Sea Eagles downplay NRL premiership hype - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sea Eagles downplay NRL premiership hype

By Tom Wald 14/07/2008 03:55:56 PM Comments (0)

If you thought Manly's defence was watertight, it is nothing compared to their well-drilled approach to questions regarding their premiership credentials.

The Sea Eagles sit alone on top of the NRL table and boast both the competition's most potent attack and most miserly defence two months out from the finals.

And in rugby league terms, they pulled third-placed Cronulla's pants down in Saturday night's 34-6 annihilation at Toyota Stadium.

Surely these are heady times for the Sea Eagles.

The Eagles would have you think otherwise as they try to fight the growing hype over their title prospects following last year's grand final loss to Melbourne.

Manly coach Des Hasler, the NRL's king of understatement, would have been proud of fullback Brett Stewart's effort in not saying anything of interest to the small media contingent that gathered at the Eagles' training base.

His resolute performance even forced a TV journalist to drop his microphone in mock disgust after hearing Stewart trot out "one game at a time" for the umpteenth time.

"This is just outrageous," the journalist joked.

The response came after Stewart dodged questions more effectively than he splits defences on weekends.

The fact is the Sea Eagles are flying and have firmed as second favourites for the title behind Melbourne.

Not that the Storm is an appropriate topic at Manly before Friday night's home match against Parramatta.

"Stop asking me that will you," Stewart said with a smile to a question regarding Melbourne's progress this season.

The Sea Eagles are undoubtedly the competition's in-form side even if their standing has been aided by their minimal State of Origin playing commitments compared to the Storm.

Manly's reluctance to talk themselves up must also come from being towelled up by the Storm in their last two meetings.

Stewart said the minor premiership wasn't a "goal" for the team before conceding the side's inability to look beyond this weekend was part of the coach's grand plan.

"That is probably the main thing that `Dessie' gets onto us about, is to not get ahead of ourselves and that's exactly what we are doing and that is why you blokes keep on asking different questions," he said.

Manly's next chance to take on the Storm comes on August 8 at Brookvale Oval.

For many league fans, it can't come quickly enough.

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