Manly can win NRL comp: Anasta - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly can win NRL comp: Anasta

By David Beniuk 07/08/2011 08:19:46 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters skipper Braith Anasta declared Manly could win the NRL premiership after the Sea Eagles smashed his side with a near flawless display at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.

Manly ran in eight tries to two in a 36-8 mauling that would have been much worse for the Roosters if Jamie Lyon had kicked better than his two from eight.

The Sea Eagles rebounded from last weekend's surprising loss to the in-form Wests Tigers in the most clinical way, disposing of a Roosters outfit whose only end of season battle will be to avoid the wooden spoon.

Des Hasler's side firmed up second position on the ladder, four points behind Melbourne, to be in the box seat for a double chance in the play-offs.

Asked if the Sea Eagles could go all the way, Anasta didn't hesitate.

"Definitely. There is no reason why they can't," he said.

"They were just too good for us.

"They dominated us with the ball and without it."

With Manly still to play the Storm, and Melbourne also to meet desperate premiers St George Illawarra, the minor premiership is not out of the question for the Sea Eagles.

Hasler, though, was keen to hose down any expectation, particularly after learning the news that co-captain Jason King's season was over with a pectoral muscle injury.

"It's about us maintaining our game," he said. "You can't focus on the minor premiership.

"The rest will take care of itself. It's out of our control.

"We just want to play well, finish well and continue with our momentum."

The battle for top-four positions and a home final in week one will be on in earnest over the next month with third-placed Brisbane, fourth-placed North Queensland and the fifth-placed Dragons the most likely to fight out the bottom two spots.

The defending premiers have lost three in a row but will be favoured to beat the Roosters in Wollongong next Sunday and can leapfrog the Cowboys into fourth if the Broncos win Friday night's Queensland derby in captain Darren Lockyer's record-breaking 350th game.

Seventh-placed Newcastle continue to remind the more fancied sides of their credentials, thrashing a lowly opponent for the second straight week with a 40-8 victory over Canberra.

The X-factor is the eighth-placed Tigers, who have the softest run home of the top-eight sides and could conceivably win all four games.

They will have to do so without brilliant centre Chris Lawrence, who the club confirmed will be sidelined for four to five weeks after an MRI scan revealed a grade two hamstring tear suffered in Friday night's 16-14 win over the Dragons, their fourth straight.

Outside the eight, Canterbury and South Sydney are the only sides realistically challenging, with the Rabbitohs able to join the Bulldogs four points adrift with a win over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium on Monday night.

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