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Manly dare cynics to write them off again

Manly players are happy for the sceptics to write them off again next year, after declaring 2013 a success despite falling at the NRL grand final hurdle.
Manly dare cynics to write them off again
by AAP

By Adrian Warren

SYDNEY, Oct 7 AAP - Manly players are happy for the sceptics to write them off again next year, after declaring 2013 a success despite falling at the NRL grand final hurdle.

While sadness was evident among the Sea Eagles following the 26-18 loss on Sunday, it was mixed with pride at their memorable charge to the season decider.

Without veteran props Jason King and Joe Galuvao for most of the campaign, Manly lost another front rower, Richie Fa'aoso during the finals.

Gritty finals wins over Cronulla and Souths pitched them into Sunday's grand final, where they led 18-8, only to concede 18 unanswered points.

Defiant halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, a controversial choice for the Clive Churchill Medal, declared Manly would be back bigger and stronger next year.

"I think you have to look at it as a successful season," Cherry-Evans said.

"I'd be happy for everyone to write us off again because it's a driving force every year."

Hooker Matt Ballin also admitted Manly drew strength from being dismissed by some of the pundits.

"I think we thrive on that - we like our back against the wall," Ballin said.

"That's what it was like this year. We did it the hard way.'

Coach Geoff Toovey said he told his players how proud he was of their fantastic efforts this year.

"No one gave us a chance this year. We've had some really tough football, we've had a lot of injuries," Toovey said.

"All in all, it was a fantastic season. We just fell that little bit short tonight."

Not all Manly players will get the chance to go one better next year.

Personality prop George Rose, who is heading to Melbourne, admitted it would be hard to say goodbye to his Sea Eagle mates.

"They are a real good group of fellows and I've had a great time here, so it's hard walking away," Rose said.

It was his first taste of a grand final loss since his junior days.

"It was under 15s for the Bathurst Penguins we lost one," Rose recalled.

"That one didn't hurt as much as this one though."

When Cherry-Evans was asked if he would swap the Churchill Medal for a premiership, he declared "Yeah, bloody oath, bloody oath".


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