Renowned as one of the toughest men to have ever played the game, Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey has described hooker Matt Ballin’s feat of playing 182 consecutive first grade games as an ‘amazing effort’ and believes his achievement will be remembered in Manly Folklore forever.
Ballin fractured his fibula in his side’s one-point victory over Penrith last weekend, which will end his remarkable streak stretching over seven seasons.
“I think it might go down in a bit of folklore here at Manly,” Toovey said.
“He’s got a fracture to his lower leg and we thought it was a cork at first, he thought it was a cork and he played on,
“He played 25 minutes with a fractured leg, he’s pretty tough Matty Ballin.”
Toovey doesn’t put what Ballin has achieved down to luck. It is a result of his hard work and consistent dedication that has allowed him to play so many consecutive games in one of the toughest positions in the game.
“It’s a tough game, he plays in a very tough position as well,” he said.
“He makes 50 tackles a game, so he’s worked hard on his game to get those 182 games up in a row and it’s an amazing effort.”
Toovey admits losing Ballin so close to the finals isn’t ideal, however, he, along with hooker Ballin, is hopeful of a return late in September.
“Matty Ballin will be out for a few weeks which is very disappointing,” Toovey said.
“Obviously we hope Matty will be back in two or three weeks, hopefully it heals right,
“We’re hoping we can win a couple of games and give him the opportunity to finish off the season.”