“I had made arrangements with my brother (Michael) to fly out for the final before the Scotland game (quarter final),” explained Richard. “I have never been so nervous until the ball sailed over for the final penalty!”
Richard flew over to the UK for four days to watch the final. “The atmosphere was amazing with such a rugby mad supporter base in the UK. Obviously the result wasn’t what we wanted but the tournament really put the Wallabies back on the map after a few difficult years. The celebrations were very upbeat and I had great time.”
Richard has played rugby locally since he was 10 and of course his father, Dave, was a Marlins 1st grade player back in the 80’s. He had one season in colts when the Marlins made the semi- final and then got a contract with his brother in the Brumbies academy.
The speedy winger is now approaching his 100th game in his 6th season for the Marlins. “I love playing at Manly Oval with a great bunch of guys. We have always had strong players and depth in the backs. It is good that players have gone on like Reece (Hodge), Alex Northam (Europe) and Mali Hingano (Europe and moving to Japan).”
“I hope I can continue to perform for the club and team,” said Richard.
Not only does he have the speed but also he has an elusive step that sees him either scoring or assisting with tries in most games. His defence is great and nothing depicts it more than this fantastic photo taken by Adam MacDonald on Tuesday evening vs Easts.
“It is fun to play Souths. They play a similar attacking style of footy,” said MMMs winger Richard Hooper.
Souths sit second on the table with 50 points and the MMMs back in 7th on 43. So still a tightly packed top order. They beat the MMMs in Round 1, 23-17, through a strong forwards performance.
This is an important game in the charge to the finals and the third game to be played in 8 days.
“The coaches understand this and we have reduced the workload,” said Richard. “Everyone came through uninjured from the Easts game which is good. Souths are in the same position as us having played on Tuesday night (27-8 win over West Harbour). They are a good team and consistent which is so important through the season, No doubt that they will be in contention in the finals series.”
A small crowd at the Village Green witnessed a fantastic game vs Easts on Tuesday night.
“The first 20 minutes we played well with the ball in hand,” said Richard who scored a brace of tries in that period. “The next 60 minutes was all about defence. We made around 170 tackles and managed to keep them out apart from a try late on.”
It was an awesome display of defence and an area where the MMMs needed to develop having lost a number of close games in the last 10 minutes. “It is about attitude and everyone from 1 to 15 turned up,” explained Richard.
“When we did get the ball we made uncharacteristic mistakes which allowed Easts to keep the pressure on. However, we did manage to frustrate them with our defence and the pressure told with some of their decision making.”
Lock Hayden Stringer had an outstanding game. He was spotted at Circular Quay where he works for Manly Fast Ferries in his Marlins jacket early on Wednesday morning. He explained that he fell asleep on his lounge and only just made the 615am ferry to get to work and didn’t have time to change. Hardly surprising after the effort he put in...and good promotion for the Marlins!
By Adam Lucius
Three home games in seven days – two against genuine top six contenders – always shaped as season-defining for Manly.
And the good news is the Marlins have ticked two from two heading into the toughest of the three.
An impressive 41-17 disposal of tricky Parramatta last Saturday dove-tailed into a gutsy and hard-fought 17-7 triumph over Easts in Tuesday night's deferred round 12 encounter.
Now second-placed Southern Districts at Manly Oval on Saturday stands in the way of a vital trifecta.
"We knew it was going to be a tough week but we set ourselves the challenge of winning all three games and kick-starting a move up the table," coach Damien Cummins said.
"There was a lot to like about the Parramatta game and we lifted again for Easts.
"Now we have to lift again. If we win three games in a week, I will be a very happy coach."
Manly's win over Parramatta was never in doubt after they eased to a 22-5 lead via a sizzling Josh Turner hat-trick.
Tuesday's meeting with the Beasts under the Village Green lights was a different story.
The Marlins skipped out to a handy 17-0 lead after 28 minutes on the back of two Richard Hooper tries – and then defended like their lives depended on it for the next 52 minutes.
Easts almost took out squatters' rights inside the Manly 22 for most of the second half but the Marlins repelled raid after raid.
Take a good look at Adam MacDonald's excellent photo - attached to this story – of Hooper to get a feel for how good Manly were defensively.
The Beasties did breach our line with 10 minutes to go but there was no way the hosts were going to disappointment the diehards who turned out to support them.
Turtle said: "You can tell a lot about a team by the way they defend and that spoke volumes to me.
"Awesome effort. We will need the same level of commitment against Souths."
The Marlins sit seventh on the table but can climb into the top six with victory over the in-form Rebels.
The rescheduled Round 12 games will be at Manly Oval this evening and tomorrow evening.
The Marlins narrowly lost to Easts in Round 10 and will be looking to make amends
1st Grade - 745pm, 14th June
2nd Grade - 615pm, 14th June
3rd grade - 740pm, Wednesday,15th June
4th Grade - 630pm, Wednesday,15th June