Manly fans gutted, excitement in Vic - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly fans gutted, excitement in Vic

By Karen Davis and Jamie Duncan 30/09/2007 11:00:11 PM Comments (0)

Scenes of jubilation in Melbourne were a stark contrast to the mood on Sydney's northern beaches as the Storm defeated the Sea Eagles 34-8 in the NRL grand final.

Hundreds of Sea Eagles fans packed into pubs and in front of a big screen on a balmy night at Manly beach to cheer on their heroes, some with maroon and white painted faces, some wearing jerseys and others waving flags.

Despite delays in erecting the screen and fans missing the kick-off, the mood started out upbeat and wildly optimistic with cheers at each try and collective groans of disappointment at every miss.

Even at half time with the Storm a converted try ahead, diehard fans did their best to remain positive, with one supporter Joshua Thor saying Manly hadn't kicked into gear but were "strong finishers".

But by the final siren they were heading off, gutted, to drown their sorrows at the nearest bar.

Ziggy Rizek, who enthusiastically waved an enormous Sea Eagles flag at every try, said the team just hadn't given their best.

"To come all this way the whole season and lose, it's disappointing," he said after the game.

"They didn't come out hungry enough.

"But making it to the grand final is a big success."

Amy Keshishan, who has been a Manly fan as long as she can remember, said the loss was devastating.

"I thought we were going to smash Melbourne," she said.

"All you can do is be thankful we made it to the grand final."

But a couple of thousand kilometres south, excitement ruled at Melbourne's Federation Square, where a cold night failed to deter around 500 Storm fans from watching the clash on a giant screen.

Melbourne-born Brett Devenish, who travelled from Brisbane to watch the match with his mates, said he was incensed by negative press coverage of the Storm's tackling style and planned to celebrate the win long and hard.

"They (the media) tried to put us off our game and they failed, this is justice. This is justice," he said.

Running through the crowd with a Storm flag tucked in his shirt like a cape, Toby Fleming said the victory was sweet after the Storm's grand final loss last year.

"This so makes up for last year. I can't wait to see the boys back in town."

Another fan, Philomena, was teary as the celebrations began.'

"I can't believe they won. I'm so proud," she said.

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