Every successful team needs their quiet achievers. The men who go about their duties with minimum fuss to get the job done.
Fortunately for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Holden Cup side, there are several ‘unsung heroes’.
Whilst Tom Trbojevic and Addison Demetriou have rightly dominated headlines for their speed and tryscoring feats, the likes of Hugh Pratt, Darcy Cox, Jesse Ramien, and Nicho Hynes to name a few are satisfied if Coach David Heath is happy with their performance.
Heath said hooker Pratt (pictured) is an exceptional worker who just ‘loves to play’.
“Hugh has been a big part of what we have done. He just wants to play and when I start to bring him off, he doesn’t want to go,’’ Heath said.
“It is a sensational culture to have. I’ve had players before who have put their hands up when things got hard, but not with Hugh. He is the type of person who overtrains, not undertrains.”
Pratt sits third for most dummy half runs (120) while an extra asset is his sound goal-kicking ability, having kicked 77 goals from 106 attempts for a 73 per cent record. His four tries and 77 goals sees him ranked second on the list for top point scorers.
Pratt’s fine form saw him called up to play in the Sea Eagles’ NSW Cup elimination final at Belmore last Saturday, resulting in him missing the Holden Cup win over Cronulla.
"Hugh played about 20 minutes in the NSW Cup and rang me later that night to say he was keen to play on Sunday. That's the type of player he is," Heath added.
"I chose not too and remained with the players already chosen."
Heath said the hard-working Cox had made the lock position his own.
“Darcy makes 30 or 40 tackles a game and makes metres every week,’’ Heath said.
“I think Darcy has been the big find in what we have done. He is so reliable and I haven’t had to worry about that role as he has held it in a fairly tough position every week. He is very good.”
Cox ranks fifth for most tackles (764) made in the competition and leads the way for most decoys (191).
Heath said Hynes had proven just as comfortable at half-back, or at full-back when filling in for Trbojevic, and gives the side ‘three halves’. He added centre Ramien had really impressed in the second half of the season.
Pratt, Cox, Ramien, Hynes and their team-mates will be looking to build on their recent good form against minor premiers Penrith Panthers in the qualifying final at ANZ Stadium this Saturday from 3.10pm. The match will be played before the Bulldogs-Dragons elimination final.