Exciting five-eighth Tom Wright believes the healthy competition to fight for a position within the quality Manly Holden Cup side has been one of the reasons why the Sea Eagles have reached the Grand Final.
The Sea Eagles have come from eighth place to reach the premiership decider after knocking over the fifth-placed Nth Qld Cowboys, minor premiers Cronulla, and the third-placed St George-Illawarra Dragons.
All that stands between them now and lifting the trophy are the fourth-placed Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium this Sunday.
Parramatta will play in their first Holden Cup grand final with Manly making their second appearance in three seasons in the final year of the U20s competition.
“The healthy competition means everyone has to perform. Each week there is a guy sitting on the bench who would get a start in any of the other 15 teams in the competition,’’ Wright said,
“Whenever we have lost a player, someone has come in and filled that position with bigger and better goals for that game.
“You look at someone like half Kurtis Preece who has done an outstanding job in the 15 games he has played.
“He is not sitting on the bench because he did something wrong. It is just that Cade Cust has come back from a couple of setbacks this year, and he showed his class in scoring two tries and setting up three tries for Haumole (Olakau’atu) last week.
“The good thing is that every time a team thinks they can shut down one area of our game, another door opens because of the talent we have across the field.”
Wright has shown his class this season, scoring 18 tries in 26 games. The 20-year-old has 11 try assists to his name after experiencing a tough run with injuries in his first year with Manly in 2016.
The former Australian Schoolboys rugby player was at his scintillating best in the upset 44-22 win over minor premiers Cronulla Sharks, scoring a hat-trick.
His second try was the pick of the three, with Wright displaying fancy footwork, agility, and speed to score.
“I am pretty happy with my season so far, but my team-mates and I still have got one big game to go,’’ Wright said.
“It is easy to say that we could stop here and the year has been good for the whole side after we finished last in 2016, and we have now come from eighth to make the grand final.
“Some teams might be pretty happy to say if we win or lose the Grand Final, we’ve still had a really good season. Not us.
“There is no complacency here thinking the job is done. We want to win.”
Holden Cup Grand Final
Manly vs Parramatta
ANZ Stadium, Sunday October 2