Sea Eagles feeling brighter than in 2010 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sea Eagles feeling brighter than in 2010

Steve Jancetic 25/07/2011 03:05:34 PM Comments (0)

Five-eighth Kieran Foran says Manly are feeling far more buoyant about their NRL premiership prospects than they did before limping into last year's finals series.

The Sea Eagles maintained second spot behind Melbourne with a gritty 12-8 win over Penrith on Sunday, the victory their ninth from their last 10 matches.

Given their form and a decent run home in which they play four of their last six matches at home, a top four spot seems assured, with games against Melbourne and Brisbane in the final two rounds likely to determine their top two fate.

The Sea Eagles were similarly well-placed six weeks out from last year's finals series in fourth spot on the NRL ladder, but won just two of their last six games to finish the regular season in eighth as injuries and poor form put paid to their title charge.

They were subsequently bundled out of the title race in the first week of the finals by eventual champions St George Illawarra, but Foran said there was a renewed confidence within the squad this time around.

"I think we've got a little bit more experienced with the players out there - there's certain guys like Jamie Lyon and Jason King and Glenn Stewart - guys like that are really stepping up and leading the way and I think it's rubbing off on us younger guys coming through," Foran said.

"We feel confident when we're out there, I just think there's a better feel this year.

"We had a really good pre-season, Dessie (coach Des Hasler) and the coaching stuff outlined a good training schedule for us there and we all trained well.

"We're fit and we're strong and we haven't had many injuries this year which is probably different to last year."

The return of Brett Stewart in the No.1 jumper has had a profound effect on the Sea Eagles' attacking options this season, but Foran pointed to the influence of key duo Lyon and Glenn Stewart as key to the side's premiership push.

Glenn Stewart has been in career-best form over the pastfew months, culminating in a State of Origin recall for NSW, while Lyon's presence out wide is taking some of the pressure off Brett Stewart to be a focal attacking point.

Foran said it was up to him and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans to ensure plenty of ball got out to Lyon and Glenn Stewart.

"The more ball that those guys get, the better our team is so you want to feed them as much ball as you can."

The Sea Eagles are expected to be boosted by the return of representative forward Anthony Watmough against Wests Tigers on Friday night after he missed the win over the Panthers with a shoulder injury.

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