Emotion of farewells boost NRL finalists - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Emotion of farewells boost NRL finalists

By Todd Balym 22/09/2008 05:08:19 PM Comments (0)

Manly will see the New Zealand Warriors' Ruben Wiki and raise them a Steve Menzies.

The Warriors have carried the emotion card throughout their charmed run with Wiki's farewell sparking them to an unlikely NRL preliminary final.

Up until now it's been a winning hand.

But, in poker terms, the Sea Eagles have them covered.

Veteran Menzies is in his final season at the Sea Eagles and needs to reach the NRL grand final to equal Bulldogs great Terry Lamb's league record 349 first grade games.

Wiki has played 311 games in a career spanning 16 years with Canberra and the Warriors.

Menzies is the beloved hero of Manly after 16 years of loyal service to the Sea Eagles.

They are two of just 10 players in league history to play more than 300 first grade games.

Both are ornaments to the game but with a few more games under his belt and the chance to equal history it is the farewell of Menzies that carries slightly more emotion when the teams clash this Saturday.

The Warriors players are growing beards out of respect to Wiki and while Manly's squad may not don black headgear for the finals, skipper Matt Orford said they would stop at nothing to ensure `Beaver' gets the appropriate send off from the NRL.

"Obviously they've shown with all their beards that it's a tribute to Rubes," said Orford.

"They've got motivation but so do we.

"We've got a group of guys leaving to go overseas and Beaver is leaving too and they're all a lot of special guys and both sides have motivation to really do something in this finals.

"I guarantee we won't leave anything in the tank to achieve it."

While Wiki might be providing the emotive inspiration for his side, he is doing it with actions also and has led their forward pack in their finals charge.

But Orford is backing his forwards, led by Test prop Brent Kite, to more than match the Warriors in the physical battle up the middle of the field when they meet at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

"I just think our guys are up to any challenge," he said.

"I can't rap my guys enough. I have had three years with the same guys in front of me and I wouldn't change them for anyone."

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