The annual Community Cup clash with the Sydney Roosters was another quality trial game. Here are some of the things we learnt from last night’s match.
From the smell of meat pies (remember, if ain’t Mrs Mac’s, take it back), tropical palm trees, to Manly fans sweating in their footy jerseys in 37 degree heat, there is nothing like rugby league. Throw in some big hits, great tries, and the always enjoyable ‘get em onside ref’ calls, and you knew you were ‘alive’ again after sleeping through the summer of cricket. Coach Trent Barrett was a happy man overall and will work on a few areas, but rest assured, ‘Baz’ will have the boys firing for round one against the Knights in front of a huge crowd at Newcastle on Friday week. Get your tickets now!
A former Australian Schoolboy, Croker earned plenty of praise from his team-mates for his solid first up performance. He had a hand in Manly’s first try to Akuila Uate and combined well with half-back Daly Cherry-Evans in the 70 minutes they played together. Croker showed his toughness when he played on after being whacked late in an off the ball tackle. It will naturally take time for Croker and Cherry-Evans to build their partnership but the signs are very encouraging. And when they do, watch out!
Who will be the goal-kicker for round one? Against the Roosters, Cherry-Evans kicked three goals and looked comfortable. Hooker Api Koroisau had one late shot to draw the game but it narrowly missed. So, will it be regular kicker Matthew Wright? He didn’t kick last night and throughout the week after picking up a slight groin injury against Cronulla. Half-back Jackson Hastings kicked every goal in Blacktown Workers’ Intrust trial win, but will Hastings make the side at five-eighth ahead of Lachlan Croker?
The number 3 jersey
With Dally M Centre of the Year Dylan Walker out for the first few weeks, Matthew Wright made the most of his chances in the number three jersey with some nice runs and solid defence. He also worked well with winger Akuila Uate, who scored two tries and picked up where he left last season. Centre Brad Parker didn’t do his chances any harm with another good game for Blacktown Workers in the Intrust trial after scoring a double against the Sharks.
Jorge is back
How good was it to see Jorge Taufua and that huge amount of hair of his in the maroon and white jersey again? The popular winger was naturally a little rusty, but solid, when it countered in his first game in eight months from a knee reconstruction. With more game time and his confidence back, it won’t be long before the powerful finisher is crashing over for more tries, and we’re hearing commentators yelling out ‘Tau-foo-ah’!
Off to a flyer
Someone call the fire engine! Manly were as hot as the Gosford weather in the first 10 minutes with three great tries to lead 16-0. Then the fire truck did arrive to put some cold water on our attack. The ‘Steggles’ Chooks then became hot all of a sudden and it was game on. Throw in Dylan Walker and the Sea Eagles backline will be scorching again in 2018!.
From a fan to a Manly Man
Manly fans, we have a new favourite ‘Nan’…Our new second-rower Joel Thompson was a massive Sea Eagles fan growing up after inheriting the passion for the Sea Eagles from his beloved Nan. The boy from Ivanhoe dreamt of playing for Manly and like many, loved Steve Menzies and Cliff Lyons. Nan cried tears of joy apparently when her grandson signed with Manly. ‘Thommo’ pumped out 60 minutes against the Chookies. God Bless You, Nan, and we will see you soon at Lottoland!!
Manly fans do Travel
Who said Manly fans don’t travel? Forget crossing the Spit Bridge, plenty crossed the Mooney Mooney bridge on their way to Gosford. And it wasn’t just those coming from ‘God’s Country’ of the Northern Beaches (tough to leave even for a few hours) with Sea Eagles supporters coming from all directions, like Len Klumpp from Tamworth, the owner of the great banner ‘It’s A Manly Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand’. You are right, Len, they don’t understand. Keep travelling Sea Eagles fans!