Sea Eagles still with one eye on Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sea Eagles still with one eye on Storm

By Steve Jancetic 14/09/2008 06:43:40 PM Comments (0)

Publicly they're trying hard not to get too far ahead of themselves, but privately Manly admit they're chomping at the bit to have another crack at Melbourne in this year's NRL decider.

While both teams still have some work to do to get there of course, the Sea Eagles moved a step closer to a second consecutive grand final appearance after disposing of St George Illawarra in Saturday night's qualifying final at Brookvale Oval.

The Storm's finals campaign took a surprise hit with an upset loss to the New Zealand Warriors at Olympic Park, but the two premiership favourites still remain on track for an October 5 meeting at ANZ Stadium thanks to a finals schedule which has them on opposite sides of the draw.

While Melbourne will now need to head up to Brisbane for a sudden-death clash with the in-form Broncos - with the winner to take on Cronulla in a preliminary final - Manly have a week off as they await the winner of the other semi-final between the Warriors and the Sydney Roosters.

And while all the focus in the Sea Eagles dressing room on Saturday night was on preparing for the preliminary final, five-eighth Jamie Lyon admitted the Storm were also in their thoughts.

"We've still got to get there," Lyon said of a grand final clash with the Storm.

"I know speaking to a lot of the boys they're pretty eager to have another go at Melbourne. There is a bit of confidence, hopefully we keep on improving.

"I don't think we're at where we should be, but we got a lot of positives out of tonight.

"We're not getting ahead of ourselves, there's still a few little things we can improve significantly on."

Dragons coach Nathan Brown heaped praise on the Sea Eagles, in particular for their ruthless approach after the break when they shut out the misfiring visitors.

"This competition's very open and everyone's probably trying to catch Melbourne, but I think Manly's much better equipped this year to beat Melbourne in all honesty," Brown said.

"They did to us what a good side would do - if we had have got back to 20-18 I'd maybe think a little bit differently but they're a very good team."

Wounded Sea Eagles Steve Bell (calf) and Josh Perry (corked leg) were both hopeful the extra week off would give them enough time to recover for the preliminary final.

Perry was cleared of major injury after it was initially feared he had suffered structural damage, while Bell will continue treatment on a calf injury which limited his action to little more than the first 30 seconds.

"It went in the warm-up but I thought it was still going to be okay," Bell said.

"Then when I took off at the kickoff I knew straight away that it wasn't right.

"It's a good thing we've got two weeks until we play again, hopefully it will be right. I'm going home to ice it right now, we'll see how it goes."

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