Steve Matai has conceded that Manly isn’t short of motivation as they head into Saturday night’s elimination final against the Bulldogs.
Teammate Brett Stewart will notch up his 200th game for the Sea Eagles this weekend and Matai said Manly will look to use his milestone as extra motivation.
Not that the club needed more incentive, Matai admits the departure of veteran forwards Jason King and Glenn Stewart will inspire the side to premiership glory.
“Its Brett’s 200th game this weekend and we want to celebrate it with a win,” Matai said.
“With Kingy and Gifty leaving we want to send them out the best way we can and that’s by winning, and hopefully getting them a ring at the end of the year.”
Some experts have put the red pen through the Sea Eagles’ title chances, however Matai insists Manly are at their most destructive when their backs are against the wall.
“Everybody’s written us off since I’ve been here the last 10 years, nothing is different really,” Matai said.
“We’ve been in this situation before, we had a tough loss last year against the Roosters. That game took a lot out of us and so did the weekend.”
“We just know that we are two wins away from the grand final.”
“We’re always confident in our playing group, our senior players are doing a great job of leading and the younger boys are doing a great job of bringing that enthusiasm.”
The Sea Eagles have hit the training paddock hard ahead of this weekend’s elimination final, concentrating more on themselves than their opposition on Saturday night.
“We just have to focus on us, which we’ve done the last couple of days, we went away on the weekend and got away from footy, “ he said.
“We’ve now just got to focus on us and we can’t really worry about what the other teams are going to do,”
“We’ve got to focus on our defensive structures, which have been down the last few weeks and I think if we fix that up we will be okay.”
Club stalwart Anthony Watmough has taken the early guilty plea for a Grade 2 Dangerous Throw and will miss this week’s match. Matai believes that his experience and work ethic is invaluable and that he will be sorely missed.
“He’s a big part of our club, he does a lot of work in the middle and I’m sure if he’s not there we will definitely miss that,” Matai said.
“He’s definitely one of our most valuable players.”