Bailey beavering away for Sea Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bailey beavering away for Sea Eagles

By David Beniuk 09/09/2009 07:27:26 PM Comments (0)

He's a back-rower who can play five-eighth, but this is 2009 and Chris Bailey is hoping he can give Manly at least a little of what club legend Steve Menzies gave them in their NRL premiership year.

When the Sea Eagles needed a five-eighth in 2008, they often turned to Menzies and, with the veteran's departure for the UK, Bailey was bought from Newcastle in the off-season as the genuine article.

He played most of his 23 games for Manly this year in the No.6 jersey but now finds himself in the second row as the Sea Eagles look for back-to-back premierships.

Bailey was named there again this week for Friday night's qualifying final against bitter rivals Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

"I'm happy with it. It probably suits my style of play a little bit better so things are going all right there," the 98kg Inverell product said.

Filling the shoes left by Menzies was always going to be one of Manly's greatest challenges in defending their title, and the 27-year-old is understandably reluctant to make comparisons.

"I guess it's just that versatility," he said.

"You can jump in if a back gets hurt or you can jump into the forwards.

"I think it probably gives them an option there but he's obviously a big loss. He was a very experienced player and played in a few grand finals."

Coach Des Hasler has been opting for young gun Kieran Foran at pivot in recent weeks, while Bailey has held onto a starting position ahead of the likes of grand final hero Glenn Hall.

"He's got that versatility in his game. We're very fortunate to have that and he's been doing a great job there," Hasler said.

"Chris Bailey's just a footballer, isn't he? You can put him anywhere.

"He's played centre, he's played five-eighth, he's played back row.

"They're really important members to have in your team."

Backrow partner and Dally M second-rower of the year Anthony Watmough is another fan.

"Bails, when he's in there, he's unbelievable and we've still got Shane Rodney to come back from his thumb injury so ... I'm pretty sure we're in just as good a place as we were last year," Watmough said.

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