Manly aim to end Olympic Park hoodoo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly aim to end Olympic Park hoodoo

By Todd Balym 10/04/2008 06:04:48 PM Comments (0)

It may not be the graveyard it once was, but Manly prop Brent Kite knows his side must break their own Olympic Park hoodoo to avoid early season premiership pressure.

The Sea Eagles and Storm both enter the grand final re-match 2-2 after indifferent starts to 2008 and Manly head to Melbourne trying to post their first win at the vaunted Olympic Park.

But Kite says the Sea Eagles have taken heart from Cronulla's gutsy 17-16 win there in round two and given the closeness of the NRL it was imperative to secure more early wins so they have some breathing space well before the run home to the finals.

"It was good to see Cronulla have a win down there to remind everyone that it can be done," said Kite.

"(The season) can get away from you real quick. Something we were fortunate to do last year was string five or six (wins) together. It just takes the pressure off.

"Sides coming in from round 15 onwards needing to win a large part of your games - there's too much pressure on the team.

"We know how important these games are and we will be looking to chalk up another win."

But Kite knows victory against the Storm requires much more than what the Sea Eagles have offered in their four previous games in 2008.

While their defence has been immaculate, they are ranked No.1 in the NRL, Manly's attack has been a concern.

Coach Des Hasler sets high standards for his team and demands a completion rate higher than 75 per cent.

But they've reached this target just once this year and it wasn't in their 10 try blitz of the Warriors but rather last week's lifeless 20-2 win over South Sydney.

Manly showed signs of better ball control but that was offset by the inability to convert field dominance into points.

Kite says the Eagles need their defence and attack to combine, and receive some luck, just to compete with the premiers.

"Our defence hasn't been a problem," he said.

"Hopefully we can keep it together down there and then string some attack together.

"In that Warriors game we scored a lot of points but I'm not sure we got there (to our targets) and against an opposition like Melbourne you've got to complete your sets just for starters.

"Then you need things to go your way and a touch of luck."

Manly veteran Steve Menzies, moved to five-eighth to re-ignite the Eagles attack, is looking forward to the early litmus test against the Storm.

"It's a good little test for us at the start of the season and to go down and play the benchmark side," said Menzies.

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