Manly on track for World Club Challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly on track for World Club Challenge

By Valkerie Mangnall 23/02/2009 02:28:12 PM Comments (0)

Manly captain Matt Orford believes a 34-26 trial game victory over Harlequins on Sunday will stand the NRL premiers in good stead for next weekend's World Club Challenge (WCC) against Super League champions Leeds.

The Sea Eagles tested an inexperienced side in the first half against Quins at Twickenham's Stoop Stadium before fielding a near full-strength side, which overhauled a 20-0 deficit after the break.

Two tries to Michael Robertson, plus efforts from David Williams, Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai turned the match, but it was the mechanics of the performance that interested the skipper.

"There was no focus on the scoreboard," Orford said.

"It was just about getting our timing. There were guidelines there that we wanted to try and meet to prep ourselves for the Leeds game and I think we went very close to achieving that.

"It's a bonus to win that match but it wasn't a focal point of the game ... we're going to be so much better for that under our belt now against Leeds."

Despite arriving last Monday to give themselves plenty of time to prepare for their March 1 clash with the defending WCC champions, the Sea Eagles did not enjoy the best lead-up to the Quins match.

A number of players were struck down by a stomach virus during the week, but all recovered in time to take part in the warm-up game.

Kick-off was delayed by about half an hour when a 17-seat mini-bus was sent to take Manly's 35-man touring party to the ground, prompting a mad dash for taxis to transport the rest of the group.

But despite some loose defence and subdued contact to begin with, the Sea Eagles emerged from the game injury free and Orford was confident his team would be ready to face Leeds.

"We're not just over here to have a run around," he said.

"We want to do our best and they (Leeds) pride themselves on this trophy so they're going to be fired up to go back-to-back in this World Club Challenge.

"We've got a few areas we need to work on and they're going to test us in different areas, but the preparation is going good so far and we will test ourselves there."

Lyon agreed there were still improvements to be made and said there were no big trade secrets he could share from his two seasons at English side St Helens in 2005-06.

"The conditions are a big thing, the ball's not going to be as easy to throw around as it normally is in Australia, so we're just going to have to tighten some passes up and not play as expansive," Lyon said.

"We were a bit rusty and even though we scored a few tries, we've still got to get down to the dirty stuff, the tackling and round the ruck and little short passes and that sort of thing.

"We're in good stead at the moment, but we've still got a lot to work on."

Players and 6,032 spectators at the Manly-Quins match observed a minute's silence to honour victims of the Victorian bushfires just hours after Australia held a national day of mourning for those who died in the infernos earlier this month.

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