Orford puts team before contract talks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford puts team before contract talks

By Todd Balym 30/04/2009 04:28:10 PM Comments (0)

Manly's captain, Matt Orford, has put aside contract negotiations as he tries to pull the Sea Eagles out of their winless rut without the help of star fullback Brett Stewart.

Orford's contract is up at the end of the year and his decision could have major ramifications for other off-contract premiership heroes like David Williams, Michael Robertson, Glenn Hall and Heath L'Estrange.

But the Dally M medal winner says he doesn't want to contemplate his own future while the club is in trouble after a 2-5 start to their title defence.

"We haven't sat down at all. The coach and I have said pretty much let's get this team on track and let's worry about that once we get our season back on track," said Orford.

"I think that is more important than me being the main focus. The team is more important."

Hasler said negotiations were continuing with Orford's manager but was happy that the lengthy talks were off the player's immediate agenda.

"That is a good call by Ox. Ox is concentrating on his football," he said.

"He has a manager and together we will sort that out."

Orford's delay in negotiations comes ahead of Friday's crucial grand-final re-match with Melbourne at Brookvale Oval.

While the Sea Eagles belted the Storm 40-0 in last year's decider, both clubs are travelling far worse in 2009, as Melbourne have won just once in their past four games, including last Saturday's 14-all draw with the Warriors.

Manly are 2-5 and despite sitting in 12th place Orford is adamant his side can still climb back among the premiership threats.

"I think we're still two quality teams and yet to find our feet," said Orford.

"There hasn't been a real standout team so far this year. I think the competition is wide open but you do scratch your head and think the guys who are doing the simple things right are at the top of the ladder.

"We just need to get a string of games together and build some momentum.

"Getting one or two wins then a loss halts your momentum a bit and you're back to square one. You need to put four or five games together to do that and get within reach.

"We realise we need to start winning but the competition is still there to be taken."

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