Manly misery makes Storm form a mystery

apaway Roar Guru

By apaway, apaway is a Roar Guru

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    After a performance that would have many assuming Manly players raided Anthony Watmough’s Stilnox supply, it’s still hard to get a true bearing on Melbourne’s form heading into the grand final.

    They cleaned up the reigning premiers 40-12 in a seven tries to two thrashing and looked slick in passages of the game, especially with quick movement around the rucks.

    The Storm utilised the the inside pass after the first ball from the ruck to great effect. They easily beat what was in front of them, and nothing more could be asked of them.

    But in reality, what was in front of them was an embarrassment.

    There is not a side in the competition that wouldn’t have beaten Manly tonight, such was the ineptitude of their game.

    It is hard to imagine a more painful 80 minutes for Sea Eagles supporters, who must have been wondering who these players were in maroon and white.

    From the opening tackle when Anthony Watmough dropped the ball, to the haplessness of Tony Williams spilling the first pass from a tap re-start, which led directly to Melbourne’s first try, it is hard to recall a more diabolical performance from a side in a finals game.

    Perhaps, the St George Dragons collapse in the 1975 grand final against Easts is comparable, just.

    Manly failed to hold the ball for more than two tackles in a set eight times in the game.

    Just what Daly Cherry-Evans was thinking when he twice failed to kick a goal-line drop out ten metres is unclear. Injuries to Matt Ballin and Steve Matai didn’t help the cause and Jason King could not have been playing at 100% fitness.

    Perhaps a pain-killing needle to his shoulder caused him to lose the feeling in his hands.

    You hate to be critical as a fan and getting to the preliminary final as reigning premiers is a great effort in the salary cap era. Expert analyst Daniel Anderson on ABC Grandstand picked the Eagles to win, as did TV’s Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer.

    But the horror show at AAMI Park was best summed up by Channel Nine commentator Ray Warren. As Brett Kite knocked on on the first tackle in the last 40 seconds of the game, Warren commented, “Well, the game is going to finish as it started.”

    Which brings us back to the Storm. As clinical as they were tonight, this was a stroll for them, a gift wrapped up with a bow on top.

    Coach Craig Bellamy would be delighted that his side are in the grand final but I wonder whether he might have been hoping for a sterner test.

    Their game against Souths a fortnight ago looked to be running a similar course and they are the common denominator in those two below-par efforts from their opponents.

    Yet it would be wrong to say that the mistakes made by Manly were a result of ferocious defence or relentless pressure.

    Perhaps in that respect the Storm may have something in the tank when they face what will surely be a sterner test next weekend against the Bulldogs or the Rabbitohs.

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • September 21st 2012 @ 11:54pm
      NF said | September 21st 2012 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

      As a Cowboys fan I enjoy every minute of the whopping Storm gave to Manly. Disgraceful effort from the Sea Eagles.

      • September 22nd 2012 @ 10:43am
        Bearfax said | September 22nd 2012 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        Difference is Manly supporters accept their defeats with grace, not bad sportsmenship. Note below not one grumble about the refs

        • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:04pm
          Matt said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          40-12 with a ton of missed conversions, how much influence did they really have. Last week was massively boosted.

          • September 22nd 2012 @ 4:57pm
            Bearfax said | September 22nd 2012 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            When you’re not quite functioning on all cylinders in the finals, blow outs can occur. Just ask Melbourne about their 40-0 loss a few years back. Same team more or less but without Smith and not quite playing up to standard they got flogged. Manly had several injuries they were carrying into the game (Matai, Watmough, King, Lyon, Ballin) and had had to handle very tough games against the Dogs and Cowboys, both excellent and tough teams.

            Manly looked tired and were tired. The mistakes were as much to do with the Melbourne relentlessness as they were to mental and physical weariness. No surprise that that was their worst performance of the year along with an earlier Newcastle match when half the team were down with the flu.

            • September 22nd 2012 @ 5:22pm
              RebelRanger said | September 22nd 2012 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              Manly didn’t go into this finals game with all the drama Melbourne went with into their final with Manly.

      • September 22nd 2012 @ 4:16pm
        Maarten V said | September 22nd 2012 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        NF I totally agree with your comments, it was great to see Manly receiving a thrashing that was due.

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 12:32am
      Meesta Cool said | September 22nd 2012 @ 12:32am | ! Report

      Tomorrow’s game of two sets of BIG forwards putting in 100% could see Storm play another ‘battle weary’ side in the final… Go Bunnies.

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 5:45am
      Campaign to return Melbournes lost Premierships said | September 22nd 2012 @ 5:45am | ! Report

      It was a reversal of the 40-0 grand final when Melbourne were dead on their feet and Manly were fresh as. That week off can be so valuable. Go Storm

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 6:00am
      Andy said | September 22nd 2012 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      Manly were just as bad when they played the dogs so they had form. The only difference was that Melbourne played far better than the dogs.

      • Roar Guru

        September 22nd 2012 @ 4:53pm
        apaway said | September 22nd 2012 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

        Not sure I’d agree with that, Andy. Manly’s first half against the Bulldogs was solid. Their first half against the Storm was mind-boggling.

        • September 23rd 2012 @ 9:49am
          Renegade said | September 23rd 2012 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          They were appalling against the dogs as well….completion rate was in 50-60% range – the only difference was that they were playing the storm who are on another level.

          • September 23rd 2012 @ 10:21am
            Bearfax said | September 23rd 2012 @ 10:21am | ! Report

            I think they played their grand final against the Cowboys. Didnt have much left in the tank. Its been a long tough year for Manly what with Dessie’s defection along with half the coaching/training staff and recruiters, numerous suspensions, some lengthy, numerous injuries, some lengthy, an administration in constant conflict and a new coach with minimal preparation time, taking over a side where over half the team were unsure of where they would be the following year and contractual issues lasting all the way to the semis. I was really surprised they got as far as they did.

            But the signs were on the wall early with the number of times they just won during the season, a defence pattern that was OK but an attack that was like a 6 cylinder vehicle running over time on 3-4 cylinders. Manly looked a tired and uncertain outfit throughout the year and it was evidence that some of the old soldiers in the team are near their used by date (no disrespect intended given their contributions in the past).

            I notice that Manly have an outstanding forward and back in their junior ranks who will be vying for first grade next year as well as a couple of talented junior recruits from New Zealand, Parramatta and a potential star forward in Chee-Can from Canberra. They will need a couple of these kids to impress in the off season and vie for first grade positions next year, because they definitely need an infusion of youth and enthusiasm if they are to challenge next year.

            This year was always going to be Melbourne, Canterbury or South’s year, and now we are down to the last 2, and probably the best performed teams in the ’12 competition.

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 7:04am
      Mushi said | September 22nd 2012 @ 7:04am | ! Report

      Not sure how anyone can say we can’t judge melbournes form? They were the form team coming into the finals and have dismantled the third and fourth placed team.

      Doesn’t guarantee them a win but you need to be a one eyed manly fan to think only one team contributed to last night.

      • Roar Guru

        September 22nd 2012 @ 4:55pm
        apaway said | September 22nd 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

        That’s not exactly what I said Mushi, and I did make the point that they played what was in front of them. But let’s be honest; the Sea Eagles did not present a threat to the Storm last night in any aspect.

    • September 22nd 2012 @ 7:12am
      ADSA said | September 22nd 2012 @ 7:12am | ! Report

      I agree manly had a shocker, and part of that was the all round pressure the storm put on them forced them into barry crocker mode.

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