History points towards Manly, Storm NRL GF - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

History points towards Manly, Storm NRL GF

Joe Barton 22/09/2011 06:48:48 PM Comments (0)

History suggests the NRL grand final teams have already been decided - with Melbourne and Manly possessing long, unblemished records in grand final qualifiers.

Since their 28-13 loss to the Sydney Roosters in 1975 the Sea Eagles have won all seven of their grand final qualifying matches, while Melbourne have won all five since entering the competition in 1998.

And despite their unmatched premiership success over the past 20 years, Brisbane, Manly's opponent on Friday night, have been largely hit and miss in the weekend before the decider, winning just four of their eight matches.

Meanwhile the Storm will face their bogey team the Warriors, who boast just one grand final appearance in their history despite three preliminary final matches.

"It would appear that recent experience in winning these crunch games will give Manly and Melbourne an advantage over their opponents this weekend," rugby league stats guru David Middleton said.

Former Sea Eagles coach and chief executive Graham Lowe believes Manly's dominance at the business end of the season is something which is entrenched in the make-up of the club.

"I think anyone that has ever been associated with Manly knows immediately that there's a culture and a really strong work ethic based at the club and that always comes to the fore when the big games come around," Lowe told AAP on Thursday.

Lowe coached the Sea Eagles between 1990 and 1992, and said that message was clear the moment he stepped in the door.

"That's the expectation, that was just how it was, there is an expectation of great things at the club," Lowe, who stepped down as CEO this season due to ongoing health concerns, explained.

"Those that have been through the system at Manly but are at other clubs understand it, and they will tell you for sure that it is just a culture at the Sea Eagles."

Lowe says current Manly coach Des Hasler has done a sensational job drilling the Sea Eagle ethos into the current playing group.

"Part of Dessie's success is that he has really been able to draw on that tradition and what it actually means playing for Manly," Lowe added.

"They've been nothing short of outstanding this year to tell you the truth.

"Dessie has taken it all to a whole new level of professionalism and he's got all the players pledged to what his vision is, and everybody has bought into it."

Manly recruitment manager Noel Cleal, a fearsome second-rower who played in Manly's 1987 premiership victory, was shocked to hear of the club's record in preliminary finals.

"Is that right? It is an impressive record," he said.

"You can talk about good records and bad records, and we've had both, such as going to Cronulla for 20 years and not being able to get a win, so it's not something I read too much into.

"And I daresay it wouldn't have been all complete dominance on the footy side of things, I think there would've been an element of luck about it as well.

"You're never complacent or over-confident going into a grand final playoff because the side you're playing obviously wants to be there as well."

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