It's time to take a look back at the weekend it was for the Sea Eagles in our weekly, 'The Things We Learnt' column.
The Sea Eagles might not have got the two points against the Newcastle Knights on Friday, but it was a much improved performance after the shocking losses to the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels over the past fortnight. To lose Lachlan Croker through a knee injury, and then Matt Wright to concussion, meant a reshuffle for the second half with several players out of position. Throw in a few disallowed tries and some tough calls in the match, and things could have been different. The four straight losses has everyone hurting from players, coaches, the fans, and even our beloved mascots (who can't mask their permanent smiles). One thing for certain though, this proud club will get through the tough times, on and off the field. The adversity will make us 'Stronger Together'. After all, WE ARE MANLY...and when that next victory does come, how sweet will it be!
You have to feel for Lachlan Croker who suffered his third ACL injury in the loss to the Knights. The 21-year-old was starting to really find his feet at six alongside half-back Daly Cherry-Evans in just his ninth NRL match. He was having his best game for the Sea Eagles and looked sharp in attack whilst his toughness in defence can never be questioned. As to who will replace Croker in the 21-man squad, that call will be made by hard working coach Trent Barrett. Stand by for our team announcement at 4pm Tuesday. You will see it here first on our website.
Spare a thought for second-rower Jack Gosiewski who will miss a month with a broken hand. Jack was starting to make the most of his opportunities in the NRL pack after being the standout player for Blacktown Workers prior to his well-deserved call up. Best wishes Jack for a speedy recovery.
Jake and Marty put on a show
How good were Martin Taupau and Jake Trbojevic against the Knights? The international forwards just ripped into the Newcastle pack. Imagine standing in front of a rampaging Martin Taupau? No thanks. Against the Knights, Marty made 247 run metres while Jake made 45 tackles. And plenty of them would have hurt, too, with the great technique he has. Jake cuts harder than any chef with a razor sharp knife on a chopping board!
Thanks to the fans
Thank you to those passionate members and fans who did attend the game against the Knights. The challenge of getting to the ground in heavy traffic and leaving work to be at Lottoland for a 6pm kick-off is never underestimated. Let's hope there will be more supporters out in force for our next home game at Lottoland on Thursday, May 31, when we tackle the Nth Qld Cowboys in what will be the last appearance of the great Jonathan Thurston on the Northern Beaches. A few wins will certainly help, and just maybe, we may be able to unveil that new video scoreboard that is 'coming soon' from the local council.
Go, young Sea Eagles
Good luck to Coach Trevor Ott and his young Sea Eagles for this Saturday's Harold Matthews Grand Final at Leichhardt Oval against Parramatta. If they can reproduce their superb defence that shut down minor premiers Penrith in the preliminary final, then they will go close to winning the Club's first ever U16s title. It was simply an astonishing defensive display. And the match-winning try by hooker Gordon Chan Kum Tong was one of the best individual tries I've ever seen. This kid is a terrific young player. The Grand Final will be the second year in a row that the Sea Eagles have made the Harold Matthews decider and is proof that the Club's Junior Pathways and development programs are working well. Head out to Leichhardt and cheer the Sea Eagles on if you can. You will see a very, very good Manly side in action. Bring it home boys!
On the road again
It's time to hit the road again, Sea Eagles fans. The next month will see Manly play in Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra. It will be great once again to see our army of Sea Eagles supporters at Suncorp Stadium, or as many call it, 'Brookvale North' for our annual home game against the Brisbane Broncos on May 12. However, our first road trip starts with the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium at Moore Park next Sunday. Yes, there will be the usual jokes that Manly fans don't cross the Spit Bridge. Well, let's prove that theory wrong once again. See you there!