Here come Manly's high-flyers
Sat August 11, 2012 7:11am
HERE they come. The Sea Eagles' premiership defence, for so long hampered by injury, absentees and the weight of expectation, continued to gather momentum at Bluetongue Stadium last night.
Manly made it three successive wins as it disposed of one of the sides tipped to take its title - South Sydney. The Sea Eagles did it in ruthless fashion. Souths, coming into the game on the back of six consecutive victories, was slightly down and Manly made it pay.
Over the past three weeks the Sea Eagles have beaten the New Zealand Warriors in Perth, North Queensland in Townsville and the Rabbitohs in Gosford. A daunting travel schedule has extracted the best from Geoff Toovey's men.
In the process, a resounding statement has been delivered to the rest of the competition.
There were ominous signs everywhere for those with eyes on Manly's title. Five-eighth Kieran Foran has had a difficult year with injury but he was involved in three tries. So was fullback Brett Stewart. Not content with setting them up, Stewart stopped them as well.
Disconcertingly for the Sea Eagles' coming opponents, they won last night without centre Steve Matai (ankle) and co-captain Jason King (ribs).
Fittingly, it was King's co-captain Jamie Lyon who set up the match-clincher for David Williams.
Matt Ballin rubbed salt in the wounds in the last minute with a try that would have left Souths coach Michael Maguire in the foetal position. It was the exclamation point on a comprehensive performance. Not that Toovey and prop Brent Kite were prepared to talk themselves up.
In fact, so self-deprecating was their assessment of the performance, it prompted one scribe to suggest they were channelling former coach Des Hasler and his penchant for "flying under the radar".
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