 after the interjection of club owner Max Delmege, played at 83kg during the 2005 season but weighed in at 90kg just before Christmas.

"It's the first year I've really got into the gym fairly hard," he said. "I've had shoulder injuries over the last few years so I haven't been able to do much in the pre-season.

"I've been working really hard in the gym and taking the products and the supplements.

"It wasn't so much about putting on weight, it was putting a bit of size on, a bit of bulk, a bit of muscle. At hooker, you need to defend a lot more.

"If you're making 30 or 40 tackles you need a bit more size.

"Hooker's a pretty tough position. There's a lot more defending to do than 80 minutes at halfback.

"I knew whichever position I'd play this season I would need extra size."

Monaghan is now bench-pressing an impressive 125kg.

"Last year I could hardly bench-press 80," Monaghan said. "My strength is a lot better now. Not having any injuries helps as well."

Sorry I don't know how to put his picture in the post.
 

Berkeley_Eagle

Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan
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he looks happy
 

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