After a huge day last weekend against the ol’foe Warringah Rats with all MMM grade teams winning, its been all about getting re-focused for expected big clashes with the Easts Beasts.
1st Grade is now lying 4th in the table and Easts are 6th, one point behind. Easts lost a close game to Randwick last weekend 34-31. They have had some tight games against the top end teams including a win over Souths. So no push overs.
The MMMs 2nd grade is second to Easts on the table. The top of the table clash will be huge.
“It has been coming together in 2nds and we have slowly been building,” said 2nd grade No7 Mitch Daniel.
Second grade squeezed home against the Rats. It was a tense, low scoring affair. The MMMs got up 6-3 against a side that appeared to have more possession and territory.
“It was a tight game, as they always are,” said Mitch.
“It has been good at training. We are good mates and enjoy our footy,” Mitch continued about preparations for Easts.
Sam Blanchet who has been playing blindside flanker in 2nds is returning to the UK after being concussed against the Rats. Unfortunately his season is over. He has been a good asset for the club making a number of appearances in 1st grade and showed some aggressive, direct running plus being tough in defence. Club stalwart Brad Meaney comes in at No 6.
“The front row has been a bit light but it was good when John Baranyi came on,” continued Mitch. Baranyi makes a start at prop in 2nds this weekend.
Third grade has also been looking strong and are 3rd on the table, one point ahead of Easts. Finally, fourths are 5th on the table and Easts top. All meaningful games across the grades.
Mitch Daniel played junior rugby at the Roos club with many players from his time there now playing grade footy at Manly. He went on to have 4 seasons in Colts before moving through the grades.
“It is great to be with your mates who you have grown up with. The club has a good culture,” open side flanker Mitch said about the Marlins. “There are always changes throughout the season with players getting injured and coming back. Sometimes players may not be happy but it is good that there is the competition for places. It is part of the dynamic.
“Second grade is a fit and mobile team. In the Manly tradition, we love to run the ball,” Mitch commented about the second grade team this year.
Mitch was a key player in second grade Grand Final win in 2014. “It would be good to do that again this season.”
“It was a special team last year,” Mitch said about the first grade team that narrowly lost the Grand Final. Mitch stepped into Kotoni Ale’s shoes after his injury in the Rats game last year and played well through the rest of the season. He is a mobile No7 with no compromise approach to the breakdown.
There are still limited spots available at this year's annual Sporting Lunch.
To reserve your space, visit trybooking.com/186587
By Adam Lucius
What: Shute Shield round nine
Who: Manly v Warringah
Where: Manly Oval
Result: Manly 25-19
Manly are where on the table: Third (31 points)
80 minutes in 80 seconds: (Ex) Prime Ministers, Premiers, former Wallabies and Manly/Warringah old boys joined a crowd estimated at around 5-6000 at a packed Village Green to witness the 87th edition of the local derby. And just like it has been since day one, it was fierce and full of passion from the get-go. The Marlins were by far the better team in the first half, skipping out to a 22-5 halftime lead on the back of tries to Richie Hooper, Josh Turner and Adrian Hall. You sensed a strong start to the second half would put Manly on course for a comfortable win but there is no certainty when it comes to the local derby. The Rats scored within two minutes of the second half and kept coming. The Marlins' only points of the second half – a Sam Lane penalty – gave us some breathing space but Warringah would not go away. They scored back-to-back tries to draw to within six points, setting up a tense finish. The Rats won a scrum against the feed 10m out from the Manly with time up and then forced a penalty. But the Marlins held them out to kick-start a big night of celebrations at the bowlo. Phew!
Where it was won: Once again Manly's first half gave them a great foundation but the second half drop offs continue to give Turtle grey hairs. The Marlins dug deep in the last 10 to secure a dramatic win. Centre Dennis Pili-Gaitau was disallowed a legitimate try in the 47th minute. If it had been awarded, it would have kept the sweat count down at the end.
Marlins' best: Adrian Hall, Dennis Pili-Gaitau, Junior Palau, Mitch Lewis, Hayden Stringer, Ethan Uili.
What they said: "It was a good vibe. There was plenty of intensity but it was edge of the seat stuff there at the end. Our second half definitely needs improvement but it was good to get the win for this big crowd." – second-rower Adrian Hall
"The first half was great, really good, and they had no answer to us. But credit to them for making it close at the end. Anyway, we won and they didn't." – Coach Damien Cummins
"It was good to get back out there. There were a few emotions but I was more excited than nervous. It's good to get that run under my belt." – comeback king Kotoni Ale
Oddspot: There are some young Warringah supporters who have never seen their team win at Manly Oval. The Rats' last victory at the Village Green was way back in 2007. The overall record now stands at 50 wins to Manly against Warringah's 35 with two draws. Long may the local derby continue.
Where to from here: It's across the bridge to meet Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval on Saturday