Operation bellringer

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ZORBA
29jul06

STEVE Bell has no worries about what Parramatta throw at him in tonight's sell out grudge match at Parramatta Stadium, with the try-scoring whiz being smashed by teammates at training over the past few days.

The Manly centre star hasn't played since Eagles teammate Steve Menzies collided head first with Bell's face in the State of Origin match in Brisbane seven weeks ago.

Bell has three steel plates and 17 screws inserted in the side of his face during a delicate operation but says he is ready to return to football.

"The boys have lined up to give it to me this week at training - I started with Matty Orford and worked my way up to the big boppers like Brent Kite and George Rose so I'm confident I'm ready to return," Bell said.

Bell had scored 11 tries in as many matches for Manly in a brilliant start to his career at the club before being injured in his first Origin series.

"It has been difficult watching the team play and being unable to get out on the field with them but I'm ready to go now and eager to play my part in the push to the finals and beyond," he said.

"The team spirit is strong and I was impressed by how they refused to stop fighting back against a quality side like Penrith last week.

"They are the type of wins that only a side going places can produce."

And while Manly are wary of Parramatta, Bell and his teammates are more concerned at continuing the Eagles' current winning streak.

"If we can win this one and go into the bye next week in fourth spot we will be in a great position in the run in to the finals," Bell said.

* * *

WHAT price a Dally M medal for Manly skipper Ben Kennedy?

Kennedy's amazing season has continued every week of the premiership and his stature in the game has installed him in the eyes of many as the game's number one forward.

Manly supporters who watch BK each week certainly agree and so to do the statistics.

How's this for a man who sleeps with bags of ice around both knees after every match:

* Most hit ups after 20 rounds of any player in the NRL;

* Top running metres of any player in the NRL - 2666 at an average of 157m per match; and

* Most offloads after 20 rounds of any player in the NRL with 51.

* * *

NEXT week's announcement of the Sea Eagles' greatest side in the 60 year history of the club is a sellout with more than 450 attending a gala black tie function at Manly Leagues Club.

And as a result of interest in the announcement of the team, the leagues club has arranged for the entire evening to be shown on television screens throughout the club for members of the football club, leagues club members and supporters.

Supporters are encouraged to wear team colours and attend the evening which is being sponsored by Arctic Spas of Brookvale who have donated a $15,000 spa to auction at the evening.

Former star halfback John Gibbs will auction off the spa and also two one off items.

A jersey signed by 12 of Manly's great captains including the first and last captains - Max Whitehead and Ben Kennedy - will attract lots of interest.

So too will a jersey signed by members of the 60 year team.

The glass for the jersey will be inserted after the living members of the team sign the jersey next Saturday night.

A highlight of the auction will be the bidding for Ben Kennedy's last Test jersey which features his signature and the signature of his good mate Andrew Johns (who also played his last Test in the game against the Kiwis on Friday, May 5 at Suncorp Stadium).

The jersey is framed with a photo of Kennedy, Johns and the Australian team.

It is unique in that it has a perspex window at the back which shows Kennedy's gold No 13.

All proceeds from the jersey will go towards the team fund to buy a bus for the special needs children at the Arranoundbi School at Frenchs Forest. Macquarie Bank will match what the players raise dollar for dollar up to $50,000.
 
Team P W L PD Pts
11 9 2 82 20
11 8 3 112 18
11 8 3 75 18
10 7 3 69 16
12 7 5 135 14
11 7 4 59 14
11 6 5 -9 14
11 6 5 -38 14
12 6 5 36 13
11 5 6 47 12
12 6 6 2 12
11 5 6 -88 12
11 4 6 -7 9
11 3 8 -119 8
10 2 8 -91 6
11 2 9 -95 6
11 2 9 -170 6
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