Mental toughness will win in 08: Stanton - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mental toughness will win in 08: Stanton

By Todd Balym 13/06/2008 06:45:29 PM Comments (0)

The coach who engineered one of the most remarkable premiership triumphs in league history 30 years ago believes it is going to take a similar feat of mental toughness for a champion to emerge in 2008.

Manly's 1978 premiership coach Frank Stanton says the only way to separate the teams vying for this year's title - the top 11 are within four points of each other at the midway point of the season - is for the strongest team mentally to prevail.

Stanton knows all about mental toughness for champion football teams.

His Sea Eagles completed an amazing 1978 title win by playing six games within 25 days with a host of players carrying significant injuries.

Their finals run included a preliminary major semi-final 17-12 loss to Cronulla, a 13-13 draw sudden death minor semi-final with Parramatta, followed three days later by a 17-11 victory, a 14-7 preliminary final win over Western Suburbs, an 11-11 grand final draw with Cronulla that was replayed three days later with Manly winning 16-0.

Such was the heroic story of the Sea Eagles victory, current Manly coach Des Hasler called upon two of the 1978 stars to talk to his team earlier this year about becoming mentally tougher.

Stanton believes mental toughness is the only thing that can stand in the Sea Eagles path to claiming redemption for last year's grand final loss to Melbourne.

"They have a very good side on their day but they need to turn up every day," said Stanton.

"Des has obviously alluded to it, he sees that shortcoming at the moment as being the only thing that can stop them.

"There's so many teams in this competition that on ability, and given they're all healthy, are so close together and the team that prevails out of all those is the team that is the most mentally tough.

"Teams will need to turn up from now on once the State of Origin series is over, turn up every day, every week and every match.

"The team that does that the best will be the team that wins the premiership."

Stanton and his 1978 premiership side gathered at the SCG on Friday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their infamous victory.

The players shared stories about just how tough their coach really was and it was revealed how an inspirational speech from an army war veteran had been a key motivator in picking the side up after their shock loss to Cronulla in the first week of the finals.

Stanton said he knew his team had the mental fortitude to win the title, they just needed some pushing.

"They had a lot of mental toughness about them and there was questions about them because we lost first up," he said.

"But once they were reminded of what was needed and what had to happen they reproduced it."

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