Second half blitz blows Pirates away

By Adam Lucius

It took a while to get going but the real Manly eventually stood up to overcame a sloppy first half and run out comfortable 34-10 victors over West Harbour at Concord Oval on Saturday.

The win keeps Tim Lane's men in second spot with five rounds remaining. 

The Marlins looked off the pace early, suggesting Wednesday night's win over Easts may have taken more out of them than we thought.

A Tevita Metuisela try off the back of the scrum helped them hold the Pirates to a 10-all scoreline at the break, but it was far from convincing stuff.

Lane implored his team to show more patience with the ball, predicting the big Wests pack would wilt in the warmish conditions late in the game.

He was right.

It was a different Manly after the break.

Second half tries to Neil Meyer, who had a terrific match, Dylan Sigg, JP du Plessis and Jacob Woodhouse saw the travelling side clear out to what was a very convincing win in the end.

Apart from Meyer, prop Dane Maraki and Michael Hooper handed in strong contributions while prop Andrew Collins continues to make a good first of life in the Shute Shield.

There wasn't a bad player in the backline.

Centres Ben Seymour and Andrew Smith complement each other superbly, while Du Plessis and Woodhouse were a danger with every touch.

"We wanted to come away with a bonus point win but they just don't roll over and let you take it out here," Lane said.

"You've got to work hard to get there but I always thought we always had their measure.

"We had to be more precise and composed in the second half and we managed to do that."

Smith had arguably his best game in a Manly jersey.

With the return of Brian Sefanaia and Robbie Coleman just around the corner, Smith acknowledges the heat will be on those out wide to stay consistent.   

"There are a lot of good players out there and a few good ones to come back," he noted.

"It's a very talented side and the depth is good. There is always competition so if you're off your game you could find yourself on the bench.

"We've definitely got the players to do something this year but it's just a matter of working on the combinations.

"If we can do that and get everything working for 80 minutes, we'll be a strong contender."

Manly host last-placed Penrith at the Village Green next Saturday



Another sad day for Manly Rugby


By John Morcombe

HIGHLY-RESPECTED Manly dentist John Begg died on Saturday, aged 87, after a short illness.

Dr Begg was well known through his dentistry practice in The Corso, where he offered services to those who otherwise could not have afforded them and also helped indigenous people on Bathurst Island and children who visited the Royal Far West Home.

He was also well known for his involvement in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Manly for nearly 80 years, where he served as an elder for more than 36 years and as the church’s session clerk for more than 16 years, and for his involvement in the Lions Club and Manly Rugby Union Club.

Born in 1924, Dr Begg enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942, served as a navigator aboard mainly American Liberators and rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant with 5 Operational Training Unit before his discharge in 1946.

At the same time, Dr Begg played for Manly Rugby Union Club, notching up at least 20 first grade games.

After the war Dr Begg studied dentistry at Sydney University and started practice on the Dental Train, which travelled to outback towns where there was no local dentists, before moving to England.

After marrying his wife Eileen, a dental nurse, the couple returned to Australia and Dr Begg bought a dental practice in The Corso.

Initially he and his wife lived at Frenchs Forest but then moved to Balgowlah.

Last year Dr Begg was honoured by Manly Council as an outstanding community volunteer.

Dr Begg’s son said that in his 87 years, his father never made a single enemy.

“He was very kind and gentle, and he lived for his family and the community,” he said.

Manly Mayor Jean Hay said Dr Begg would be sorely missed around Manly.

“He was a highly-respected member of the community and a lovely gentleman,” she said.

Flying Wingers leave the Nest

By Adam Lucius

First the good news.

Manly wingers Lui Siale and JP du Plessis scored seven tries between them as Manly routed Penrith 85-7 on Saturday to maintain second spot on the Shute Shield table.

Now for the bad news.

Both Du Plessis and Siale have played their last games in Manly colours.

Du Plessis is returning to his native South Africa to take up a contract with Super Rugby outfit the Stormers.

The popular Siale shocked teammates after the Penrith game by telling them he was leaving for France after signing up a two-year deal with a club in Toulouse.

Du Plessis only played a handful of games for the Marlins, while Siale gave great value over 104 games.

Both players will be sorely missed.

"I got a bit emotional. It's been a great ride the whole way," Siale said seconds after announcing his decision.

"I can't think of a better place to play football than Manly.

"The way we are going at the moment...second place on the table and getting some momentum going forward towards the semis (does make it hard to leave).

"I was hoping to get into the Super 15s but that didn't eventuate so I've got to take this opportunity to go overseas.

"I've got to make the most of it. I'll see how it goes.

"The club's got a lot of depth. It's a bit hard leaving but I am sure the boys will be fine."

Du Plessis added: "I am done in Australia for now.

"It was a good experience playing in Australia and I am really grateful for the opportunity.

"Hopefully I will be back sometime in the future."

BJ Hartmann, Brian Sefanaia and Jacob Woodhouse loom as the logical back three options for coach Tim Lane in the run to the finals.

Siale and Du Plessis had a friendly bet before the Penrith game, wagering on who would finish with the most tries.

The South African got the cash, his four-try effort just eclipsing Siale's hat-trick.

Manly scored 13 tries in all, some the result of poor defence but others on the back of some brilliant attacking play.

The Emus tried hard as always but were simply outclassed.

Manly led 59-0 at the break and kept the foot down in the second half to bolster their for and against column.

Fly-half Ben Seymour finished with a personal tally of 25 points after booting 10 conversions and scoring a try.

Centre Robbie Coleman looked sharp in his comeback match, scoring a try and looking dangerous with every touch. 

Manly's task gets a whole lot harder over the final month of the regular season, with Norths (away), Souths (home), Uni (away) and Randwick (home) awaiting. 

Kotoni kills off Shoremen

By Adam Lucius

Manly players have made a pact to extend their winning run all the way to the end of the regular season to ensure they secure a break in the first week of the finals.

After seeing off Northern Suburbs 34-29 in a see-sawing affair at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, the second-placed Marlins immediately turned their attention to a critical three-week period in which they will play three teams either in the top six or just outside.

They host seventh-placed Southern Districts next Saturday before taking on Sydney Uni (third) and Randwick (fifth).

Manly are two points ahead of the Students, with the August 28 clash at Uni Oval shaping as the pivotal match.

If the Marlins finish in the top two they will go straight through to week two of the play-offs and the grand final qualifier.       

"We've spoken a lot about staying in that top two so we get the week off in the first week of the finals," breakaway Kotoni Ale said minutes after his man-of-the-match performance against Norths.

"The run home is not easy but the good thing is it's all in our hands.

"If we win them all then we stay second.

"That's why (Norths) was an important win. It was a good effort from all the boys."

The lead changed hands four times in an entertaining match at North Sydney Oval but in the end the better side came out on top.

Manly scored five tries to two and overcame a heavy 12-4 penalty count against them en route to their fourth straight win.

They led 14-0 early before handing Norths points and finding themselves down 20-19 at the break.

The Shoremen extended their advantage with a penalty goal just after the interval before Ale stepped up to centre stage.

He scored on 53 minutes and just moments later turned acrobat to break clear down the right and dance away from the sideline before passing inside for Jacob Woodhouse to score.

Manly stayed in front for the rest of the game despite two more Norths penalties eating away at their' advantage.

Woodhouse (2), Ale, James Hilterbrand and Ben Seymour were the try scorers.

"We're down on troops at the moment so every win we get in this period is invaluable," Manly coach Tim Lane said.

"We gifted them points through two soft tries but overall it was a very good performance.

"Kotoni was outstanding and so was 'Cecil' (James Hilterbrand) at tight head. All the forwards were very good."

Looking ahead at the tough run home, Lane continued: "We have got ourselves in a good position and the ball is now in our court.

"We've got eight guys away or unavailable but we will slowly start to get a few of them back over the next couple of weeks.

"The Uni game looms as the big one but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."