Storm feeling heat more than me: Orford - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm feeling heat more than me: Orford

By David Beniuk 02/10/2008 06:45:17 PM Comments (0)

Manly captain Matt Orford says all the pressure of the NRL grand final is on Melbourne - not him - but just how much stress his injured ankle can take won't be known until he has a full training run with the Sea Eagles on Friday.

Orford has been blighted by criticism he goes missing in the big games, including a quiet 2007 grand final, and his absence from representative sides in recent years has been put down to that factor alone.

But the Dally M player-of-the-year looked to turn the blowtorch back onto the Storm after their stuttering run through to Sunday's decider.

"I think all the pressure's on those guys to tell you the truth," Orford said.

"I don't think I'll overplay my hand and there's nothing I'm going to do differently in this game than I've done the last few weeks.

"I'm definitely not going to hang my boots up if I don't have one of my best games.

"Whether they're going to give me an Australia jersey out of it or not, that's the last thing on my mind and I think ... playing in this grand final's big enough for myself."

Pressed on why he thought the underdog defending premiers should be feeling more pressure, Orford shot back: "Why's the pressure on me? It's a grand final.

"I can't see how it can be all just a career defining moment for myself.

"The pressure's on them ... I see the loss of their captain (Cameron Smith to suspension) and (injured second-rower) Ryan Hoffman.

"They're still a champion team so don't get me wrong but at least compare the two things and I think Melbourne's got a lot more pressure than what I do."

Melbourne opposite number Cooper Cronk played a dead bat to Orford's comments.

"It's grand final week, there's pressure on both teams," Cronk said.

"If you don't feel the excitement that's in the air and the festivities that grand final week has to offer you may as well not pull on the boots because this is what footy is all about.

"As a kid you'd sit a metre away from the television with barbecues and your friends and family cheering for either team and to be here is a bloody good experience and I'm looking forward to it."

Orford was seen icing both ankles after last weekend's preliminary final win over the New Zealand Warriors.

He is in no doubt to take his place at ANZ Stadium but won't know the full extent of the discomfort he'll need to endure until he has his first full run with the Sea Eagles on Friday.

"The ankles aren't going too bad. I trained yesterday, had a little trot around," he said.

"Tomorrow I'm sure I'm going to run fully with the team and get amongst it and sort of rip in and see how I pull up."

But whether the Sea Eagles linchpin can take his place as the side's goal-kicker, and whether he will be hampered kicking in general play, remain to be seen.

Five-eighth Jamie Lyon or centre Steve Matai are Manly's back-up goal-kickers.

"I'll try and do it. If I can't well it's not the end of the world," Orford said.

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