King demands better Sea Eagles defence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

King demands better Sea Eagles defence

By Todd Balym 21/03/2009 11:42:53 AM Comments (0)

Manly prop Jason King has called on the Sea Eagles to rediscover their defensive commitment in order to rebound from their shock opening round loss to the Bulldogs.

The reigning premiers were thumped 34-12 by last year's wooden spooners last week, Manly conceding more than twice as many points as they had done throughout the 2008 season.

After building their premiership on a solid defensive wall, King says Manly have to get back to the hard yards at Brookvale Oval on Sunday against a Warriors side many tip to threaten for the NRL title in 2009.

"It's very important, this our first home game of the year," said King.

"We didn't start well in round one. We need to get things rolling and have a consistent game of football.

"(The Warriors) come onto the ball really hard plus they have little guys who can threaten us like their hooker (Ian Henderson) and guys like Wade McKinnon at the back who have plenty of speed and can really expose us around the ruck.

"They have a big powerful forward pack and we have to nullify their offloads.

"They can be really creative if you give them a lot of space and we have to defend really well and be nice and tight around the ruck."

King blamed poor defence for Manly's woeful round one effort, however the statistics show it was a lack of grunt in attack that really cost the Sea Eagles.

Manly carried the ball for just 1087m against the Bulldogs, 64m shy of their worst performance in 2008 in the 34-12 round 20 loss to the Roosters.

With Test prop Josh Perry returning from illness this week King said the Manly pack will have more firepower to throw at the Warriors, but insisted every player has to lift.

"Josh is a great player, he will come back and add a bit of size and a bit more go forward for us," said King.

"We have to be right on our game, especially us forwards and nullify their big men and their big outside backs that can run the ball well."

The battle up front is shaping as a highlight of the game with Manly's Perry and Brent Kite squaring off with fellow Test prop Steve Price.

Price is 35 years old and with 301 NRL games under his belt has almost played more football than Perry and Kite combined (333 games).

"You certainly take your hat off to him," said King.

"You think to yourself 'I wonder what he does to be able to perform so consistently and play Origins and for Australia year in year out and still be running around at 35 years of age'.

"It is a real credit to him. He must work really hard on his game throughout the week.

"He is going unreal. He was topping the hit up count last week and he seemed to do it all last year.

"His fitness is right up there and he gives them good direction."

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