Marlins hold off Wicks to make it six on the trot

By Adam Lucius
What: Shute Shield round 6
Who: Manly v Randwick
Where: Manly Oval
Result: Manly 46-27
Manly are where on the table: Equal First (30 points)
 
80 minutes in 80 seconds: The Wicks arrived at Manly with four wins from five and were quietly confident they could be the first team this year to leave the Village Green with the four competition points. That confidence looked well founded when the visitors jumped out to a 13-5 lead midway through the first half. But Manly held their composure and, with the forwards gaining the ascendency, began the fightback. Two tries and a long distance Matt Lucas penalty had the hosts ahead 20-13 by halftime. The Marlins jumped all over the Galloping Greens to open the second half, adding two further tries for a 32-13 advantage. Randwick threatened to mount a late comeback but Melrose's men held their nerve to secure win No.6 in a row. Nick Holton and Adrian Hall bagged doubles, while Ryan Melrose, Cam Bailey and Josh Turner picked up five pointers
 
Where it was won: There are big moments in every match but the effort of fullback Josh Turner to turn, chase 90m and run down the Wicks fullback following an intercept early in the game spoke volumes about the Marlins' commitment. Turner's effort set the tone for the rest of the game.
   
Marlins' best: Josh Turner, Adrian Hall, Kevin Fuavao   
 
What they said: "The boys are playing some good footy against good sides. Randwick kept coming at us and we probably shouldn't have been made to sweat as much as we did, but it was good we closed it out."  - halfback Matt Lucas
        
Odd Spot: There was a gentle whisper going around the Village Green that one Michael Hooper may be available for the Marlins this coming Saturday, given the Tahs have a bye. At the time of writing there had been no confirmation either way, but we live in hope
 
Where to from here: The Marlins are back at home against premiers Northern Suburbs this Saturday. It's the clash of the Shute Shield's two undefeated teams
 

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Marlins stretch unbeaten run to four with home win over Easts

By Adam Lucius
What: Shute Shield round 4
Who: Manly v Eastern Suburbs
Where: Manly Oval
Result: Manly 26-17
Manly are where on the table: Equal First (20 points)
 
80 minutes in 80 seconds: Coach Brian Melrose indicated it had been a far from smooth preparation leading into this one and that was evident in a somewhat clunky performance. The hosts led 12-3 at the break and did just enough in the second half to keep Easts at arm's length while collecting two further tries for a bonus point win. This one won’t form part of a collectors' box set of Marlins classic, but we'll take the five points and move on.    
 
Where it was won: Although Easts scored two late tries, this win was again built on Manly's iron-clad defence. The Beasties were kept try-less until the 74th minute and never really threatened to pinch the game. The Marlins were hit and miss in attack but their dedication to the D (defence) cannot be questioned. You will not score an easy try against the men in blue   
   
Marlins' best: Sio Tatola, Daniel Alley, Tom Chesters   
 
What they said: "We had a very disrupted prep and I thought we were a bit off. I have to take responsibility for what was a scratchy performance . I did not prepare them well enough. We will need to be better next week to turn around the club's recent history against Eastwood . It's an exciting challenge." – Manly coach Brian Melrose 
        
Odd Spot: It was great to see the Manly Mermaids in action before the main game. The girls put on a terrific display of 7s rugby to beat Easts 25-0.     
 
Where to from here: After three weeks at Manly Oval, the Marlins hit the road to take on 2015 grand final rivals Eastwood at TG Millner. 
 

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Marlins school the Students in triumphant home return

By Adam Lucius
 
What: Shute Shield round 2
Who: Manly vs Sydney University
Where: Manly Oval
Result: Manly 36-10
 
Manly are where on the table: Equal First (10 points)
80 minutes in 80 seconds: With a delicious Marlin burger and cold drinks in hand, a good-sized Manly Oval crowd welcomed the men in blue onto Manly Oval for the first time since mid-July. Most of were expecting a tough and willing encounter against the Shute Shield powerhouse, underlined by a scoreless opening 18 minutes. A try to James 'Cecil' Hilterbrand from a driving maul got the Marlins going and the points kept coming. Further first half tries to Tom Chesters and Ryan Melrose had the hosts 19-0 up at the break and looking the goods. Things got a little scrappy early in the second half before the Marlins clicked back into gear, scoring another three tries – some of them absolute beauties. Check out the YouTube highlights and see attacking rugby at its best. The Marlins' defence wasn't too bad, either.         
   
 
Where it was won: Manly took control of this game midway through the first half, piling on 19 unanswered points. They lost their way a little in the second half, attempting to finesse their way to victory rather than earn the right. But once that was addressed there was only going to be one outcome. That's two wins from two (both with bonus points) against quality opposition. No wonder Manly Boom Boom could be heard all the way to Terrey Hills         
 
Marlins' best: James Hilterbrand, Cam Bailey, Kevin Fuavao, Sam Lane, Tom Chesters   
 
What they said: "We set ourselves a goal of winning all our home games and turning it into a fortress and a place other sides don’t want to visit. To put 36 points on a side like Uni is pretty special. We've surprised a few people with our start but we're not surprised. We put the work in during the pre-season and there is still room for improvement." – fly-half Sam Lane      
 
Odd Spot: The new Marlins burgers were so popular they sold out prior to kick-off, along with the Manly footy cards. The beefed-up match day experience was an all-round hit  
 
Where to from here: It's back to Manly Oval to host Parramatta on Saturday
 
 
 
 

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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.

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