Manly in grand final rematch with Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly in grand final rematch with Storm

27/09/2008 11:00:48 PM Comments (0)

Manly have set up the NRL grand final rematch most predicted with a flair few had expected, turning on the razzle-dazzle to totally outclass the New Zealand Warriors 32-6 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The near-flawless Sea Eagles sent a message of intent to Melbourne, who they will meet for the second consecutive season at ANZ Stadium next Sunday in a shot at redemption for last year's 34-8 thrashing, and a first premiership since 1996.

The Sea Eagles piled on seven entertaining tries to one in front of 32,095 fans, but even dour coach Des Hasler would have been impressed by his side's clinical completion rate which hovered around the 90 per cent mark.

The only downer for Manly was an apparent ankle injury to star halfback Matt Orford, who finished the game on the sidelines with ice packs on both feet.

The Dally M Medallist said he "should" be fit to tackle the Storm in the season decider.

Leading 12-0 at halftime, the Sea Eagles were up 22-0 after 51 minutes and the Warriors' season was as good as over.

Seven minutes after the break, Jamie Lyon outleapt Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon to regather his own bomb and sent a miracle offload for Orford to score.

The floodgates threatened to open when Lyon sent Glenn Stewart over in the 51st minute and did when winger Michael Robertson sprinted 40m after collecting a superb one-armed offload from centre Steve Matai.

Hasler replaced Orford in the 68th minute but that did nothing to stall the Sea Eagles' momentum when another Matai bust sent fullback Brett Stewart over for his second try and a lead of 32-0.

The halftime lead had come courtesy of four-pointers from tryscoring machines Brett Stewart in the 12th minute and Steve Menzies (34th), and a Harlem Globetrotters-like pass from fullback Stewart to Matai a minute before the break.

Stewart bagged his 21st four-pointer of the year when he flew onto a deft pass from Orford before Menzies, the game's most prolific tryscoring forward, made the most of a great ball popped from interchange forward Mark Bryant.

Stewart then turned provider in the final minute of the half with a miracle between-the-legs ball for Matai to touch down.

The scoreline might have been worse for the Warriors had Orford booted more than his one from five.

The Warriors could find no way through the stifling Manly defence during the first half and only managed a 75th minute consolation try to winger Aidan Kirk.

Their dream run from eighth, during which they downed minor premiers Melbourne and eliminated the Sydney Roosters, ended in bitter disappointment for retiring prop Ruben Wiki.

But, after two farewells at Brookvale Oval, Manly champion Menzies will now get the chance to be sent off with a premiership and to equal Canterbury great Terry Lamb's record of 349 first grade games in a grand final.

Hasler said the magnitude of the win had not been the most pleasing aspect.

"We'd just been working on a game plan during the week and we'd have just been happy to get any result," he said.

"I thought our ball control and the way we controlled possession in the first half was critical."

He played down any concerns over the fitness of key playmaker Orford.

"He's just got a couple of bumps and bruises. He'll be fine," Hasler said.

Asked if his side would be able to remain in their preferred position under the radar, Hasler said: "Melbourne are favourites and rightly so.

"They're a champion side. They've had a little bit of drama over the weekend but that will be behind them. They'll regroup."

Warriors captain Steve Price said, as far as he was concerned, Wiki had been sent out a winner.

"We played three extra weeks to what anyone expected us to," he said.

"He's still right up on the pedestal. He wouldn't change anything else.

"He loved playing with his mates and we had a fantastic ride and it was lot to do with him."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news