Stats show Sea Eagles are entertainers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stats show Sea Eagles are entertainers

By David Beniuk 29/09/2008 08:04:42 PM Comments (0)

Manly's reputation as little more than a dour defensive unit is a myth, with statistics revealing they have emerged as the NRL's new "entertainers".

Often described as modelled in the image of their no-frills coach Des Hasler, the Sea Eagles' complete game came to the fore in Saturday night's near flawless disposal of the New Zealand Warriors.

No moment typified that more than brilliant fullback Brett Stewart's through-the-legs pass for centre Steve Matai to score on halftime in the 32-6 thrashing.

"I think (Hasler's) pretty happy because it came off but if it didn't come off I think he'd have the shits and rightfully so," five-eighth Jamie Lyon told AAP.

"That's just what some of the players can do in the team and in the NRL. It's a good spectacle to watch at the moment."

Six other superbly constructed tries also contributed to the Warriors admitting they were simply outclassed, something the stats show could also be the fate awaiting Melbourne in Sunday's grand final.

The Sea Eagles have scored more tries than any other side in the NRL this year, and with that figure currently standing at 132 that's 16 more - in one game less - than the minor premiers.

They make more line-breaks (5.3 per game) than Melbourne (4.6) and throw almost twice the number of offloads (12.7) than Melbourne do (6.5).

The surprise package of Manly's attack has been centre Steve Bell, who had notched 19 linebreaks by the end of the regular season, two fewer than table topping Storm fullback Billy Slater.

But the France-bound former Queensland representative puts his form down to his teammates.

"Good halves, the whole backline and especially Brett Stewart makes a bit of indecision for people," Bell said.

"If he's around sometimes they forget about you and worry about him because he's such a good tryscorer so I think that helps as well.

"We probably wore the Warriors down a bit in the end there and our opportunities presented themselves towards the end, so if we can do that it gets a bit of space for the backs out wide.

"If our forwards go forward it just sort of helps us out and I think that's what's been working for us."

It was Ted Glossop's Canterbury teams of the 1980s who will forever be known as "the entertainers", but Bell said Hasler deserved more credit as an attack coach.

"We do just about 50-50 (at training), maybe a little bit more D (defence) but I think our attack this year's been pretty good and probably he should get a bit of credit for that."

Stewart said he didn't know how he had produced his miracle ball on Saturday.

"I don't know what I was thinking," he said.

"We haven't really changed too much.

"We've sort of struggled to put our defence and attack together probably the last two seasons, and this time of the year we seem to be clicking."

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