Geoff Toovey is regarded as one of the toughest player’s to ever pull on the mighty maroon and white jersey.
Pound-for-pound, they say no one was made of sterner stuff.
However, yesterday it was the current coach and club legend’s turn to praise Matt Ballin, as the Manly hooker prepares to lace up for his 200th game for the side.
“It’s an awesome effort, playing in a tough position at hooker for so long,” Toovey said.
“He doesn’t shirk any hard work on the field, it’s a great effort from him. He’s a tough competitor, tough player and a great clubman.”
The Sea Eagles iron-man played 182 consecutive first grade games for the Sea Eagles before suffering a broken leg during last seasons Round 25 last gasp win over the Penrith Panthers.
Toovey also lamented his side’s start to the season and believes that the teams nightmare run injuries has disrupted his team’s progress.
“Its been tough. We have lost several players for long periods of time - Josh Starling and Clint Gutherson have been dealt blows, Steve Matai has been in and out for a little while, but we will put him through some fitness tests before we make the decision to bring him back in, and now Jamie Lyon looks like he’s out for a week or two,” he said.
“Last year we lost some senior players and it takes time to get different combinations right.”
“That combined with our horrendous injury list has been really disrupting for us,” Toovey finished.
Despite the results and poor run with injures, Toovey was upbeat and looking forward to getting to the Border this weekend and meeting the man Rugby League fans in the Riverina.
The coach was excited about the build up to this weekends clash when asked about the match against the Raiders on the Murray.
“It’s going to be good for the fans down in Albury. We are very much looking forward to it and are hoping to spread the gospel of Rugby League to supporters down there.”