http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/a-teams-ability-to-steal-momentum-vital-in-the-biggest-games-come-september/story-fni3fh9n-1227048098526 A team’s ability to steal momentum vital in the biggest games come September STEVE MENZIES THE DAILY TELEGRAPH SEPTEMBER 05, 2014 Geoff Toovey could get it for you. Ben Kennedy too. And in recent years, none have been better than Brett Stewart or Jamie Lyon. I’m talking about stealing momentum in big games. That innate ability to not only swing a final in your team’s favour, but keep it. Nothing matters more in September. It’s why, in the past seven years, Manly has made four grand finals. Won two. And why, despite people currently saying they look a tired team, the Sea Eagles will again lift when the playoffs roll around. Why? Because Manly are a club that know how to play finals footy. Yes, every side has its big game players. But with the Sea Eagles, you have an outfit that understands not only September footy, but how to earn yourself the momentum that wins it. It was proved yet again against Penrith last Sunday. When with the game seemingly gone, Jamie Lyon scored one and then, incredibly, set up the match-winner ... back from the dead when no one thought it possible. It was the same deal in the grand final qualifier against Souths last year, when trailing by 14 points early on they fought back to win. At this time of year, finals experience matters. And as a club, there is none with more than Manly. Lyon, Stewart, Steve Matai. Jason King, Choc Watmough and the quality halves of Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans. Better, they have been taught by those who went before them. Schooled by players like Tooves and, more recently, Ben Kennedy — who, I can tell you, would be screaming obscenities on the field as those mad eyes rolled back inside his head. It was a worrying sight, sure. But you were left in no doubt what was required to win. And the more times you have experienced this, the greater your arsenal on return. I know because I’ve been on the other end ... twice! The most recent was 2007. While I was a NRL veteran by that stage, most of the guys in our Manly side had never played a grand final and we lost to Melbourne. The next year, we returned — and won 40-nil. It was a similar story in 1995, in the decider against Canterbury. While we were new to the October finale, the Dogs had not only been there the year before — losing to Canberra — but won themselves a minor premiership the winter before that. They were a team used to big games — and they thumped us 17-4. That whole week had seemed weird to me. The media days and grand final breakfasts. The promises to treat it like just another game when clearly it wasn’t. All I can really remember of that game is kicking off — and losing. And that the next year, we came back and won. Which isn’t to say this is always how it goes. But in finals football, nothing beats experience. Or momentum. And when you have that first one, you know how to go get yourself the second.