Observations from the Outer

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What a great feeling on Sunday. Up until '98 we were complacent with our team's strength and success. We are now going to appreciate the good times a lot more after the nightmare of the last seven years.

Perched on the benches (in front of the hill) on the 30 metre line, these were some of my observations from Sunday.

* When Dunley was pinged for a forward pass to Hecks just after we went ahead 24-18, some of the players heads went down. As BK1 walked over to the scrum he screamed "Hey, get your heads up". It was perfect given the fact that we were leading and (imo) controlling the match. You can hear it on the TV coverage but his back is to the camera so you need to know it's coming.
* After the match as the players were saluting the crowd I took particular notice of BK1 and the genuine excitement he was showing as he smiled, pumped his fist and cheered the crowd. Although I admired his passion when he was with other clubs I hated it coming from an opposition player. This guy knows how to get the players and crowd feeding off each other.
* There was a break during the game (don't remember the time or score). The team was huddled in front of us and Tooves was running over with water/instructions. I thought, "good, he can give them a rev up". My eyes then moved to the pack and lo and behold, Monas was already doing it, waving his hand and laying down the law. Made me smile.
* Every time I watch Monas I think he's more like Tooves. At least once in each game he has taken a barging forward head on, lifted him up and driven him back. He tackles like a demon, he is tough, he is captain at a young age and in interviews he always comes across very serious. All business. Now if only he had that electrifying speed over the first 30 metres.
* Seeing BK1 live at the game you get a better picture of how much "cleaning up" he does along the defensive line. We now have two Beavers in that facet of the game which is a big bonus. It sounds like I must be related to Ben, but no, I did have one gripe with him. For the first try I thought he was ball watching a bit instead of following the play. Although Choc couldn't wrestle Bell down, I think BK could have assisted if he had moved earlier.
* For a little bloke, Michael Witt's tackling has been a revalation and we shouldn't under estimate his contribution to the good defensive start. Some of Walker's attempts last year made me physically ill.
* Watching the replay I was amazed at Hecks effort in the last 15 minutes. It was bloody hot and he's not the slimmest fella but he kept hurling himself at the runners and ploughing it up.
* Prior to the game and after watching some premier league I didn't think that Matai was up to it yet. I was wrong. The bloke went looking for the ball from the first minute and sometimes took two hitups in a set. He defended strongly and I can't recall an error.
* The stands seem fuller this year, particularly the Kenny Arthurson stand. For day games this is really adding to the atmosphere generated right around the ground. I felt sure that we had cracked 16,000 on Sunday and was a little disappointed when they announced 15,400. Once we start playing teams with a few travelling supporters (Sharks are a disgrace) we might give 18-20k a nudge.
* The consistency of the 80 minute effort in the first 3 rounds is amazing after recent years. Strong foundations have been laid by the attitude change in defense. I have no doubt that the attack will start flowing as time goes by. We have averaged 32 points a game without even "clicking" in attack as yet. I look forward to seeing a deep backline with Duck, Hicks and Stewie on the end of it.

At full time I turned to my wife and said "we're back!" There is still a long way to go but judging by the comments of others we all feel that a corner has been turned. That is the first time in years that expectations were met in front of a large crowd and it wasn't devalued by a depleted or poor playing opposition.

Soak it up this week guys. God knows, we deserve a smile or two! :D
Top write up Bradza. We many reasons to be excited by our prospects in 2005. It was a great day.
Great post Bradza. Sensational analysis and I agree with it all.

BK and Witt are great additions to the team. Witt's defence is sensational and is having a big impact. His attack will get better as he adjusts to 5/8.

Mattai was good, though I think he has a way to go. He has to learn to give his winger space. His work ethic was good though and his defensive work with Creary was great, especially as the Storm targetted them. No more turnstiles in the backline.

i was like you at the w/e and said to my kids - We have a team to support this year.

I reckon you are right about the stands being fuller. It felt more like 18k on the weekend!!!
Good work mate.

there just a vibe at the moment.

The bye will do us good to settle a bit i think
Great stuff Bradza. You picked up on all the top happenings out there.

They really have carved into the main members stand with the corporate boxes. Brookie is going to be very uncomfortable when they start getting to 20,000. I was there the day we had 27,655 against Parra in 1986 and I don't think the place could handle that today. Hope I am wrong.
Excellent write-up Bradza. It's good to see everyone else getting in on the act.

Manly fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to articles, reports etc!

Well done.
Team P W L PD Pts
6 5 1 59 12
6 5 1 20 12
6 4 2 53 10
6 4 2 30 10
7 4 2 25 9
7 4 3 40 8
7 4 3 24 8
7 4 3 -8 8
7 4 3 -18 8
7 3 3 20 7
7 3 4 31 6
7 3 4 17 6
6 2 4 -31 6
7 3 4 -41 6
7 2 5 -29 4
6 1 5 -102 4
6 0 6 -90 2
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