If the old saying 'defence wins big matches' is true, then the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are on track to lift their first Harold Matthews Cup trophy on Saturday.
The Sea Eagles go into the U16s premiership decider against the Parramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval with plenty of confidence after producing a massive defensive effort to shut down minor premiers Penrith Panthers 22-10 last Saturday.
Leading 16-4 at half-time, Penrith had 17 sets to Manly's 10 in the second half. The Sea Eagles were also on the end of a 7-1 penalty count but somehow managed to hold out raid after raid on their line.
Simply, it was a defensive effort one had to see to believe as almost the entire second half was played inside Manly's 40 metres.
"The defence we showed against the best attacking side in the competition in Penrith was the best I have seen from an under 16s team. It was great commitment to each other,'' Ott said.
"The team has had to deal with some long term injuries to key personnel throughout the season, so to have the win at Lottoland in the first final against Parramatta, and then being able to put one of our strongest sides on the park against Penrith put us in a good mindset.
"The defensive determination for each other in the Penrith final showed us what is needed and what we are capable of. We must replicate it.
"We have played to 70 per cent of our potential and we can improve on what we have delivered and I would like to see that happen on Saturday."
Ott said the opportunity to become the first Manly team to win the Harold Matthews Cup title since the competition began in 1970 was not lost on his players. The Sea Eagles were beaten by Newcastle in the Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final last year in what was the Club's first appearance in the U16s decider.
"The team fully understands the situation, what lies before us, and that it will take a very strong performance across the park,'' he said.
"This is a great opportunity and we thank the support from the families involved, the Club, supporters, and the Sea Eagles community."
The Grand Final marks the third time Manly and Parramatta will clash this season with the honours currently shared. Parramatta made it through after downing Newcastle 36-12.
Parramatta won 14-10 in round two at Cabramatta with the Sea Eagles denied a try in the corner in the final minute on a forward pass call.
In their most recent clash, Manly held on to win 26-24 after the Eels missed a conversion attempt after the siren from the sideline in what was an epic battle.
The Eels are the most successful club in the Harold Matthews competition, having won 20 premiership titles.
Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final
Manly vs Parramatta
Leichhardt Oval, Saturday, May 5, 12pm Kick-off
NSWRL.com.au will live stream the Grand Final.
Manly's Road to the Grand Final
Rd 1: beat North Sydney 38-0, Lottoland
Rd 2: lost to Parramatta 14-10, New Era Stadium
Rd 3: beat Canterbury 26-12, Belmore Sports Ground
Rd 4: beat Central Coast Roosters 40-0, Lottoland
Rd 5: beat Illawarra 30-24, Collegians Sports Complex
Rd 6: beat Canberra 50-10, HE Laybutt Field
Rd 7: beat Balmain Tigers 20-18, Leichhardt Oval
Rd 8: beat St George 22-18, HE Laybutt Field
Rd 9: beat Western Suburbs 34-10, Campbelltown Stadium
Qualifying Final: beat Parramatta 26-24, Lottoland
Finals Week 2: Did not play
Preliminary Final: beat Penrith 22-10, St Marys Leagues Stadium
Sea Eagles Grand Final team
1 Tolu Koula
2 Cameron Brown
3 Toni Mataele
4 Seturi Iakopo
5 Tapu Tuipulotu
6 Tony Francis
7 Kaeo Weekes
8 Tyreece Matangi
9 Gordon Chan Kum Tong
10 Israel Ahofono
11 Samuel Pinomi (C)
12 Siua Fotu
13 James Uesele
14 Tyrone Holakeituai
15 Marley Hunter
25 Valeli Tonga
26 Jai Vakai
17 Darcy Hoy
21 Logan Fox