THE Sea Eagles are prepared for a Kiwi ambush in their opening NRL game against a pumped up Warriors outfit on Sunday.Geoff Toovey’s side could not have faced a bigger challenge as they kick off their 2012 NRL premiership defence than they will on this trip into enemy territory across the Tasman.
Brett Stewart talks tactics with assistant coach Matt Parish on
Wednesday at Narrabeen. Photo: Simon Cocksedge
When Manly run on to Eden Park in Auckland they will confront a belligerent home crowd of 40,000 and an opposition still smarting after being beaten comprehensively by Manly in last year’s grand final.
“We know they will come with everything,” said Sea Eagles five-eighth Kieran Foran.
“They will want revenge on that grand final. Who wouldn’t? And they will be just the team to do it.
“The crowd is going to be hostile, they are all going to get behind the Kiwi boys, that just comes with the territory and we just have to be ready for it.”
Coach Toovey said after having just played against Leeds in front of a noisy crowd at Headingley during the World Club Challenge, the players should be used to that.
Sea Eagles co-captain Jamie Lyon is also well aware of what is in store for his team.
“It’s always tough games over there against the Warriors. They are a big, physical team and the fans really get behind them,” Lyon said.
But the Sea Eagles are not daunted by the situation as they have been in similar positions so often before, with Foran adding the team were “just focused on our job and what we need to do come Sunday”.
If anything, he said the intensity had gone up in preparations for the season following the departure of former coach Des Hasler.
“Pre-season training was hard if not harder ... and everyone is still very much on the ball,” Foran said.
“We are very much the same side as we were last year.”
Lyon said the Sea Eagles wanted to play a similar style in 2012, with Toovey putting his spin on things.
“It worked for us last year and we have the majority of players still here,” he said.