Almanac Rugby League – A heartbreaking loss

I was one mouse click away from being in Sydney for Grand Final day but ultimately had enough stuff in my head telling me not to go. I didn’t and right at the bottom of my heart I now think it was the correct decision. I would have been dead set filthy on myself however if I wasn’t there for my clubs first premiership.

I listened to ABC grandstand to hear the Auckland Vulcans heartbreakingly get defeated on the buzzer by the Bulldogs in the NSW Cup.

I streamed the Toyota Cup grand final over the internet only to have the feed switch from Fox Sports to Channel 9 and the film “Escape to Victory” (the feed obviously coming out of Victoria) just as Golden Goal was about to begin. This was distressing but god bless the cotton socks of the bloke/blokette that was streaming it over the net, his/her mum obviously came and changed the channel or had the channel change on some automatic timing mechanism. I quickly reverted back to ABC Grandstand to hear Alan Mac, without a doubt NZ’s best Rugby League caller, lose it when Jordan Meads potted a field goal for the Warriors to take there second consecutive under 20’s premiership. New Zealand Rugby League is structuring a dynasty for its juniors, hopefully continuing with a Junior Kiwi victory over the Junior Kangaroos in Newcastle.

The two national anthems played before the game was really odd, as the camera panned across the players faces it sunk in that this was totally a club game, Aussies and Kiwis dispersed between the two sides. I am a huge fan of the international game and this made me realise how important is to keep it strong,

The match started with the intensity you would expect big hits and bloodshed. The Warriors were obviously sticking to the game plan that worked so well against the Storm. The Warriors edges did look weak but the Sea Eagles couldn’t quite get the last pass right under pressure from the Warriors defence. The Warriors arguably had the better of the earlier exchanges and had the first opportunity to attack after a spilled bomb from the Sea Eagles. Maloney made a horrendous error from the scrum dropping it off the first pass. These mistakes only seem to happen from teams that I support.

The Warriors were rewarded for some good football by opening the scoring with a penalty. Shortly after Manly had the opportunity to even up with a penalty but kicked for touch. This was a little mental battle that was not lost on me. The first try went to Brett Stewart and was based entirely on speed. At 6 – 2 and close to half time things were looking good for the Warriors if they could hold on and take that score to halftime but they couldn’t, they were tiring heavily and they let fatigue take over one defensive set too soon, Daly Cherry-Evans finishing off a 90 metre effort to break the Warriors backs.

This was the premiership won in my opinion points scored just before half time are almost worth double when the psychological component of them is taken into account. 12-2 at the break to the Sea Eagles, I still had a glimmer of hope after the last two weeks tremendous second half performances by the Warriors.

The second half started with Manly continually threatening to put the game out of reach. Krisnan Inu made a tremendous run out of his in goal to get the ball back to half way only to drop the ball cold. Inu’s run was incredible it showed how much natural football ability the guy has got. I have come to the conclusion that Krisnan just doesn’t care about Rugby League. He is in a career he doesn’t really like but the money is good. He would rather be doing something else if he could. If I had 5 cents for everytime enigma was used in a sentence with Inu I would have retired a couple of years ago.

Manly finally put the game out of doubt with a sublime “flick pass” from Hopoate back inside to Glenn Stewart for the Eagles to take it out to 18-2. I often wonder why they call it the “flick pass”, surely “reverse” or back pass would be a better name for it. The Warriors fought back strongly keeping the game interesting on the back of Feleti Mateo and Shaun Johnson becoming more involved in the game but when Jamie Lyon crashed over with a minute to go the Warriors dream of a maiden premiership was well and truly dead.

Manly take away the 2011 NRL premiership and thoroughly deserve to do so. The Mcintyre system did its job and gave us a worthy winner and gave us tremendous football in weeks two and three of the finals. I don’t think the Mcintyre system is broken so I wouldn’t fix it. I think it suits the NRL and the tightness of the comp very well. Congratulations to all the Manly-Warringah fans on another premiership.


3 – Glenn Stewart

2 – William Hopoate

1- Daly Cherry-Evans


  1. Ian Hauser says


    The Warriors could have felt a little hard done by with both of Manly’s first half tries (suspect penalty and defender blocked from a tackle in the respective lead-ups) but, in the end, Manly was the better team. (How it gripes me to say that!)

    When the Warriors played the plan that worked so well against the Storm, they looked good. However, in the second half when they had to play too much catch-up footy, they reverted to a more ad lib style that will not win grand finals – remember Parramatta v Storm a couple of years ago. Structure will always beat ad lib in finals.

    To me, the problem is Mateo – undoubtedly a match winner on his day but almost equally a potential liability because of his obsession with trying to get away the miracle pass, even in heavy traffic. (Think David Campese in rugby.) I thought he cost the Warriors their general structure and possession on a number of occasions, albeit with a few great runs in-between.

    In the end, it’s a team game. Manly stuck to their plan and played to it as a team. The Warriors can look to some good years ahead with their emerging players led by the very admirable Mannering.

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