Orford hopes to banish Dally M 'curse' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford hopes to banish Dally M 'curse'

By David Beniuk 10/09/2008 06:37:27 PM Comments (0)

Dally M winner Matt Orford is hoping he can crack the curse which has kept an NRL player of the year without a premiership for 22 years, but he's given up on silencing his critics.

The Manly halfback beat fast finishing Melbourne duo Billy Slater and Cameron Smith to take the prestigious award and is now hoping to become the first player since Parramatta's Peter Sterling in 1986 to back it up with a grand final victory.

"There's a long way to go but hopefully I can change that," Orford said as the Sea Eagles prepared to take on St George Illawarra in week one of the finals on Saturday.

Orford, 30, has copped his fair share of criticism in a career that has seen him miss out on State of Origin football, partly because of injury, and a grand final win against his former club Melbourne last year.

Most of the pot-shots have highlighted his supposed inability to put his stamp on the games that count.

"You become accustomed to this," he said.

"That's no motivation for me, to silence those guys. If I just go out there and play well and do the best I can for Manly, well I'm happy with that."

It's a problem that has affected the whole of the second-placed Sea Eagles side, with only fullback Brett Stewart playing Origin in 2008 after Test prop Brent Kite was overlooked.

"I know myself that I'm blessed to be in a team with so many stars and so many good players," Orford said.

"If they don't get rep jerseys or anything like that they're very unlucky individually but I'm just fortunate to play in a group with so many guys like that."

Orford has a year to run on his lucrative deal with the Sea Eagles and hasn't yet considered a move overseas to finish his career.

"If the body and mind and the passion's still there I would definitely love to stay here," he said.

"I'd definitely not rule it out but, in saying that, why would I want to leave this?

"I've got the beaches, I've got a great club but I'd never say never."

He said he hoped the Dally M Medal would give his team-mates some confidence as they look to go one better than last year.

"I'm very honoured and grateful I sort of got there at the end," he said.

"Hopefully it can help our team, hopefully it can just add a little bit of confidence that you're not doing too many things wrong.

"The names that are actually on that board and who have got that award, it's fairly daunting and not in a million years would I have thought I'd be a part of that history.

"It's probably just going to take a while to sink in and fully realise and reflect on how big an award it is individually.

"Once football's finished and at the end of the year I'm sure I'm going to sit back and have a beer and look back and have great memories."

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