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Manly's balancing act

Manly NRL coach Geoff Toovey wants his surging side to strike a balance between maintaining their late season momentum and avoiding injuries in Sunday's final round clash at home to Penrith.
Manly's balancing act
by AAP

By Adrian Warren

SYDNEY, Sept 7 AAP - Manly NRL coach Geoff Toovey wants his surging side to strike a balance between maintaining their late season momentum and avoiding injuries in Sunday's final round clash at home to Penrith.

The Sea Eagles have won eight of their nine games, culminating in a sensational 28-8 demolition last week of reigning premier Melbourne, who they leapfrogged on the ladder to go third.

With strike weapons Brett Stewart and Anthony Watmough sitting out Sunday's game, Toovey is keen to avoid adding any more names to the casualty list.

While Toovey said there was no real significance in whether his side finished third or fourth, he warned that players were more likely to get injured if they approached Sunday's game in a half-hearted fashion.

"We'd obviously like to win and keep that momentum going," Toovey said.

"But its also important we don't lose any more players as well.

"If you go in half hearted and you don't put in your best effort, that's when those injuries will occur, so we need to be on our game and we'll be playing to win.'

While erratic Penrith will miss out on the finals, Toovey felt the Panthers had the size to cause problems for his side.

"I think they've been a bit unlucky in certain games, but they've been a bit hot and cold, a bit like us last year," Toovey said.

"They've had a lot of drama at the beginning of the year, but they've settled down and they've got some quality players.

"They are a big physical side and we'll need to match them there."

The fixture represents the Brookvale Oval swansong for rugged prop Brent Kite, who played in two Manly premiership-winning teams.

"He's been a great asset to the club over many years, from when the club was doing it tough" Toovey said of Kite.

"He's seen a couple of grand final victories and a loss and hopefully we can send him out on a high note this year as well."

Centre Steve Matai said the result wasn't as important as the team's performance.


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