Storm clouds hang over Manly's season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm clouds hang over Manly's season

By Guy Hand 06/09/2003 10:49:16 PM Comments (0)

Manly's dismal National Rugby League season ended in shame, with one player sent off, another put on report and a 40-10 shellacking from finals-bound Melbourne at Olympic Park.

The Storm will now play the loser of Sunday's Canberra-Roosters match in Friday night's first qualifying final after thumping the 12-man Sea Eagles to seal fifth position.

Melbourne ran in seven tries to two against a Manly side which lost all chance after fullback Albert Torrens was sent off after just 10 minutes.

Torrens pole-axed Melbourne fullback Billy Slater with a crude head-high tackle and referee Paul Simpkins had no hesitation dismissing the Manly player.

Simpkins also placed Manly centre Ben MacDougall on report for a late hit on Storm forward Mitchell Sargent in the second half.

The loss continued Manly's poor finish to the season. The Sea Eagles have lost 10 of their past 11 matches, including their last six straight to finish second last on the NRL table.

Departing Manly coach Peter Sharp said the loss was a disappointing end to his reign at the club.

"Having said that, we have played the top four sides in consecutive weeks, we've had a lot of injuries and that came back to haunt us at the end," Sharp said.

Storm five-eighth Matt Geyer scored two tries as his side tuned up for an unlikely finals appearance in a season in which it has been heavily hit by injuries and forced to blood more rookies than any other NRL club.

Another graduate from the Storm's youthful production line, centre Matt King, capped off an outstanding full debut with a try, while veteran winger Marcus Bai farewelled his home crowd on a winning note.

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