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Journey Man
I have to admit guys, I was very skeptical about our prospects in round one against the envigoratted New Zealand Warriors. I was worried about Hoppas speed & behaviour, I was worried about Hill's fitness & speed. I had been to The Albion Park trial, and the one thing I HAD noticed about our beloved side though, was a change in attitude & behaviour in and around defence. Terry Hill was also a very big suprise. 3 tries against The Dragons side bought shocking memories back to me from Hill!!!(I was an X Bears supporter guys :lol: )

New Zealand was a very tough match for Manly. It was NZ's first home game of the season, with their new international purchases, and they were as desperate as hell to get off on the right foot with Wiki & Price supposed to have been leading the way. But Manly had something to prove too, and right they did!

Hoppa & Hill put in a performance that could only be called fantastic, and made me eat humble pie in the face of my pre season skepticism. Kennedy & Kite led from the front, and for mine, Watmough has really improved, which, in my opinion, has a lot to do with one Benny Kennedy. He was actually named players player. Watmough for mine is the 1st of our "potential" young players that is really starting to realise that potential.

One real positive that came out of that game, is that The Warriors only "ran" a try over our try line once. Their display was termed dissapointing.

Then The Warriors met The Broncos on Saturday night, and belt them 24-12, which in my opinion, put The Manly Sea Eagles victory over them the week prior into perspective.

Comments subsequent to the game by the likes of Laury Daily was "If they can actually play like that all year, then they are a team heading for the top 8". This, from a professional that 2 weeks prior had us coming 14th.


Week two was about to begin for Manly, and we hear that Hill has taken the early guilty plea meaning he can still play, but we also hear that Kimmorley, Stevens & Nutley were out for The Sharks. I actually believed we had won the game before it had even begun!!! I hadn't felt this way in a long, time!!!!

Manly come out, with Randall at Hooker (a move I openley disagreed with), and we went about systematically dismantling the Cronulla Sharks at home, Brookvale, our fortress. Again, led by Watmough, Kite & Kennedy, backed up by an amazing display from our 1/2 back & captain (who scored 3 tries), we dominated our way to a resounding lead of 24-0. Then the Hoppa incisent occurred, and quite frankly, I think it rattled us a little, because for the 1st time all season, we conceded back to back tries (on Hoppas exposed wing!!!), but we stemmed the flow. Come second 1/2, I was quite worried as the lads ran out, but Dessy put our faith in Kennedy & Kite again, who had us steaming as a unit again, and led us unto what I used to have to cop as a Bears supporter coming to Brookvale on many occassions....a flogging by Manly. This has bought us to the second position outright on the NRL ladder, BUT we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.

For the past 7-8 years, we have been one of the easy beats of this competition. We have two great victories to start the season. We now have to look forward to Melbourne. Our biggest challenge to date. Personally, this is one of our most important game in years. The reason:-

It is all well & good to beat the fair sides. But, the Melbourne side is being classed as the best in the NRL right now, by ALL the professionals that call and adjudicate this game. We have won two games in a row, which has been rare in the past few years.

IF we beat Melbourne, it is REALLY going to make people stop, look & listen to The Manly club once again. Everyone is going to predict a Melbourne victory, but not me. Alex Chan may be out, and our confidence is high too. This is where we show we can be a dominant force again. This win would bring untold positivity to the club it hasn't seen in years. The fans will be packed to the rafters to see it. This is the game that could give one of our players SLIM hopes of playing State of Origin this year coming so soon. It's what lifes all about for a footballer right?

I hope Des is instilling this factor in his players. This win could be VERY good for the club on & off the park, and I feel it is one of the most important games will have had in many years.

I know it will be hard to tip against a rampaging Melbourne, but we CAN do it!!!


<span class='smallblacktext'>[ Edited ]</span>
If we beat a red hot storm, missing King, G Stewart, Hicks, Alberts, Hoppa, possibly Dunners and Hill, I'm pretty sure every man and his dog will take notice Ryan.

We lacked depth in the wing/centre ranks at the start of the year and already it is being tested with 2 injuries leading into the season and a possible banning, and another injury. Good news is........ Steppa has improved 10 fold. Bring on the Storm, if we can scrape through with a win at home or even a close loss going into the bye we will have loads of confidence for the rest of the year.
A good report Ryan. I do think two or three weeks is too early to make some judgements though. Don't forget the Cowboys lost 7 of the first 8 last year - and look what happened to them.

Signs are very good but Blunty makes some good comments about our centre depth.

Hicks and Alberts are badly needed!!
Good write up.

Our depth is tested but so would be any teams having lost 3 players. I think Mitch will do a fine job - his defence is his strong point and as we saw on the weekend monas can score enough tries himself - doesnt even need the wingers.
Team P W L PD Pts
6 5 1 59 12
6 5 1 20 12
6 4 2 53 10
6 4 2 30 10
7 4 2 25 9
7 4 3 40 8
7 4 3 24 8
7 4 3 -8 8
7 4 3 -18 8
7 3 3 20 7
7 3 4 31 6
7 3 4 17 6
6 2 4 -31 6
7 3 4 -41 6
7 2 5 -29 4
6 1 5 -102 4
6 0 6 -90 2
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