Bailey sets sights on Manly No.6 jersey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bailey sets sights on Manly No.6 jersey

By David Beniuk 27/06/2008 04:36:12 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle five-eighth Chris Bailey has an early chance to make a play for Manly's No.6 jersey when he takes on his new club and opposite number Jamie Lyon on Saturday night.

Bailey has signed a three-year deal with the Sea Eagles from 2009 as the NRL club searches for a permanent pivot.

Regular centre Lyon and backrower Steve Menzies have predominantly filled the role this year but Bailey is keen to ensure he wears the maroon and white No.6 next year.

Asked if the Bluetongue Stadium clash would be an early opportunity to prove to Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler he should have it, he said: "I guess so ... hopefully.

" ... I'm happy playing five-eighth at the moment, I think that's where I sort of see myself at the moment, I think that's where I'm playing my best footy."

But the 25-year-old's top priority will be helping the Knights, who have won only two of their last six matches, as they continue their up-and-down battle for a top eight spot.

"While (next year) is in the back of your mind you can't really afford to be thinking about that because what I want to do is finish off the year strongly with the Knights and get as far as we can, so all my focus is on our side at the moment," Bailey told AAP.

"If I'm thinking about next year then this year could pass me by with missed opportunities."

Lyon will play at five-eighth for Manly on Saturday night after a week of controversy surrounding his lack of enthusiasm for State of Origin football and calls for him to be stood down from a club game in response.

"There's no drama with him playing," Bailey said.

"It's his decision, I think everything's sorted itself out now so there's no drama there I don't think."

But drama has surrounded the Knights this week with chief executive Steve Burraston stunning supporters by suggesting more bums on seats were needed to ensure the side remained in Newcastle.

Manly have taken this home game to Gosford, one of the areas mentioned by Burraston as attractive to struggling NRL clubs, and Bailey said that suited the Knights fine.

"If anything it favours us a little bit because obviously being so close to the Central Coast there's a lot of Newcastle fans there and then a lot of Newcastle fans make the trip down there," he said.

"We'll play all our away games there if we can."

The Sea Eagles will be missing only fullback Brett Stewart on State of Origin duty while the Knights will be without captain Danny Buderus, fullback Kurt Gidley and prop Ben Cross.

The Knights beat Manly 13-12 in round two this year and have won four of their last six games against Manly.

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