Kite flies highest of the Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kite flies highest of the Eagles

By Darren Walton 05/10/2008 10:07:13 PM Comments (0)

Good enough to play for his country and good enough to receive the Clive Churchill Medal as man of the match in the NRL grand final - but not good enough for Craig Bellamy's NSW State of Origin team.

Oh how Bellamy's Melbourne Storm could have used Brent Kite at ANZ Stadium.

If departing stalwart Steve Menzies was the inspiration behind Manly's 40-0 rout of the Storm, then Kite was the rock on which the Sea Eagles' grand final triumph was built.

No-one made more yards for Manly, Kite racking up 167 metres and few hit harder, the Storm feeling the full force of every one his 26 tackles.

His 14 hit-ups also included a try, a barnstorming effort in the 59th minute which broke the back of Storm and gave the Sea Eagles an unassailable 24-0 lead.

But while veteran Manly official Peter Peters was describing Kite's display as "retribution" for being overlooked by Bellamy's Blues, the 27-year-old front rower himself refused to gloat after a performance which surely clinched a berth in the Australian World Cup squad to be announced on Tuesday.

"Missing Origin was disappointing, but it definitely didn't get me down. I wasn't kicking cans or anything," Kite said.

"I consoled myself with the fact that I got to play in that 100-year (Centenary) Test with that special jersey," Kite said.

"I chose to look at it in a positive light in that I would be rested for the back-end of the year and that was definitely the case. My body felt better coming into the finals.

"That wasn't the case last year. I missed the qualifying final coming back from a groin tear. So, yeah, I was just trying to take the positives out of it."

Kite insisted he harboured no hard feelings towards Bellamy.

"I thought, as everybody else did, that he did a marvellous game in Origin one. He's a great coach. What he has done there at Melbourne is awesome," Kite said.

His representative snub well and truly behind him, the humble forward rated his premiership success as "the highlight of my career".

"When you start playing footy, this is the pinnacle of your career," said the nine-Test star, who also played eight Origin games between 2004-07.

"Playing for Australia may be the highest honour as a footballer you can reach but, in terms of satisfaction at doing something so special with a group of guys that's taken you 12 months or more, this is just very rewarding.

"We can walk away and say we're the best team this year and that's really special."

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