Forward thinking Marlins smash the Rats

By Adam Lucius

We're not how sure how he fared with the ladies or with the free vodka at the Rat Park bar on Saturday night, but Danny Cipriani's first taste of life as a Warringah player started with a loss as Manly's recent domination in the local derby continued.

The Marlins led from start to finish to record a 32-15 bonus point victory before a big crowd of around 5000 on a glorious day at Pittwater Rugby Park.

Tim Lane's men now sit outright second on the Shute Shield table, 14 points behind runaway leaders Eastwood.

Cipriani showed glimpses of class, producing a couple of clever passes and kicking intelligently.

The former England international's much-maligned defence also stood up to the test despite having plenty of traffic directed his way.

After surviving a post-match photo shoot with a starstruck Bronwyn Bishop, Cipriani said of Manly: "The fly-half (Ben Seymour) played well, the centres ran strongly and the forwards were very good.

"They are a very strong team. They gelled really well."

As for the local derby, he said: "I was told a lot about it before the game. There's obviously always rivalry when Warringah plays Manly.

"I could hear the crowd - there was a lot of support for Manly - but I really enjoyed the whole day.

"We didn't win but it was a good hitout."

Manly looked up for this one right from the outset, Tevita Metusiela scoring the first of his three tries 13 minutes in courtesy of Seymour's lovely delayed pass.

Breakaway Kotoni Ale doubled the advantage midway through the half following sustained Manly pressure before Josh Holmes pulled one back for the Rats.

Metuisela's double helped the Marlins to a 21-7 half-time lead and they then braced themselves for the inevitable Warringah resurgence.

The hosts got back to 21-15 at one stage but that was to be as close as they would get as Manly scored again through Metuisela and cleared away to make it two for two over their northern rivals this year.

Metuisela had to go back to his childhood to remember the last time he scored a hat-trick but he modestly rejected the hero tag.        

"It was a team effort. I was just on the spot," the Western Force backrower smiled.

"It was a bit scrappy at times but it was a good win.

"We knew they'd get a bit more ball in the second half and the tide would turn with the referee.

"It's always good to come back and play with Manly and any local derby win is good.

"If we can keep ticking over the wins then we will be looking at a top two finish."

Coach Lane was delighted with the upturn in intensity following the previous week's escape against Gordon.

"It was much better. There was a lot more urgency and focus," he said.

"The first half was awesome and defensively we were very good in the second half.

"We always knew it was going to be a tough afternoon and so it turned out but we are very happy to drive away from here with a win and the bonus point."

Manly had a host of good performers, none better than the indefatigable Metuisela.

Second-rowers Ed Gower and Cadeyrn Neville were excellent value, while flankers Dylan Sigg and Kotoni Ale were also outstanding.

Seymour was in great touch, Andrew Smith made constant inroads at centre in his first club game of the year and Marshall Milroy at fullback made the difficult look easy in another classy display.

Somehow the atmosphere won't quite be the same when Manly travel to Granville Park to take on unpredictable Parramatta next Saturday.

The Two Blues are coming off an incredible 71-40 to Randwick after the score was locked 33-all at half-time.

Ripia arrives in Manly

By Adam Lucius

The Manly Marlins have pulled off a major mid-season coup, snaring gun Western

Force fly-half Willie Ripia.

The goalkicking No.10 will come off the bench against Parramatta and is set to

play a huge part in Manly’s run to the finals.

Marlins No8 and Western Force team-mate Tevita Metuisela recommend Manly to

Ripia and the deal was done at the completion of the Perth club’s season.

Coach Tim Lane is delighted to snare such a quality player.  

“He will be here for training Tuesday night so we’ll get straight into it,” he said.

“Benny Seymour played really well for us on Saturday and will start against Parra and we’ll

bring Willie off the bench and give him a feel.

“Willie’s played a couple of seasons of Super Rugby and is a very experienced player who will bring a lot to the team.

“He’s a very good goalkicker, he kicks well in general play, he runs the ball, he’s got a good passing game and

defensively he is very good.

“It’s a very good pick up for us at this stage of the season and gives us two quality fly halves.”    

Vale Bernie Bergelin

VALE BERNIE BERGELIN

The Manly Rugby Club is today in mourning as it woke up to the news of the passing of one of its rugby royalty.

Bernie Bergelin finally succumbed to an illness that he had battled for some time. His passing will be mourned by the Manly Rugby community for some time to come.

Bernie however leaves behind a wonderful legacy because he and his wife, Deanne - herself part of Manly Rugby’s history - have both sons, Anthony and Harry involved with the Manly club.

Anthony is the second grade five eighth and Manly Rugby Club captain whilst Harry, who is still a Colt, is a second grade flanker, who scored a great try when he came on the field in first grade last weekend.

Manly Rugby President, Mark McKenzie said today: "The boys, Anthony and Harry, along with their mother, Deanne, sister Laura and grandmother, Anne Hill, will always ensure that the spirit Bernie is well represented at Manly Oval, when the Marlins play, for a long time to come.

Bernie Bergelin came from the St Matthews Club as a junior to the Manly Rugby Club in the 60’s. 

Over a 20-year period he went on to play 214 first grade games for Manly. He was the captain for a record 122 first grade games and appeared in two grand finals, both lost to Randwick in the 70’s and 80’s.

Bernie Bergelin was a well deserved Life Member of the Manly Rugby Club and coached the first grade side in 1996.

“Bernie was always on hand to support his sons and the club and never refrained from giving his views, which invariably helped to improve us as a club. He will be greatly missed,” McKenzie said.  

For further information contact Mark McKenzie, President MRFC on mobile: 0407433545

Funeral to be held at St Marys Catherderal on Thursday morning the 13th July 2011 at 10:30am

Willie fits in perfectly

 By Adam Lucius

"You can never have enough Willies."

In case you were wondering, Manly assistant coach Damien Cummins was talking about Willie Ripia after the Western Force fly-half made a faultless debut for the Marlins in their 38-10 win over Parramatta at Granville on Saturday.

Ripia was called into action after just 25 minutes when Joe Christie went down with injury, slotting in at No.10 and making an impact with his very first touch.  

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Lui Siale making one of his trade mark breaks

His pass to Andrew Smith helped put Lui Siale away in the corner - and a new Manly star was born. He then potted a terrific sideline conversion - one of four kicks he landed (from five attempts) in windy conditions.

Turtle is right - you can never have enough Willies in one side.

"I haven't played in a while so it was good to test the lungs and see what the quality of rugby is like," Ripia said as he took in the scenic surrounds of Granville Rugby Park at fulltime. "They (Manly) look a pretty good side and I'm sure we can improve on that once we get a few more games under our belt. "I'm enjoying my time so far and look forward to playing the rest of the season with these boys."

Marlins skipper Chris Cottee received a first-hand look at Ripia when he joined Western Force on a short-term deal last month. And he liked what he saw in their first game together. "Willie's a great player. He controlled the game very well," Cottee said. "That's what we expected from him given his reputation and he delivered. "He's going to be a great asset, especially in the big end of season games."

On a cold and blustery day in Sydney's west, Manly took a while to warm up against a committed Two Blues outfit. But once they got going there was only going to be one result, despite the ground announcer telling the crowd we were in for a 'titanic struggle'. It was 12-3 at the break and the Marlins eased  away to a comfortable win despite being hammered 17-4 in the penalties and turning over possession on 29 occasions. 

Tries to Siale, Tevita Metiusela, his fourth in two games, the ever-improving Cadeyrn Neville, Ben Seymour, Neil Meyer and Harry Bergelin sealed a bonus point victory that keeps Manly in second spot.      

"It's always a scrappy affair out here," Cottee said. "We got better the longer the game went on. Our reserves gave us great impact off the bench. "That was very pleasing."

Cummins added: "It's always a tough one. It's always a challenge out here, especially when the barbecue is  sizzling louder than the crowd. "We got better the longer the game went on. It was a good performance."

The front-row of Jono Owen, Elvis Taione and Dane Maraki were outstanding, as was Neville. Seymour was terrific despite being shifted to inside centre early, while Smith was dangerous every time he touched the ball. And Meyer and Bergelin added plenty when they were introduced in the second half.   

Next Saturday is the big one - undefeated Eastwood at TG Millner Field. The Marlins must win if they are entertain any thought of snatching the minor premiership.