With the MM saga hopefully resolved this is my report from Friday night. (Sorry for the length of it) ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ The wife and I headed out to a Manly Friday night game for the first time in 7 years. We had parked the car in town and got out to the ground very quickly after work. The burglars in the car park took us for $15 and as we got out of the car there were plenty of Maroon & White faithful parking around us. I had a good feeling about the level of support we would get. After all, this was our 2nd home ground in the 90’s. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ The crowd built up late as you would expect and out of the 19,700 I reckon there were 5,000 Eagles supporters. The noise made when the team ran out, when Watmough scored and when Stephenson scored and at fulltime was HUUGE. The look on the chook supporters faces after the crowd reacted to Choc scoring was priceless. There were good clumps of Manly fans in different parts of the ground and as heard on TV they made a lot of noise. One of the reasons that it was pretty dead at Brookie last week (apart from our average first 50 mins) was that there were only a few hundred Penrith fans. Animosity and rivalry spur you into voice better than anything. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ There was one Manly dude in a grey beanie who walked up and down the concourse (side opposite players tunnel) waving a flag from about 6:30 onwards. He wound up the Easts supporters beautifully and rallied the Eagles supporters. The whole time he had a cheeky grin on his face. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Kennedy was my man of the match. Along with Kite he really stood up. In the second 20 minutes of the match (King & Kite off the field) and with Easts getting a roll on it was Kennedy that was leading the way in defence. One time when Morley charged back from a drop out BK sprinted straight at him as hard as he could. Leadership personified. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Hicks form is a worry in recent weeks. We need to get more out of him. Opposition teams seem to have worked out his sideways run and palm off at the moment. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ At the game, Mona’s two poor kicks stuck in my mind but after going home and watching the replay I realised just how good his kicking game was. Good length and very rarely straight to the man. In the heavy conditions (which weren’t evident to me at the game) his kicking was a key to our victory. Defence in our own quarter was the other key ingredient. Regarding his chip, someone raced out at him and he didn’t have time to put a big one in and went for the wrong choice under pressure. A sidestep and kick probably would have been better. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Another medium term goal to our return to the top was completed with this win – a Friday night win against good opposition. The first 20 minutes were very intense and fast. I’ve watched other matches this season and thought we are well off the top echelon in terms of a quick game but those first 20 showed we can compete at that level. The game itself was a slugfest so our defence didn’t get the run around as much as it would have on a dry track. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Easts are still the benchmark for getting “up and back” in defence. So many times on Friday I was calling for a quick play the ball when we had made some metres only to find that Easts were already back with the ref. Manly was often taking the last couple of steps back as Easts were already playing the ball. I reckon Easts were still moving up early plenty of times but because they do it in one line (besides dickhead Cross) they seem to have the touchies hoodwinked. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ I was in line with the forward pass try and after watching the replay I can’t believe the amount of crap spoken about this over the weekend. Roberts tossed the last pass up from at least a metre out from the line and Monaghan caught it on the try line. It only went one metre sideways so it couldn’t have “floated” forward as one Easts bozo stated on radio on Sat. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ After dribbling **** all game, one wanker behind us said at the end “you’d think they’d won the grand final!”. After where we have come from it felt a bit like we had. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ The Manly faithful were amazing after the game. In the stadium, outside the SFS, in the carpark, in the traffic – there was chanting, singing and best of all, SMILING, going on for the next hour. On Saturday I was driving up Warringah Rd and a Commodore was next to us with a Manly sticker on the back window. The driver had a Manly shirt on and I yelled out to him. We pumped our fists. The brotherhood is back in business! ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Despite all the comments about away & night form, we are now 3 out of 6 away from home. With a good home record I’ll cop a 50% away record any day. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ The most pleasing thing for me is that the boys have plenty of improvement left in them across many aspects of their game (both as a team and individuals). Despite this, Manly is coming clear second. It’s a good position to be in. We are two points behind Brisbane whom everyone agrees is playing great footy. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Our next 5 games are against the bottom five teams (currently). This is where we should be pushing for a top four berth. ÃƒÂ¯Ã¢Â€ÂšÃ‚Â§ Let’s get out to the SFS again next week and out number the ferals.