Storm still benchmark, says Menzies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm still benchmark, says Menzies

By Liam Fitzgibbon 14/07/2008 09:29:03 AM Comments (0)

Manly veteran Steve Menzies insists Melbourne are still the team to beat this NRL season despite his side's awesome display against an in-form Cronulla.

The Sea Eagles scored their sixth successive win in emphatic style with a 34-6 victory over the Sharks in the top-of-the-table clash at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night.

The performance, which included an errorless first half, reaffirmed Manly's status as serious premiership contenders but Menzies said the reigning premiers still deserved title favouritism.

"I suppose we're halfway there and we've been cruising along under the radar for a little while," Menzies told AAP.

"Then you come up to these top-of-the table clashes and, if you win them like we did, it's going to make people have a bit of a look at that.

"But I think Melbourne's still the team to beat.

"They've been hurting through the Origin period. They lost all three, so I think they're still the team to beat.

"Were cruising along nicely, though."

The Sea Eagles reached last year's grand final only to be trounced by the Storm, but Menzies was confident this year's team was an improved one which was capable of going one step further.

"I think we've matured from last year in a few little aspects and the way we're able to grind games out," said Menzies, who will make a decision on his playing future in the next few weeks.

"We thought we set ourselves up well (to win the premiership) last year and it didn't turn out that way.

"We don't look to far ahead and we just want to keep plodding away but we've got a lot of faith in ourselves again this year."

A corked leg to captain Matt Orford was Manly's only injury concern from the match but the halfback was confident it was only a minor worry.

The Sea Eagles return home on Friday night to face Parramatta and coach Des Hasler has urged his team's fans to turn out in greater numbers at Brookvale Oval, with the club averaging just over 13,000 fans per game this season.

"We would like to see all our fans turn out and really get behind this team," Hasler said.

"We want 20,000 at Brookvale. We want to put up the `doors closed' sign."

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