It's time to look back at the weekend it was for the Sea Eagles in our weekly 'The Things We Learnt' column.
Oh, so close
What a great effort it was by the NRL boys against the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday. The team played with plenty of passion and determination and if a few tough calls had gone our way, we could have well and truly recorded that much needed victory after the scores were locked at 14-all at the break. Some individual mistakes and some poor handling again proved costly in the end, but it was a performance that certainly indicated that a win is not far off. Our squad is very young in terms of NRL match experience and to push the star-studded Sydney Roosters team with their list of international players was certainly a gutsy effort. It is definitely not all doom and gloom at Manly as many may think. Better days are ahead!
I can't believe some people are blaming the loss on the missed goal-kick in front of the posts by captain Daly Cherry-Evans. Yes, it was a shock, and it didn't help with the score in the end, but you also have to remember Daly did convert some great conversions from the sideline too to keep us in the game. Besides, Daly has won plenty of matches in the past for Manly with his boot, be it through a goal or field goal. I also thought that there were some good signs moving forward with his new halves partner in centre turned five-eighth Dylan Walker. It certainly looked better than the 2016 version. Give it time!
You couldn't but be impressed with the club debut of talented young centre Moses Suli (pictured) on Sunday. Defensively, I thought he was very good against one of the gun centres in the competition in Latrell Mitchell, and the few chances he did get with the ball, he ran strongly. At 19-years-of age, Moses was playing in just his 17th NRL game. His past has been well-documented and he knows he made a few mistakes along the way, but he has appeared to turn the corner at the Sea Eagles. Welcome to the club, Moses...first grade player #605.
Don't mess with Marty!
I wrote last week how would you like to try and stop a rampaging Marty Taupau? After what we saw against the Roosters, you can certainly have that to yourself. Like he has done for the past few weeks, Marty is just leaving some defenders in his wake with his powerful runs and offloads. Against the Roosters, he made an astonishing 290 metres from 26 runs in just 57 minutes of action. Sure he might have been on the end of a bone rattler from Victor Radley, but the man nick-named 'Kapow' just got up and smiled. Plus there wasn't a dreadlock out of place, either!
Winners are Grinners
A huge congratulations to our Harold Matthews team on their fantastic grand final win against Parramatta at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday. This team, under the coaching of Trevor Ott, created history by becoming the first Manly side to ever win the U16s premiership title since the competition started in 1970. They are a great young side to watch and there is so much talent across the park. Well done to all the players, coaching staff, and officials involved for your great work and achievements throughout the season. It was a pleasure to cover your games.
Double the excitement
This Saturday night will be the third annual Brisbane Double Header, and the Sea Eagles are once again proud to play a home match at Suncorp Stadium against the Brisbane Broncos. As for the past two years, the double header presents a huge financial opportunity for the Sea Eagles. It also gives our passionate army of fans throughout Queensland another great chance to see their beloved team play live. The turnout of Manly fans at the past two Double Headers has been very big, and it should be the case again for our 7.30pm match against the Broncos. Prior to our match, premiers Melbourne Storm will play their 'home' game against the Gold Coast Titans at 5.30pm. See you there, Manly fans, for "Showtime at Suncorp".