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Ox up for Test

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by ManlyBacker, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

    +972 /7
    Orford to the test

    Jason Avedissian MD

    MANLY half Matt Orford will be playing for a Test jumper over the coming month of NRL finals with a host of No 7s unavailable.

    With Cowboys captain and dual Dally M winner Johnathan Thurston set to have shoulder surgery following the finals and Brett Kimmorley and Scott Prince not featuring in the finals, Orford is a strong contender.

    ``There's a great opportunity for Matt to show that he's up to it by performing well over the next month,'' ex-Manly and Kangaroo half John Gibbs said yesterday.

    ``Last impressions are the best impressions and if you are there when it counts and going well, you are giving yourself every opportunity and I'm sure he can do that.''

    Gibbs said with both Prince and Kimmorley ``out of sight and out of mind'', the number seven jumper is likely to be a two-way tangle between Orford and Melbourne's Cooper Cronk.

    ``What would be perfect would be a Melbourne and Manly grand final,'' Gibbs said.

    ``It would be great to see those guys go head-to-head.''

    The Sea Eagles are hoping the likes of Jamie Lyon, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough and Brett Stewart will be in contention for Australian jerseys should Manly go deep into the finals.

    But it all starts tonight with the Rabbitohs at Brookvale Oval.

    ``It's crunch time now and we want to get a win,'' Lyon said. ``It's probably going to be wet, probably going to be won up the middle but they're (Souths) going to be a tough team to beat no matter what. ``I hope I get plenty of ball and get a few chances out wide.''

    Manly coach Des Hasler will settle on his final 17-man squad today with reserves Travis Burns, Vic Mauro and Michael Bani tipped to drop off the bench.

    Prop Brent Kite trained last night at Brookvale Oval with a decision on his fitness to be made this morning.

    The Sea Eagles prop is unlikely to play. Manly trained strongly last night with the players eager to secure a first-up finals victory after bombing out last year.

    ``This season has been a great journey for all of us but we haven't achieved anything yet,'' Orford said. The action kicks-off at 8.30pm tonight.

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