2017 - A New Dawn for Colts?

With two out of three wins at the weekend, and with third grade colts recording their first victory in over a year at Keirle Park on Saturday vs Souths, there is a quiet optimism in the Colts camp. So what’s happened, and what does the season have in store? Let’s find out from our Colts Head Coach, Dave Mills.

So Millsy, tell us what’s different this year?
It’s basically all about depth. There is no doubt that last year was a tough year, but we have been working hard during the off season to extend our networks, talking to local schools and with player and coach connections to ensure that we have got the depth required to make a difference across all three grades. We have had some new recruits that have chosen Manly and already have started to shine, and we have some players who stuck with it last season and will now come of age.

So tell us about these new recruits.
We have Jack Veitch who is a country boy joining us from Tamworth, and we have Angus Burns, a prop who has come up from Wogga. Both have already made a huge difference to the squad, and are names in the first grade starting 15 this weekend versus Sydney University. Then we have boys like Lachie Armstrong, who as a Bally Boys student who has yet to reach his 18th birthday, will be planning to add to the illustrious Marlins alumni, and has already shown very positive signs.

But not forgetting the boys who slogged it out with us last season. Players like Kai Lackner who came up from South Australia early last year who committed and worked hard to develop himself as a player despite not coming off the field with a win as frequently as he’d hoped or deserved. Those guys will definitely be rewarded as we progress this year.

How about the coaching staff?
We’ve been lucky to maintain some continuity with our coaching staff, with the addition of some new faces. Alongside Rob Gallacher, Alex Prendergast, Tim Herbert, Tommy Clifford and myself, new to the team are Tom Crerar from NSW Rugby and Rory Toemoe from Lindfield who will be making a difference with our third grade. We are also joined by Wallabies analyst Damon Edmonds who will be adding an extra layer of expertise and detail to support our coaching staff.

So things are definitely moving forward!
Yes, and culturally we have made big steps as well. The performance culture that we have established through the players commitment to training together at the gym has been significant. We have 20 players who are consistently and frequently training together at the gym with our new strength and conditioning coach Max Braham, which, when translated to the field means that things can only get better.

This is however still very much a work in progress. The Colts team has made a commitment to contribute to the Club’s number one objective of winning the club championship in the forthcoming years. Throughout our three grades we are dedicated to this, both in terms of adding to the points tally, but also by providing a robust platform from which the grade players will develop.

This weekend will be a great challenge for us. The boys are looking forward to heading down to Sydney University. I'm particularly interested to see how our third grade boys go as they are high on confidence after their trial and round one wins. Watch this space.

Click here for the Marlins Draw 2017

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Gutsy Marlins return home with maximum points

By Adam Lucius
 
What: Shute Shield round 1
Who: Southern Districts v Manly
Where: Forshaw Rugby Park
Result: Manly 35-17
Manly are where on the table: Fourth (5 points)
 
80 minutes in 80 seconds: After a 259-day/eight and a half month wait, the men in blue were finally back in action. The first scoreless 25 minutes gave no real indication of the points to come as both teams felt each other out. Souths were the first to score 15 minutes before the break, taking advantage of Manly being down to 14 men with Kotoni Ale binned. But just two minutes later – with Ale back in action – Manly grabbed the lead via a converted penalty try. The Marlins weren't to be headed from there. Two tries in three minutes early in the second half – Dennis Pili-Gaitau grabbing one and Sam Lane the other - helped the visitors out to a 21-5 lead.  Souths hit back with a try on 67 minutes but a late Tommy Chesters double saw them off and earned the Marlins a bonus point into the bargain.   
 
Where it was won: We all know games go for 80 minutes but this one was arguably won and lost in the first 20. Manly was being hammered 9-1 in the penalties and had Ale in the bin during the first quarter of the match but only conceded the one try. It was a monumental defensive performance. Sam Lane's 5/5 with the boot was also critical.      
 
Marlins' best: Sam Lane, Adrian Hall, Sio Tatola   
 
What they said: "We competed well for the full 80 minutes and won the moments that mattered. There's a fair bit of room for improvement but it's a hard place to win, so to come away with five points is very pleasing." – Manly coach Brian 'Billy' Melrose   
 
Where to from here: It's perennial powerhouse Sydney Uni at Manly Oval on Saturday 
 

Click here for the Marlins Draw 2017

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The Marlins Kick Off the Season & Announce the Round 1 Team

 
On Sunday, the Marlins kicked of the 2017 Premier Rugby season at the Manly Bowling Club in front of a strong crowd of supporters, sponsors, players & coaches! Certainly there was a clear sense of community around the room and Club President Anthony Bergelin made note of the diverse attendance
“We have a renewed focus on our engagement with the Manly community and we look forward to rewarding all of our supporters with an improved match day experience both at the Oval and post-game here at the Bowling Club”. In attendance were Directors from the Mounties Group the club's Major Sponsor as well as gold sponsors and a host of businesses, many local, who have taken back of jersey sponsorships. 
 
Head Coach Brian ‘Billy’ Melrose said the squad was in good shape for kick off but pointed out that there are a number of very strong teams in the competition and it is as tight as he has ever seen it. Melrose also pointed out that he is after improvement first & foremost
“The reality is we finished 7th in 2016 and looking at the teams ahead I can’t see any of them going backwards, so we either improve or we stay 7th”. He also encouraged fans to travel to watch the team throughout the season “I live in Manly & I know how wonderful life is by the beach but the reality is the competition is played all over Sydney and if our supporters want success then we have to get along and support the team away from Manly Oval - as hard as it is to leave!!”  
 
The 1st Grade team selected to face Souths on Saturday saw the welcome inclusion of Dennis Pili-Gaitau who has returned to the Marlins following a stint at the Rebels. The team also includes 3 players from New Zealand making their debut for the Marlins, brothers Gunnz and Kevin Fuavao from Auckland, and Cam Bailey. 
 
Bailey, who arrives from Christchurch said "I am definately excited about the opportunity to wear the Marlins Jersey with the history that comes with it. My family are heading over from Christchurch, and I hope to do them and the club proud on Saturday"
 
The Marlins always welcome the support of their loyal fans whilst on the road, so head down to Forshaw on Saturday to start the season off with a bang!
 
 

Click here for the Marlins Draw 2017

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Click Here for the full Shute Shield Draw