Beaver fever lives on - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Beaver fever lives on

By Todd Balym 27/09/2008 10:19:00 PM Comments (0)

The fairytale is still alive for Steve Menzies. But the festival of Ruben Wiki has come to an end.

The two ornaments of rugby league who started their careers three weeks apart in 1993 headed into the NRL preliminary final chasing the same dream grand final finish to their careers in Australia.

In the end, it was Manly's one-club champion Menzies that got his wish.

Manly's 32-6 win over the New Zealand Warriors at the Sydney Football Stadium ensured "Beaver" would finish his Australian career on the game's most important night with a fifth grand final and perhaps a second premiership.

In doing so, Bradford-bound Menzies will tie Bulldogs great Terry Lamb's league record of 349 games.

But for Kiwi great Wiki the curtains close on his illustrious career which has spanned 312 games.

The emotion of Wiki's final season at the Warriors has spurred the club from eighth place to an unlikely finish in the penultimate weekend.

The Wiki festival began 12 weeks ago when he celebrated his 300th game at Leichhardt Oval as the Warriors beat Wests Tigers by two points to kick-start a run of 10 wins from 12 games for the Auckland-based side.

But it all came to an abrupt end on Saturday night as the Sea Eagles turned on the razzle dazzle to beat the entertaining Warriors at their own game.

Manly scored four of the best tries seen this year with a tunnel-ball pass by Brett Stewart, nifty footwork, quick passes and Jamie Lyon catching his own bomb and passing as he fell to the ground.

Menzies completed the first of the stunners when a succession of catch-passing by Mark Bryant, Matt Orford, Lyon and Glenn Stewart led to Beaver diving across for his 179th career try in the 34th minute.

It was a brilliant response from Menzies after his immediate involvement upon running on the 23rd minute was to give away a stripping penalty.

Menzies had an excellent game for Manly, playing out the match in the back row with 20 tackles, one line break and two offloads.

Wiki tried his best to be among the Warriors' leading tacklers with 28 plus eight barnstorming runs.

He finished the game on the bench.

The 32,095 crowd gave him a standing ovation but it wasn't the way a champion should leave the game.

Next week we will know if Menzies can write a more appropriate final chapter.

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