Stuart targets Fortress Brookvale Andrew Bryan NRL http://nrl.com/News/Latest/tabid/10244/default.aspx?id=50064 The Cronulla Sharks are determined to break a Brookvale Oval hoodoo when they tackle the Sea Eagles tomorrow night. The Sharks have won just five of their 32 matches at Brookvale Oval and face a tough test against last seasonÃ¢Â€Â™s grand finalists, who only lost one game at home in 2007. Ã¢Â€ÂœThere is no bigger challenge than playing Manly in Manly on a Saturday night,Ã¢Â€Â Sharks coach Ricky Stuart said. Ã¢Â€ÂœItÃ¢Â€Â™s a huge challenge game one, but itÃ¢Â€Â™s a good measurement, itÃ¢Â€Â™s a good guide for us to see where we are at at the moment.Ã¢Â€Â The Sharks are desperate to play finals footy this season after a frustrating 2007 in which they lost nine games by a margin of four points or less Ã¢Â€Â“ and missed the finals by just two points. Ã¢Â€ÂœWe hope we have leaned from the close games last year,Ã¢Â€Â Stuart said. Ã¢Â€ÂœBut we wonÃ¢Â€Â™t know until our next one, I guess. Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™ve spoken and trained around specific scenarios and IÃ¢Â€Â™m hoping when we get into a tight situation there will be better decision making and hopefully a different result. Ã¢Â€ÂœWe know we canÃ¢Â€Â™t go out and win every tight game, itÃ¢Â€Â™s just a matter of keeping ourselves in a position to win games and if we get into a tight situation hopefully we will handle it better than we did last year. Ã¢Â€ÂœAs a team weÃ¢Â€Â™ve grown a lot since last season. Ã¢Â€ÂœI feel that the core of our team is our youth and I really feel those younger players have matured from the experience of last year. Ã¢Â€ÂœOur experienced players such as Brett Kimmorley and Luke Covell really need the younger players to step up and take some responsibility.Ã¢Â€Â Cronulla to test Manly's mental resilience Greg Prichard | March 15, 2008 http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/cronu...5472086378.html THE mental scarring from Manly's grand-final loss to Melbourne last year was evident in the faces of their players as soon as they hit the dressing sheds. The vacant looks betrayed the struggle they were waging to come to terms with the comprehensive 34-8 defeat. But just how long the effects of that night in September will linger won't be known until they have played a few times - starting with tonight's game against Cronulla at Brookvale Oval. Manly could tell themselves that the Storm were the dominant force in the competition last year and would have completed the job regardless of the opposition. But that's hollow consolation. After the grand final there was still plenty of work to be done. The good news is, though, that the Sea Eagles have now dealt with the demons, according to coach Des Hasler. "We did it ages ago," he said yesterday. "It was pre-Christmas. I told the players they couldn't afford to dwell on it and that they shouldn't treat this season as an opportunity for revenge on what happened in 2007. "That would be an unhealthy thing, because then you would always be going back to what happened last season in your mind. What you've got to do in these situations is learn from what happened and move forward. This is a new season." Hasler said most of the players in his team were either close to reaching, or had passed in recent seasons, the milestone of 100 first-grade games - making them better equipped to cope with the ups and downs of professional football. "They've got the experience," Hasler said. "And the way the comp is now, so [evenly matched], you've got to have that ability to handle things. You've got to be at your best every week and that was one of the factors that stood us in good stead last season. "We were pretty consistent. But I think the competition is going to be tighter this year. I think more sides are going to improve than go backwards. So we're going to need that consistency even more. "It didn't work out for us in the grand final, but I know the guys are good enough to bounce back. They've prepared really well for this season and reached the point where they're sick of rehearsing - they want to get out there and play well." Hasler is looking forward to tonight's game not just as a coach, but also as a lover of the game. Manly have a dynamic attack that can blow opponents away, but Hasler retains his love of a hard, physical contest. That reflects his time as a player, when he was as renowned for his toughness and durability as he was for his skill. And he reckons tonight's game against a Sharks outfit that will be well drilled by Ricky Stuart is going to rock Brookie. "It's going to be a tough, tight game," Hasler said. "Cronulla have got a strong defence and that puts a team in with a chance in any game. We've got a healthy respect for them. "They're big up front, with guys like [Ben] Ross, and they're dangerous on the edges, through [Paul] Gallen and [Greg] Bird. And [Isaac] De Gois is very handy out of dummy half. "They're playing us this week and Melbourne next week - last year's grand finalists in the first two rounds. It's not going to be hard for them to get motivated." Kimmorley tips Lyon as the sleeping giant By Steve Mascord | March 15, 2008 http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/spor...5006066,00.html CRONULLA halfback Brett Kimmorley last night predicted Manly's Jamie Lyon would become as dangerous at five-eighth this season as Clive Churchill medallist Greg Inglis. But as the Sea Eagles and Sharks prepared to kick off their seasons this evening at Brookvale Oval, Kimmorley also suggested the Sea Eagles' selection of so many big forwards tonight was a gamble, given changes to the interchange rule. The departure of Travis Burns to North Queensland means Lyon's shift to pivot will be permanent in 2008. "I don't think it's a case of Jamie having to step up - he's an outstanding centre," said Kimmorley, who missed most of last season through injury. "You pick your best players and then find places for them - Greg Inglis is a great running player and I reckon Jamie will be similar at five-eighth, rather than being an organiser. "With Melbourne, you look to Billy Slater to be on the end of most of their plays, with Inglis also doing a lot, and I think Manly will be the same, with Brett Stewart and Jamie." Kimmorley, who has been replaced as captain by Paul Gallen in 2008, said his men were bracing themselves for a brutal physical onslaught based on the squad named by Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler. "They had a great season last year and this year they are bigger," he said. "They've got Josh Perry in there and they've named a lot of props. "With the new interchange rule, I don't know if that might hamper them. It will take a few weeks for that to sort itself out." Teams have two fewer interchanges in 2008. Kimmorley said he was "nervous and scared" before his first trial. "After eight months out I just wanted to get through the game," he said. "Now I'm not worried about getting injured. I am not involved in the decision-making any more so I only have to worry about myself rather than 17 blokes. "I'm looking at being a bit more selfish, running a bit more rather than always passing, and working on my support game." Sharks coach Ricky Stuart is yet to finalise his bench but there was good news yesterday when lock Greg Bird (hamstring) completed training and was cleared to play. Manly officials have played down the possibility of any changes to Hasler's start- ing team. With utility Luke Williamson linked to British clubs once more, chief executive Grant Mayer said: "We have an agreement with Luke's management that if an opportunity comes up overseas, we will listen to anything they have to say. "But at the moment, Willo and the club are focused on him being here for the next two years." Meanwhile, Mayer revealed an announcement on funding for improvements at Brookvale was imminent. The Sea Eagles believe they have been poorly treated, particularly by the Federal Government, when it comes to grants. "I think if you keep your ear to the ground over the next month, there will be some good news on Brookvale," Mayer said. "Our relationship with the council has never been better and Premier Iemma has also been very supportive." BIRD A CERTAIN STARTER FOR GAME AGAINST THE EAGLES 14.03.08 15:14 Age: http://www.sharks.com.au/index.php?id=435&tx_ttnews Sharks international five eighth Greg Bird has come through the Sharks final training session with flying colours, dispelling rumours of a hamstring problem and the possibility that he may not play in the round one match against the Sea Eagles. Bird completed the full session on Friday morning ahead of the Manly clash and is a certain starter in the lock forward position, with Brett Seymour, who has been impressive in the trials, to run out in the number six jersey at five eighth. "They are all fit to play, we are as per the program, which is a good thing," Stuart said. "Manly at Manly with a packed house at Brookvale is a game that players and coaches look forward to and Saturday will be one of those occasions." Stuart however has delayed naming his final four-man interchange bench, with one of Adam Peek, Bryan Norrie, Fraser Anderson, Kevin Kingston or Jacob Selmes to be sent to Kogarah Oval, rather than Brookvale, to play for the Cronulla Cobras in their first round match against the Newtown Jets. The Sharks will travel to ManlyÃ¢Â€Â™s home ground trying to win back the Steve Rogers Trophy, with their opponents the current holders after beating the Sharks late in the 2007 season at Toyota Stadium. The Steve Rogers trophy was instigated after the sudden death of the Sharks club legend and CEO in early 2006 and recognises the keen rivalry between the two seaside clubs. Manly in fact won both encounters between the two teams last season and coupled with the fact that they were able to play their way through to the 2007 Grand Final, will see them start Saturday nights match as warm favourites. After an encouraging off-season however and with no injury concerns amongst their side to play this weekend, the Sharks will travel north of the harbour quietly confident of performing strongly causing an upset. The bookies have the Sharks getting 8 Ã‚Â½ points start, with Manly most recently quoted at $1.35 and the Sharks at $3.00. The referee for the game will be Jarred Maxwell, with Fox Sports to televise the match live. The Sharks v Manly match in the NRL kicks off at Brookvale Oval at 7.30pm. It will be preceded by the NYC Toyota Cup clash, again matching the Sharks and Sea Eagles, while the NSW Cup match is set down to the played at Kogarah Oval. The Cronulla Cobras, the club affiliated with the Sharks in 2008 in the NSW Cup (formerly the Premier League) competition, play the Newtown Jets at Oki Jubilee Oval, with that match getting underway at 4.30pm.