The final word for this week has taken a little bit of a twist, but for a very good reason.
Legendary forward Malcolm Reilly is in Australia and will be a guest of honour for tonight’s game against archrivals, the Melbourne Storm. Reilly, who still lives in Yorkshire in the UK, manages to get out to Australia often but says it’s been a while since he returned to his old stomping ground.
As such, we asked him for his thoughts on the game while he was catching up with great mate and rugby league immortal Bob Fulton before kick-off.
How do you think the side will go tonight?
REILLY: “It’s going to be a hard game for them, but there’s no reason why they cant’ do it. It just depends on how much they want it.”
FULTON: “It’s always a tough battle with the Melbourne mob. They go back a number of years now but you only need to go back to the game last year at Brookvale where Cameron Smith kicked a field goal in the last few seconds to win the game. The nucleus of the side from last year is still there, and it’s up to those players to come out and perform to their potential.”
Do you still keep tabs on Manly every week?
REILLY: “I watch it on a weekly basis on Sky (UK TV), and I get the weekly Rugby League magazines and I’m in contact with what is happening over here.”
What makes this game so special for you both?
FULTON: “When you look at that and you look at the quality players in both sides, it always makes for a great game.”
REILLY: “I love this Club - the people ran it [back then], and those who run it now. They’re just wonderful people and it’s just nice to be here and am excited about watching the game.”
Malcom, when was the last time you managed to get to a game at Brookie?
REILLY: “It was a couple of years ago. I’m looking forward to it as it’s going to be a nice, entertaining game and I’ll be getting behind the Sea Eagles.”
And Bob, you obviously enjoy catching up and sharing the good times with Malcolm while he is here?
FULTON: “We’ve been through quite a lot together and paramount in both our minds is winning of the 1972 grand final, which both Malcolm and I were fortunate enough to be a part of.”
“It was a historic making of the Club as it was our first ever grand final [win] after playing in four or five before that.”
“He is the greatest ever forward for the Club.”
Anything that you think the team needs to focus on for tonight?
FULTON: “The thing is you’ve got to control the ball before you can control the ruck and that was one of our problems last week. The little things really determine whether a team wins or loses.”
So regardless, it’s not all doom and gloom on the Peninsula?
FULTON: “Without a doubt. We’ve got the right people there – the administration is in order, the owners know what they want and the players, with the battering they have taken this week, can only go one way - and that is up.”