Manly name team for World Club Challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly name team for World Club Challenge

By Todd Balym 13/02/2009 05:19:01 PM Comments (0)

Manly captain Matt Orford says the Sea Eagles are determined to break the Super League stranglehold on the World Club Challenge and return to Australia as world champions.

The Sea Eagles depart on Sunday for the March 1 clash with Leeds Rhinos at Elland Road and they're hoping to become the first Australian team since the Sydney Roosters in 2003 to bring the trophy back home with them.

Orford headlines the squad of 23 heading to the UK, with Test prop Brent Kite the highest profile absentee after he was granted compassionate leave.

Kite isn't the only NRL premiership hero to miss the clash with departed trio Steve Menzies, Steven Bell and Mark Bryant unavailable after changing to Super League clubs in the off-season.

New recruits Chris Bailey and Shane Rodney were included in the touring party, but star Parramatta signing Tony Williams was ruled out with injury.

"It's going to be a physical match and we can't shy away from what to expect over there," said Orford on Friday.

"To start our 2009 season I think we have to go over there and put in a good performance and really try to get something back.

"The Roosters are probably the last team to bring that shield back so we're definitely taking it seriously and we want to do well for Manly and get our season off to the best possible start."

Even coach Des Hasler insists the WCC is more than just a trial for his NRL premiership side.

"It is a massive game, there is a trophy on offer," he said.

Premiership heroes Steve Matai and Brett Stewart are expected to play in the WCC clash after both completed quick recoveries from off-season surgery that ruled them out of last year's World Cup.

Matai missed New Zealand's World Cup final triumph over Australia when his neck and shoulder injury flared during the group matches, while fullback Stewart was ruled out of Australia's squad prior to the tournament beginning with a shoulder injury.

Also making a return from injury in England will be prop George Rose who is finally back into first grade calculations after his horrific broken leg sustained in round 11, 2007.

It was initially feared the broken leg would end Rose's career, but the 25-year-old has fought his way back after a long rehabilitation and time spent in the lower grades last year.

"George has really worked hard during the offseason and I've got to say the rehab staff have done an exceptional job with George," said Hasler.

"He has really earned his place on the plane and the players are really pleased to have him back."

Manly will play a warm up clash against the Harlequins in London on February 22.

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