Caption: Holden Cup Coach David Heath at Sea Eagles training.
The scoreline indicated a huge thumping but it wasn’t the point scoring ability that impressed Manly Warringah Holden Cup Coach David Heath last Sunday.
Having secured fourth place and playing a lowly placed opposition, the Sea Eagles crushed Cronulla Sharks 52-6 at Remondis Stadium. It was such a dominant performance the Sharks only scored their points in the final minute.
“I was pleased with our mental application. We spoke about it a few weeks ago about taking each game as it is and that’s how we are doing it this week,’’ Heath said, ahead of Saturday’s first qualifying final against Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium.
“We are treating it as it is our only semi-final chance and that’s what we want. We are not thinking there is a second chance. It means you go in with a red hot go attitude.”
The winner will earn a week off and advance to the preliminary final. The loser will face a sudden-death clash the following weekend.
The Sea Eagles face much stiffer opposition in the Panthers – a team they lost both games too in the regular season.
The Panthers claimed the minor premiership following a shock loss by the North Queensland Cowboys, who finished second with Brisbane in third place.
“Both of us are in form. Penrith have been super consistent. It is the same with the Cowboys and the Broncos, they have been the most consistent teams. But the 20s is not always about that, the most consistent,’’ Heath explained.
“Penrith are a very physical team who rely on their go forward from their big men, in particular props Oliver Clark and Moses Leota.
“They have a good young half (in) Nathan Cleary, full-back Brent Naden, and their lock forward Tyrone May, who is very skilful too with the ball, so they have a couple of attacking weapons.
“They play tough, they want to get at you, and their aggressive in defence.
“You are not minor premiers if you are not good on both sides. There are certain areas we want to target and we need to make sure we do them well.”
Kick-off is 3.10pm and the game will be shown live on Fox Sports. The match will be played prior to the Bulldogs-Dragons NRL clash.