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'We’re not going to see the 40-0 Raiders': Seibold's quest for consistency as amazing Manly stat revealed

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2nd May, 2024
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Anthony Seibold has warned his Manly side that they need to break the habits of the last few years and put together a solid run of form – and not to get complacent against a Canberra side still smarting from a 40-0 hammering at the hands of Cronulla last weekend.

The Sea Eagles are on a run of three wins and a draw in the last month, including a statement victory over Penrith, representing their first month without defeat since the opening stages of the 2022 season.

Even in 2021, the last time they finished in the top four, the club only managed four consecutive wins as a streak, but with those four in the bank and the Raiders visiting Brookvale on Friday, then the Dolphins away a week later, there is the chance to bring the biggest sequence of success since five on the trot in 2017 and six in 2013.

Moreover, Manly have won five on the bounce at home – including all four this year – and with a sixth against Canberra, they would match their best trot at the Fortress since 2017.

The coach is well aware, however, that his side were similarly fancied against the Dragons and lost, and that they barely scraped by the Titans, who were at that point yet to win a game, and reflected on that inability to bank the kind of winning runs needed to finish among the very best.

“Historically over the last few years, Manly as a club, have not been able to build over long periods of time,” he told his pre-match media conference.

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“At the moment, we’ve played fair footy in the last month and had some good footy to start the season, but we’re still trying to build our DNA and be more consistent.

“This is a real good opportunity for us to be that.”

He was under no illusions about the task facing his side at 4 Pines Park on Friday, despite the Raiders having lost their last two.

“We’re not going to see the 40-0 Raiders this Friday,” said Seibold.

“That wasn’t them.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“Ricky Stuart has been a coach for 500 games and he’ll have that group physically and emotionally ready to come out of the box here at Brookie tomorrow night.

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“The big inclusion for them is Elliott Whitehead: he’s their leader, he’s a physical player. Add him to Hudson Young, Josh Papali’i, Joey Tapine and it’s a really physical pack.

“That’s where the game is going to be won and lost. If we can match what they’re bringing and try to get over the top, that’s where it’ll be.

“But they’ll come with an attitude of playing flat and fast, boxing into corners and jumping us with the line speed and being nice and aggressive.

“We’re not going to see the 40-0 Raiders, we’re going to see the team that started the season, they team that went away to Newcastle in Round 1 and won, the team that has fought really hard for long periods of time.

“They’ve added Nick Cotric in, they’ve added Albert Hopoate and Whitehead. They’ve added Emre Guler who’s played in a Grand Final.

“We’re not seeing that young, inexperienced team from last week, we’re going to see the best version of the Raiders. That has been high completions, flat and fast, dive into their kick sprint. We’ll see if we’re good enough or not.”

Manly enter the game with Daly Cherry-Evans in the 7 jumper after he was successful in his bid to have a two-game ban downgraded to a fine following last week’s match with Parramatta.

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Haumole Olakau’atu remains banned for his part in the same tackle, and Seibold said that it had been the halfback’s call to take his case to Driver Avenue.

“We were guided by Chez, ultimately,” explained the coach.

“I didn’t want to take him to the judiciary if he didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do.

“It felt like we had a good case. We had a good comparative tackle to use and we felt confident. We didn’t feel it was a risk and we wouldn’t have done it if it was.

“We’ve had Josh (Aloiai) and Haumole take early guilty pleas this year rather than going to fight, but we felt there was a fight to be had and we’re thankful for a fair hearing and grateful that Chez is available to play.”

The potential for DCE to miss out forced the Sea Eagles to train with Jake Arthur at halfback, which the coach saw as an opportunity to get ahead on the challenges that might occur when his captain goes to Maroons camp during Origin, and to address a perceived leadership vacuum that was present last year.

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Jake Arthur of the Eels catches a pass during the warm-up before the round eight NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys at TIO Stadium, on April 30, 2022, in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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“We trained with Jake Arthur in the halves all week,” said Seibold.

“Chez has done a whole heap of reps throughout the preseason and in the first eight rounds and we wanted to get Jake some time there.

“It’s good planning for Origin and we thought the best way to do it was to plan for the worst case scenario, so we did Monday and Tuesday with Jake there and Chez on Thursday.

“It’s something that we’re mindful of because you get disrupted when your best players go to State of Origin, so we put some planning in place.

“It’s one of the areas where we felt we fell short last year.

“We will lose a big part of our leadership when Daly, hopefully Tom and Jake (Trbojevic), and others like Haumole are considered as well, so we’ve put together an emerging leadership group that we call ‘the core’.

“They do work with Andrew May who is a leadership and mental skills coach that we have contracted to the club.

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We’re putting thought in around that leadership because we felt it was a gap last year.”

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