McKinnon told to ignore Manly baiting - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McKinnon told to ignore Manly baiting

By Todd Balym 26/09/2008 03:30:26 PM Comments (0)

Volatile fullback Wade McKinnon has been told to keep his mouth shut and emotions under control in the face of expected baiting from Manly in Saturday night's second NRL preliminary final.

McKinnon makes his return for the New Zealand Warriors after serving his three match ban for spitting at a touch judge, adding further attacking potency to the Warriors backline.

But he has had several run-ins with officials in his career and Warriors coach Ivan Cleary expects Manly to use plenty of gamesmanship to try and force another brain explosion.

"They know how to play the game and have a great winning culture and understand how to win football games and they're pretty crafty how they do it," said Cleary when asked if he thought the Sea Eagles would target McKinnon.

"Wade is not stupid. He will handle anything that comes his way.

"He has been hurting not being part of the action the last few weeks ... he knows what he's got to do tomorrow night and the players certainly welcome him back."

Lock Micheal Luck said McKinnon wasn't told "officially" to keep quiet, but he has certainly been made aware how important it is not to concede penalties for backchat in a grand final qualifier.

"He knows why he got in trouble last time and I'm sure he will be ready to make amends," said Luck, adding Manly would be foolish to target him Saturday.

"You do that at your own peril because he is one of the best kick returners in the game and in broken field there is probably no one better.

"If you're going to target him it's a tough job."

The Warriors continued a relaxed build up for Saturday's game with a final training session on a soccer field at Wentworth Park Friday.

The players were determined not to let another opportunity slip against Manly, having led the Sea Eagles 14-10 with 10 minutes to go in their last clash until late tries to Matt Ballin and Brent Kite stole victory for the visitors.

"We had it I suppose in our grasp but a few things late in the game let us down and the one thing we take out of that is we have got to be there for 80 minutes or they're good enough to come and beat you from wherever they are," said Luck.

"They're dangerous ... the moment you focus on one particular guy they have another guy that can pull your pants down.

"We've got to be strong across the park for 80 minutes or we will get beaten."

Since their last loss to Manly the Warriors have won 10 of their past 12 games and sit within 80 minutes of a remarkable grand final after wins over Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters.

But, as centre Brent Tate stated, the past three months will mean much less if they lose Saturday.

"I am very wary of the fact if we don't win on Saturday night we might as well not have even made the eight."

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