Half Way Through

With 10 rounds gone and the mid-season break behind us, it's time to deliver our report card on the Manly Marlins. Adam Lucius spoke to head coach Tim Lane.

 

AL: How would you sum up the season to date?

TL: We are going along okay at 7 and 3. We probably should have beaten Souths and Easts and made it 9 and 1 but we didn't. They were opportunities lost. We've had players coming in and out of the side and that's been frustrating not having the same team each week. It's been difficult to get that continuity but a lot of clubs could say the same thing.

AL: Are you pretty much where you thought you'd be at this stage?

TL: Like I said, we should have won a couple more but to be there where we are is pretty pleasing given the turnover of players. We have struggled to play a full 80 minutes but that's also understandable given all the chopping and changing. I'd hoped and expected we'd be in the top two or three and that's where we find ourselves.  

AL: And the highlights over the first 10 rounds?

TL: Obviously any time you beat Sydney Uni is special so that is the obvious standout. Wins like that can shape a season. As any Manly fan will tell you, beating Warringah is right up there as well. Our second half against them was very good. But I am hoping - and I am confident - there are even better days ahead.  

AL: Who are the players who have impressed you?

TL: Cotts has been very good for us. BJ Hartmann has shown he has enormous potential. Lui Siale's been very, very strong. Cadeyrn Neville has stood out, Kotoni Ale's been consistent, Eddie Aholelei's been solid, as has Ed Gower. Everyone has put their hand up. Once we get everyone back and develop a rhythm then I think we are going to be a pretty good team.

AL: You've played every club bar Randwick, who do you see as Manly's biggest threats?     

TL: Eastwood are obviously the benchmark at the moment. The day we played them the ground wasn't in great condition and dictated how we played the game. It probably wasn't a great indication of what we can do. We missed a few opportunities there and they had a couple of iffy calls go their way. They are a very good team and have been going along nicely but I don't think they are unbeatable. Obviously they will get a few players back but so will Randwick, Eastern Suburbs, Uni, Southern Districts. The top five teams are going to be pretty strong a few weeks down the track.

AL: And what about Manly in the second half of the season?

TL: We will be stronger too. Just looking at some of the guys due back...Hegarty, Hooper, Coleman, Andrew Smith, Tyrone Smith and Jono Owen. It's going to be a bit of a juggling act fitting them all in but it's a nice problem to have. We'll be keeping a couple of guys fresh each week and that's a great position to be in when you come to the end of a long season. People will have their thoughts about where we should or might finish but it's a bit early for rash predictions. Let's just say we'd be disappointed not to finish up somewhere in that leading pack.  

AL: Finally, how have you found life back in the Shute Shield after a 14-year absence?

TL: It's been very good. Not much has changed. Some of the same old faces are still here. The club is probably stronger as a whole than what it was in '97. We're doing well through all the grades and the colts. The (first grade) colts hadn't beaten Uni in 10 years before last week so that was a great boost for them and the club. It shows we're in great shape for the future. The nucleus of the first grade side is very young so I think the club will be very strong for many, many years. I am really enjoying it and the support we are getting has been fantastic. The boys love playing in front of the locals at Manly Oval and we're hoping they have plenty more to cheer about over the coming weeks and months.

Lane laments blown chances

By Adam Lucius

A missed sideline conversion with time up cost Manly the chance to snatch an undeserved draw with Randwick in a high-scoring affair at Coogee Oval on Saturday.

Ben Seymour pushed his attempt just wide of the posts after Cadeyrn Neville had scored to make it 33-31 in the dying seconds.

It was one of several costly misses from the fly-half, who has been struggling with the boot in recent weeks.

The Marlins trailed Randwick all game but to their credit fought back late to almost share the points.

They scored five tries to three and finished with two bonus points, ending the day in third place on the Shute Shield table.

Try-scoring machine Eddie Aholelei finished with a double, fellow front-rower Dane Maraki touched down for the first time in Manly colours and Chris Yarrington and Neville also crossed.  

Seymour conceded: "We probably didn't deserve the draw.

"We just handed them the game though mistakes and not taking the right options.

"Tim (Lane) was very disappointed with our performance as he should have been.

"Losses like this can come back to hurt you at finals time."

Seymour shouldered some of the blame, admitting his misfiring right boot is a major cause for concern.

"I'm not kicking well and it's something I've got to rectify," he declared.

"I'm a bit low on confidence and not striking the ball well.

"I know where I'm going wrong and I'm just going to have to work hard to fix the problem."

 Manly were their own worst enemy, constantly forced to fight their way back into the contest after gifting Randwick points.

Four penalties in the second half accounted for 12 of the Galloping Greens' points, with Lane frustrated by his team's lack of discipline and poor ball control.

"We did enough in the game to win by 20 points but bombed at least three clear cut try-scoring opportunities," Lane lamented.

"It was not of the standard we set ourselves each week."

 Manly are back at home to face Gordon next Saturday, with Lane hopeful of regaining one or two of his Super Rugby reps.

Manly Remembers Two of Its Greatest

Manly Rugby Club is mourning the sad passing of club legends Bill Pattinson and Rex Mossop.

 

Pattinson, 85, was one of Manly rugby’s biggest supporters and The Pattinson Trust of which Bill was a beneficiary, has contributed over $1 million since becoming a sponsor in 1991. Bill, a life member was a regular at the Oval and his cheerful presence will be sadly missed by all rugby lovers.

 

Mossop, 83, was a dual international representing Australia in both Union and League. He started his illustrious football career at Manly Rugby, making his 1st grade debut aged 16. From there Mossop played for the Wallabies before a successful career in Rugby League as a player and as a charismatic commentator. More recently Mossop was named in Manly Rugby’s team of the century.

 

The pair will be remembered at Manly Oval this Saturday for the game against Gordon with all Manly players wearing black arm bands and observing a minutes silence before 1st grade.

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