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Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    SEASON REVIEW - Sea Eagles
    Regular Season

    WINS: 17

    LOSSES: 7

    POSITION: 2nd

    HOME RECORD: 12 wins, 3 losses (=2nd)

    AWAY RECORD: 8 wins, 4 losses (=1st)

    After Finals

    FINALS RECORD: 3-0 (Won 38-6 v Dragons; Won 32-6 v Warriors, Won 40-0 v Storm to finish premiers)

    BEST WINNING STREAK: 7 (rounds 12-19)

    LONGEST LOSING STREAK: 2 (rounds 1-2)

    PLAYERS USED: 27 (1 debutant)

    PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Glenn Stewart

    TRIES SCORED (After 26 rounds): 118 (1st)

    TRIES CONCEDED (After 26 rounds): 50 (2nd)

    IT was a dream season for the boys from the northern beaches, with Des Hasler’s men claiming rugby league’s top prize for the first time since 1996.

    The 2008 premiers started the season in inauspicious fashion, losing their first two games and copping a lot of heat from fans and the media for their treatment of former captain Micheal Monaghan – who they released at the end of 2007 to play for English club Warrington.

    However as the season developed, and combinations grew, Manly’s credentials started to strengthen – although it was hard to tell, with a prickly Hasler consistently managing to keep his team flying “under the radar” right up until the grand final.

    Teams these days cannot win the competition without their fair share of good fortune – and Manly received that in spades… a dream injury run throughout the year (the Sea Eagles used just 27 players in 2008, less than all but three clubs in the NRL) meant that the players were fresh and firing in the games that counted.

    Where They Excelled…
    In the finals. Consistent throughout the year, Manly really came to the fore once September rolled around, and the greatest credit should go to coach Hasler for timing the Sea Eagles’ run to perfection. Ending the finals series as premiers, with a points-for-and-against of 108 to just 12 across their three finals matches, Manly dominated in finals footy this year. On the field Manly held the upper hand in almost all of the major statistical markers – they made more metres, scored more tries, had more try assists, more line-breaks…they even had the most one-on-one strips!

    Where They Struggled… The Sea Eagles conceded more penalties (179) than any team other than Melbourne, but other than that it is hard to find weakness in a team that lost just seven games all year and won the grand final by a record margin. That said, Manly’s slow start (they lost their opening two matches) to the Centenary Season indicated they were going to struggle to replace Michael Monaghan. Now as premiers they will start to feel the pinch as the salary cap starts to do some damage. The real struggle will come in the next 12 months as several stars come off contract and CEO Grant Mayer attempts to keep as much of the premiership-winning group intact as possible.

    Missing In Action… After a promising start to the year, Michael Bani fell off the radar quickly. Injured in round six, Bani never returned to first grade – instead picking up various injuries including a potentially life-threatening blood clot and a shoulder ailment, and spent the rest of his time in the NSW Cup. In his absence David Williams shot to superstardom. Bani’s year was certainly one he’ll be keen to put behind him.

    Turning Point… The loss to South Sydney in round 23. It was a match which shamed Manly’s oft-praised defence (the Rabbitohs scored 40 points) and kicked them into gear before the finals series. Des Hasler tore strips off his men post-match, where he reinforced the message that they had a premiership-winning squad – but only if they worked hard and applied themselves. Manly didn’t lose another game and their defence wouldn’t concede more than 16 points – total – for the rest of the year!

    Best Games… For starters it is hard to go past the grand final. A polished 80-minute performance where Manly didn’t let up and the footballing planets aligned allowing every pass to stick, every kick to land where they wanted and ensured every tackle hurt. Other notable victories would include the round 18 thrashing of Cronulla plus both victories over Parramatta. The Cronulla clash was billed as a top-of-the-table blockbuster, but a flawless first half from Manly ended any hope of a real contest, with the Sea Eagles running out 34-6 victors. Both of Manly’s 2008 victories over the Eels were special because injuries mid-game forced the lesser lights into action. In round six they finished the game with nobody on the bench, while later in the year Matt Orford was ruled out before kick-off and Jamie Lyon lasted less than 20 minutes before their team-mates dug deep for a stirring win.

    Worst Games… After a slow start to the year, where they lost back-to-back games against Cronulla and then Newcastle, Manly looked decidedly shaky. They produced their worst game of the year a few weeks later when they were comprehensively thrashed 26-4 at Olympic Park in the grand final rematch – a game which strengthened Melbourne’s mental stranglehold on the Sea Eagles. The meek performance against South Sydney in round 23 was also very much a lacklustre effort, but if Paul Keating, rather than Des Hasler, had been Manly’s coach at the time he would have explained it as the loss Manly had to have!

    Hold Your Head High…
    Steve Menzies. A stellar career ended in the ideal fashion when the veteran scored a try in Manly’s record-breaking grand final win over Melbourne. It was a fairytale moment that drew a smile from even the odd neutral fan at ANZ Stadium – even if Manly is the club you’re meant to hate, ‘the Beaver’ usually managed to sidestep the hatred as if he was brushing through flimsy defences on his way to the try line.

    Conclusion… A resounding A+ result of a year for the team from Sydney’s northern peninsula. Five years ago it appeared unlikely that Manly would even have a team in the NRL by the end of the decade, let alone have added a seventh premiership win to the club’s history, but Des Hasler and his band of hard-working men certainly enjoyed proving their critics wrong. History shows that going “back-to-back” is incredibly difficult (no team has done it since Brisbane in 1992/93), but Hasler’s renowned work ethic ensures that Manly will give it a crack.

    Stats: NRL Stats
  2. Zep

    Zep Active Member

    +8 /0
    wow we were red hot in those final games, just 16 points

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