Second counts for nothing, says Hasler - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Second counts for nothing, says Hasler

By Ian McCullough 06/09/2011 03:30:39 PM Comments (0)

Manly coach Des Hasler has hailed his players for an outstanding NRL season,but insists it counts for nothing as the Sea Eagles start their finals campaign against North Queensland on Saturday.

Few people tipped Manly to be contenders this year, with many questioning whether rookie halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran had the experience to guide a team to the finals.

There were also doubts about how well star fullback Brett Stewart would return to action following a serious knee injury.

But after finishing second on the ladder, having tasted defeat just six times, and with Foran and Cherry-Evans forming a formidable combination, the Sea Eagles have given themselves a great chance of repeating their 2009 grand final success.

Stewart has also showed flashes of his best form, crossing for 11 tries in 17 games but despite his side's excellent campaign, Hasler expressed concerns about the threat of the Cowboys.

"It was always going to be a year of finding out," Hasler said.

"There was always that potential there but this side deserves a lot of credit for what they've created and what they've moulded themselves into.

"But we can't get too far of ourselves. Top two means little now, for want of a better cliche.

"We're in another competition now so it starts from there.

"The Cowboys have arguably they've got the best player in the world in (Johnathan) Thurston, they've got one of the form front rowers ... in young (Matt) Scott, and two international centres in (Brent) Tate and (Willie) Tonga, and they've got that little X-factor at the back there in (Matt) Bowen.

"They're going to be pretty tough opposition for us but that's what finals footy is about."

Hasler refused to be drawn on the impact the sacking of veteran media man Peter Peters will have upon the club, but admitted the timing of the news on Monday evening was far from ideal.

Manly chief executive David Perry announced on Monday that Peters' 40-year association with the club will come to an end at the conclusion of this season.

The 66-year-old, who won two grand finals with the Sea Eagles as a player, is a close confidant of Hasler and many of the team but the coach is confident his players will remain focused.

"It's been a pretty tough nine days, like in most sports and most skills timing is everything. It was almost impeccable, wasn't it?," he said.

"He's been here a long time but the chief executive has given his views on it, the club's view and the board's.

"Footy players are footy players. They'll be ready to play - they're looking forward to playing on Saturday."

Foran admitted he was surprised how well he and Cherry-Evans has combined and insists they can improve further.

"It's been pretty surprising, everyone was aware we played together in the Toyota Cup for a couple of years so we got to know each other's game there," Foran said.

"He's come along in leaps and bounds but we're just developing our combination and there's still plenty of work to go there but hopefully it keeps getting better."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news