It’s time again to fear Manly

Andrew Sutherland Roar Guru

By Andrew Sutherland, Andrew Sutherland is a Roar Guru

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39 Have your say

    On Friday, Manly may have turned up wearing camouflage fatigues but their back to back premiership credentials were there for everyone to see.

    The half-back went missing. They didn’t have their star five-eighth, or the bloke called T-Rex, and they weren’t brilliant but they did enough to see off the impressive Bulldogs.

    They came into the match having lost four of their last five including losses to the lowly Eels and Titans. There were many “ha ha’s” and “lol’s” in the online comment sections from opposition fans who have been praying for Manly’s reign to finally end.

    The trip to England for the World Cup Challenge, an abundance of away games, player contract renewals, a new coach, the departure of a favourite coach, injuries, suspension, and a world-weariness caused by winning last year’s title have all been given as reasons for their indifferent start to the year.

    Manly players always seem to be injured early in the year. It could be a product of their brutal style of play but it seems to have the effect of instilling false confidence in the other teams.

    When they do finally get together, this all-representative outfit is almost unbeatable.

    The re signing of Daly Cherry-Evans and the imminent retention of Kieran Foran have no doubt cheered them up, as has the return from injury of the Stewart brothers, Brett and Glenn.

    As they did against Melbourne the previous round, the Bulldogs opened aggressively with their assortment of powerful forwards gaining impressive territory by running and passing up the middle.

    They scored two tries, one at the beginning of the game and the other right at the end, but neither resulted from the work of those forwards.

    Despite an early 0-5 penalty count Manly defended their line. That is their strength. Last year, teams would dominate for lengthy periods but simply couldn’t get over the try line.

    It’s only a matter of time before one of Manly’s big forwards – usually Jason King, Glenn Stewart, or George Rose – smashes a ball carrier and causes a turnover. Then their star halves distribute the ball to their skillful yet powerful outside backs for a try. Those backs ie Matai and Tony Williams (when he plays centre) are also brutal defenders.

    A team that has a non-starting prop who can do the work of a half is a team to be feared. In the 76th minute, with the game yet to be won, a slightly out of sorts Cherry-Evans hesitantly plopped the ball into George Rose’s hands.

    The prop then proceeded to bypass Blues hooker Michael Ennis with a right foot step and, with Tolman around his shoulders and Stagg hanging onto his ankles, offloaded neatly to Matai who scored the sealer.

    The reason some sportsmen develop a cult following is because they don’t look like sportsmen. Geoff Toovey called Rose an elite athlete during the post match conference. After that effort I have to agree but he still looks like an enormous marshmallow.

    This match had added significance because Des Hasler was coaching against his former club for the first time. If he lost to the formidable team he created, he could also claim to be a winner which he sort of did when he referred to them as the premiers and the benchmark.

    Asked about the significance of the Stewart brothers he replied: “One’s an Australian backrower, one’s an Australian fullback, one’s the most prolific try scorer in the game, and one’s a great ball player”. He could have provided similar tributes to the entire run-on side.

    Serious questions are now being asked about how such a team can remain under the salary cap.

    Until they’re forced to offload some of that serious talent, however, they are a team to be very scared of.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • Roar Guru

      April 29th 2012 @ 6:38am
      steve b said | April 29th 2012 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      The test for Manly is Broncos and Melbourne lets not blow to many trumpets over beating the dogs !

    • April 29th 2012 @ 7:28am
      Andy said | April 29th 2012 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      “The half-back went missing” around 36 meters per kick, 20 tackles,1 error and over 50 meters made is not going missing for a halfback. “When they do finally get together this all-representative outfit is almost unbeatable.” I disagree, at the moment their attack is very rusty and even with Foran and Tony Williams back on the field they are not going to be as good as last year. This is because William Hopoate and Michael Robertson have left the club, which was about a third of Manly’s attack last year and Hopoate for the games he played made the most meters for manly. In addition, the fact that they have lost a successful and experienced coach in Des Hasler means they are very beatable.

      • April 29th 2012 @ 12:42pm
        jdubya said | April 29th 2012 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        Those stats are completely irrelevant. DCE had a very quiet game and looked lost for much of it.

        • April 29th 2012 @ 2:25pm
          Andy said | April 29th 2012 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

          I agree stats are irrelevant, the mighty words of jdubya are enough to suggest a players performance.

          • April 29th 2012 @ 8:14pm
            Sea Eagle of Brisbane said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

            Andy, jdubya is right, you don’t have to be cynical. DCE did have an average game, full stop.
            Manly is not back to their full strength (Foran, T-Rex, Lussick did not play) but their defence is still one of the best in the comp.
            I do not think we will see Manly as good this year than last year, still they will make the top 8. Interesting finals competition ahead of us, regardless the new McIntyre system favours the top 4, Warriors came from 6 spot to make the final last year.
            Obviously the Sydney final gave Manly an advantage, out of town teams are disadvantaged every year.
            Will see this year if that is the case, one of Broncos or the Storm will be there for sure.

    • Roar Guru

      April 29th 2012 @ 8:47am
      peeeko said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      How about that terrible jersey they wore

      • April 29th 2012 @ 11:25am
        damo said | April 29th 2012 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        Glad someone else commented on that! What was that about some kind of prlmo jumper? maybe on a payroll for a dairy company? Cant think why else they’d wear that moo cow strip

        • April 29th 2012 @ 8:19pm
          Sea Eagle of Brisbane said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

          Canberra wore the same today, please comment on that too.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 9:08am
      oikee said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      3 teams just got charged for being over the cap, i think it was Parra, Titans and Penrith. ?
      Come on, Gallop must think we are fools, or he must think we cant see what is going on.
      Stewart, Stewart, Watmough, Lyons, Wolfman, Kite, Foran, Evans, Matai, Williams, KIng and have Hoppa running around doing missions so he flys under the cap.
      I will tell you something, this cant keep going on, the Dogs had 24 thousand turn up, Manly had a thousand.
      Manly is not a area you want a future team. The game cant survive if we keep the silvertails with wooden deals being made to keep a roster world cup teams would die for.
      This is vintage early Broncos rorting, saying players want to play for this club, being paid by sponser money.
      Look at the Broncos, they lost a whole team, we had kids for 2 years, and we also lost Hunt and Falou along with Hannet Stagg, Tate, Boyd, Ennis, Eastwood and others, Clinton, Carrol and Petro, to stay under the cap.
      Come on Gallop, cut this damm nonsense, nobody believes you anymore, and how you can say 3 wooden spooners were over the cap yet Manly has hardly changed their makeup in 5 years. They lose a couple of retiring players to make out they have changed their squad, then magic money to keep 600 thousand dollar players, Come-on, the game is up.

      • April 29th 2012 @ 11:03am
        Andy said | April 29th 2012 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Most of the manly players you named oikee are either heavily injury prone/suspended and have spent years out of the game like Wolfman and Stewart and Matai or above 30 years old like Lyon, King, and Kite or only started playing in the last few years like Foran and DCE and were not on big contracts. Lastly, manly have had a high turn over of quality players so your whinge oikee is pretty ridiculous.

      • April 29th 2012 @ 12:00pm
        eagleJack said | April 29th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        Oikee good to see you have hit the Grandfather Port early on a Sunday. A Broncos fan even mentioning the salary cap of another team is somewhat ridiculous.

        How many Broncos players were part of the recent Anzac Test? Do you really believe Lockyer only made $300k per year?

        The Broncos have the luxury of being a one town team in one of Australia’s largest cities. They are on FTA TV every week, the leading sports news item on the 6pm news, countless stories in the papers, every 4th TV advert contains a past or present player (Im up in Brisbane regularly). This equates to big sponsorship dollars and with that 3rd party sponsorship deals. If these are organised by the player managers then only part will count under the cap. But even that in itself is easy to get around. This means that the Broncos can entice and retain the cream of the crop. All perfectly legal under the current salary cap guidelines.

        The Broncos very rarely release a player they don’t want to keep. If this looks like happening a simple call to the Thoroughbreds and their deep pockets will put pay to that. Of course matching the AFL’s bids for Folau (bought) and Hunt was a stretch too far. But most of the players mentioned were unwanted (or had a falling out with Bennett) with the knowledge that some of the best up and comers were waiting in the wings.

        So please don’t bore us with Manly are over the cap. The Broncos have been over the cap for years. They have done this legally since they have a greater source of external funds than other clubs.

        Creative accounting is part of every single club. Some do it better than others. But the Broncos are the best at it so it irks me when a fan of theirs questions the integrity of another club. The Storm got unlucky as they struggle for 3rd party sponsorships in Melbourne as they have close to zero exposure. Playing games at 2am will do that. They had to push the boundaries a little more creatively and got caught out.

        • April 29th 2012 @ 8:23pm
          oikee said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

          You do realise we also had to realise Dave Taylor because we would have gone over the cap.
          You would look even sillier if you said the Broncos are over the cap in Brisbane, you would be laughed outta town.

          Give it up, you cant win, the Broncos would never get away with this anyhow, we are the most scrutinised club in the comp.
          We have 9 Sydney clubs ready to jump if we did anything wrong, would never happen. We would never allow NSW to have anything on us, we only have to look at what happened to Melbourne. 😉

          Plus our players would never brawl like Manly, it would damage the image of league, a bit like Manly have done in Sydney. 😉

          • April 29th 2012 @ 9:34pm
            Meesta Cool said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

            Oikee, was it not Brisbane that recently enticed Falou away from Storm and folowed up by trying the same with Inglis? , when Storm had to unload 1/2 their team, They even went to the trouble of finding Inglis’ partner a job at well above the award rate… bit smelly mate! .. you guys are not squeaky clean either !.

            On the better side, you can be applauded for the players that you have brought through the system and lost over the years..

          • April 29th 2012 @ 9:55pm
            eagleJack said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

            Oik you have misunderstood me.

            I’m not saying the Broncos are over the cap illegally. They are well within the cap but are able to pay their players in excess of the cap through 3rd party agreements. This you cannot deny. Most clubs do it. It is perfectly legal. But has allowed the Broncos to field basically a full rep team since their inception due to the ease in which they can garner these agreements. Being a one town team has it’s many advantages and this is one of them.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 9:12am
      Meesta Cool said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Salary cap , what salary cap??. lotsa ‘brown paper bags floating around NRL grounds..

    • April 29th 2012 @ 10:11am
      Jeff McGinn said | April 29th 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Oikee, once again you are ‘hammering ‘ the Silvertails’ , lok around, it is not just Manly that are finding loops to avoid the salary cap, the loops are being successfully used by every team in the league.

      The cap is a farce. If a CEO knows someone willing to launder money through and pay his players a sponsorship (Regardless of where the money originates) then that cash does not affect the clubs ‘CAP’ how easy is that to manipulate.

      In your own words “Come on, Gallop must think we are fools, or he must think we cant see what is going on”. in my words, “The cap is a farce”., Either put a limit on the amount that each team can pay their players — Wherever that money comes from, or scrap the system. It is out of control and token fines are being imposed on the ‘lesser’ clubs that don’t have the ‘friends’ to donate! How fair is that!

      Parra, Raiders, Penrith. all fined, this is a joke, and look what good cheating is doing to these clubs.. their total points this year don’t match Storm and Broncos.

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