Oct 06, 2008 League Freak Manly Sea Eagles 0
The Manly Sae Eagles are the 100th Premiers after they destroyed the Melbourne Storm 40-0 in the Grand Final.
It is the biggest winning margin in Australian Rugby League history.
The game was close and predictably hard fought early on, and while the Sea Eagles scored two unconverted tries early in the game you just felt as though the Storm would soon wake up, come back and break their hearts.
It didn’t happen…..when you waited for the Storm to lift a gear, it just wasn’t there.
The game was still there to be won by the Storm in their typical fasion in the second half. Even Manly looked like they were waiting for the Storm to hit back.
The Manly defense however was outstanding, they just offered the Storm nothing. The only real breaks being made by Melbourne were by Irael Folau who was nothing short of a monster out wide.
It was about 10 minutes into the second half when Manly started to break free, and once that happened the flood gates really opened and before you know it, the Storm were looking at a record Grand Final loss.
It was a cruel way for such a great teams to get beaten, especially one that prides itself on staying in the fight.
The record books will now show that the Storm have made three Grand Finals and only won one of them.
As for the Sea Eagles, they were oustanding. They were just about perfect.
As I said before the game (Forget about the prediction of a Storm win please!) Steve Matai was involed in everything, while Brett Kite had the game of his life.
Brett Stewart was a bit quiet as he tends to be in really big games and I thought he was outplayed by Billy Slater.
Matt Orford went missing for most of the game but the Sea Eagles are just such a good side and I think they have really adapted to Orfords times outs in the big ones.
The Manly pack really stepped up in this game and completely eliminated the Storms forward pack. I thought Jason King was oustanding after being called up after being out a few months with injury.
Manly really learned to put in an entire team performance in 2008.
It meant that when Orford was playing poorly, Brett Stewart wasn’t clicking or players were missing with injuries, they entire sides performance covered for those losses.
Then we have Beaver.
Everyone know how much I love Beaver, and you know when he was put back into the game in the last ten minutes that he was going to score.
349 first grade games, 180 tries, unbelievable!
Des Hasler also need to get a mention. He took over the Sea Eagles when they were pretty low, the club was on the brink of financial ruin, they were tightening the purse strings and Hasler had to make do with what he had.
Not once did he complain, he just got on with the job of making the players he had better.
When you look at this Sea Eagles team, its full of Manly juniors and is full of players that were around when the club was struggling.
Not many coaches can honestly say thye built a champion team with nothing, but thats what Hasler has done, an amazing performance.
Now the Sea Eagles will look to build their own dynasty, and for me that starts with next year and their pre season. They are a privately owned clubs and they shoudl refuse to play in any ridiculous exhibition matches that will hurt their pre season.
I wouldn’t be surprise if Manly still look to sign Todd Carney for the 2009 season. He will make the team younger and be more settled in big games than Matt Orford. I also wouldn’t be surprise if 2008 is Jamie Lyons last season at the club.
I think loyalty will be a big thing for this group of players though and I don’t think the salary cap will hit the Sea Eagles as hard as it has past champion sides.
As for the Storm, I think they need to take a step back. I still think they will be a top four side next year but I think having to chase someone else for once will do them the world of good.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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