The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Manly lean on experience in NRL title tilt

September is Manly time, and as they gear up for a ninth straight NRL finals campaign, the Sea Eagles believe playoff experience could prove the difference in the race for the title.
Manly lean on experience in NRL title tilt
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic and Emma Kemp

SYDNEY, Sept 10 AAP - September is Manly time, and as they gear up for a ninth straight NRL finals campaign, the Sea Eagles believe playoff experience could prove the difference in the race for the title.

Along with Melbourne the pre-eminent force of the last decade, the Sea Eagles maintain they are serious premiership contenders thanks to a `been there, done that' philosophy.

"We know what's expected of us and each individual and we know what has to be done to win a game," back-rower Anthony Watmough said of the Sea Eagles' finals experience.

"... that's a bonus for us.

"We had a slip-up on the weekend (against Penrith) but we really like to come into these things and take it up another level."

The Sea Eagles will need to against a Sydney Roosters side they failed to beat in two meetings this year, when they again lock horns in Saturday night's qualifying final at Allianz Stadium.

Both previous matches were brutal encounters dominated by the big men, the rival packs amongst the most fearsome in the competition.

"It's going to be a big game - there's going to be some big hits and some big runs - that's no exception to any semi-final," Watmough said.

Added Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey:

"They've beaten us twice this year, obviously they've got the wood on us, we'd like to turn that around.

"They've been two tough games against them, both games very physical.

"Our players will be up for it."

Toovey can be sure of that thanks to the finals experience littered throughout his side.

The Sea Eagles boast 143 games of finals experience, almost double that of the Roosters with 75.

Several players such as the Stewart brothers, Brent Kite, Steve Matai and Watmough have been there throughout the nine straight years of finals play.

They've had some success when they've got there too - with two premierships and another grand final appearance to show for their efforts.

"(Manly) are a class team," Roosters utility Mitch Aubusson said.

"They're a proven team in the finals ... so we're going to have to be on our game all over the park and individual match-ups."

Added centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall when quizzed about Manly's biggest threat:

"Their whole team.

"Because they've got that experience, the finals experience.

"They've all been playing finals football for a number of years now so they've got that confidence right across the park."

Which is why the Sea Eagles are not too perturbed about the last round loss to Penrith - a match which Watmough (knee), Brett Stewart (hamstring), Brenton Lawrence (back) and winger Jorge Taufua (suspended) all missed.

The Sea Eagles had achieved their goal of a top four finish - now was the time to prepare for the next task at hand.

And it's why Watmough says there's little chance of him missing this game.

"No doubt, I'll be playing," he said.

"It's one of them games - you play 26 rounds, it's another season, it's a great way to finish off the year.

"We've come a long way this year, we're going to look at building on it."




Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories