Cleary braces for fiery Sea Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cleary braces for fiery Sea Eagles

David Beniuk and Tamara McLean 15/04/2011 04:20:19 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary is under no illusions Manly will reproduce the intimidating brand of football his side encountered in their fiery NRL trial match in February.

The pre-season match erupted when Sea Eagles co-captain Jason King was involved in a controversial tackle on Warriors forward Michael Luck at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.

Manly won the game 14-12, while the NRL match review committee conceded the poor quality of video footage available was a factor in them laying no charges.

"(It was) pretty intensive, and they've kept that going for an intimidating, physical brand of football," Cleary said.

"Manly traditionally play a pretty aggressive style of game and I think they'll be no different this week so it's good to be prepared."

The Sea Eagles will run into an improving Warriors outfit at Brookvale Oval, with Cleary's men notching consecutive wins after a 0-3 start to the season.

The Aucklanders also have no fear of Brookvale Oval with a 5-4 advantage at the Sea Eagles' fortress, although Manly have won seven of the last nine overall.

Manly fullback Brett Stewart was ruled out with his troublesome hamstring on Friday, with coach Des Hasler not prepared to risk him as the Sea Eagles face a short turnaround for a Friday night match next weekend.

The former Test fullback has missed the past two games after he returned this year from long-term knee problems.

Exciting youngster Will Hopoate will play fullback, with either Tony Williams or Michael Oldfield coming off an extended bench onto the wing.

Forwards Anthony Watmough and Terence Seuseu return after a week's suspension for off-field misbehaviour, while there are slight doubts over second-rower Joe Galuvao and benchman George Rose.

Warriors workaholic Luck will, coincidentally, play his 200th first grade game on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Queenslander puts his hardiness down to his surname, or "dumb luck" at least.

"There's been a lot more gifted footballers than me who have had major injuries that have cut their career short," Luck said.

"I've never, touch wood, had any of those things. I suppose I'm not a real power athlete that has the risk of big muscle tears.

"It's more luck than anything."

Cleary said it was former North Queensland Cowboy Luck's attitude that had allowed him to set an NRL record of 74 tackles in a match against Melbourne in 2009.

"His professionalism is second to none but probably the biggest thing is his mental toughness," Cleary said.

"He gets plenty of injuries, plenty of knocks but he just overcomes them."

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