Manly backing self-belief to reach glory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly backing self-belief to reach glory

By Todd Balym 06/09/2009 03:16:59 PM Comments (0)

Incredible self-belief has Manly confident they can defy history and become the first team to win the NRL premiership from outside the top four and became the first back-to-back premiers since Brisbane in 1998.

The Sea Eagles enter the NRL finals as underdogs after qualifying fifth and drawing a grand final re-match with Melbourne next Friday to start their campaign.

But having buried their inter-state demons with a win over the Storm at Olympic Park three weeks ago the Sea Eagles will head to Etihad Stadium knowing they have what it takes to topple Melbourne.

Buoyed by a 38-4 annihilation of third-placed Gold Coast on Saturday night, the Sea Eagles are expected to be further boosted this week with the return of former Test centre Jamie Lyon from a shoulder injury.

While Manly reached the previous two grand finals from a top two regular season finish, hooker Matt Ballin says there is such self-belief within the squad they know they can overcome the difficult finals draw.

"It's a tough thing, we will just focus on winning each game," said Ballin.

"We have the belief in ourselves and we will only take it one game at time because its hard when you get ahead of yourself.

"I don't think we're favourites. I think St George Illawarra and the Bulldogs and the Gold Coast probably deserve to be favourites the way they've been going all year.

"I don't think there will be much talk about us I think it will all be about the Dragons and the Bulldogs - they deserve to be favourites so they will be the ones expected to win."

Centre Steve Matai was one of several key players who returned to form in the win over the Titans, prop Brent Kite, fullback Brett Stewart and halfback Matt Orford the others in ominous touch on the eve of the finals.

Matai said it would be harder for Manly to reach the grand final than in previous years as they wouldn't host a home clash at Fortress Brookvale, but warned their win over the Gold Coast showed they had rediscovered their semi-final style of play.

"It's definitely going to be harder, we don't have a home semi and last year we had a home semi and it was a massive boost," said Matai.

"It's definitely going to be tougher but I think the boys will definitely turn up and put in a good performance.

"If we turn up like we did (against the Gold Coast) we will give them a good go.

"We're ready to play semi-final football."

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