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2006 Season Blog

2006 Results | 2006 Player Stats

New Players in 2006:
Matt Orford, round 1 (returning from Storm)
Steve Bell, round 1 (from Storm)
Michael Robertson, round 2 (from Raiders)
Adam Cuthbertson, round 3 (Manly junior, Avalon)

"Pretty Average" Start
Round 1, Manly 14 Canberra 27:
With new signings Matt Orford and Steve Bell and a fully fit team Manly (at a $1.24 on Sportsbet) were expected to thrash a depleted Raiders side at Brookvale in round one. The big crowd of more than 17,000 at "Fortress Brookvale" was shocked as the raiders scored 4 tries to 3 to win 27-14. "
Ball control, ruck defence, attitude, structure and mistakes were the facets Manly players claimed badly let them down" (Dean Ritchie, Fox Sports). Fox Sports reported that Matt Orford rated both his and the team's performance as "pretty average". On a more positive note new signing Steve Bell scored two tries in his debut and there were no apparent injuries from the game. Also, we should get a much better price on Sportsbet against the Cowboys.

After Round 1: Won 0, Drawn 0, Byes 0, Lost 1, For 14, Against 23, Points 0, Position 11th

Huge Improvement
Round 2, North Qld 20 Manly 16: From hottest favouites on Sportsbet in round 1 to biggest outsiders ($3) in round 2. Manly faced a seemingly daunting challenge travelling to Townsville to face the red hot premiership favourites who, had thrashed the Broncos away in round 1. An injury to Steve Mattai led to reshuffle with Steve Menzies moving to the centres and Luke Williamson starting in the second row. Shayne Dunley was moved to the bench with Monaghan starting as hooker and Travis burns at five-eight. Former Raiders winger Michael Robertson debuted for Manly with Paul Stepheson starting on the bench. With some very doubtful "benefit of the doubt" video referee decisions and the sin binning of Steve Menzies for backchat, all seemed lost as the Cowboys raced to a 20-4 lead early in the second half. But Manly showed more grit than in round 1 and despite a 3-11 penalty count began to get on top. Two great tries to Brett Stewart gave Manly a huge "sniff" and the Sea Eagles went close to scoring from a cross field kick in the dying seconds which would have brought off an amazing victory. But alas it was not to be. Overall a huge improvement on round 1, especially in defence, and a solid base for Des Hasler to build on.

After Round 2: Won 0, Drawn 0, Byes 0, Lost 2, For 30, Against 47, Points 0, Position 14th

Fortress Brookvale Restored
Round 3, Sea Eagles 20 Sharks 18: Round 3 and a trophy in the cabinet already. Manly came from 0-10 to finish over the top of the Sharks to win the inaugural Sludge Trophy and restore pride to Brookvale. Brett Stewart and Steve Bell both scored tries again and Travis Burns put in another impressive performance to score a try and top the Sea Eagles tackle count (37) for the second week in a row. There were also fine performances by Ben Kennedy (36 tackles), Anthony Watmough (21 hit ups) and Matt Orford who kicked 4 goals from 4 attempts which was the difference in the end.

After Round 3: Won 1, Drawn 0, Byes 0, Lost 2, For 50, Against 65, Points 2, Position 10th

Comeback Kings
Round 4, Sea Eagles 30 Roosters 22: The Sea Eagles got off to their usual slow start and after early mistakes and two soft tries it was 0-12 after ten minutes. Manly needed to score next and hit back midway through the half with tries out wide to Stewart and Matai, both converted by Orford. But a converted Minichiello try and two penalty goals saw the Roosters kick away again for a 22-12 lead early in the second half. With the Hasler fitness regime beginning to pay dividends, Manly finished the match strongly. Tries to Orford, Bell and Burns, all converted by Orford, saw Manly run over the top of the tiring Chooks to win 30-22.

After Round 4: Won 2, Drawn 0, Byes 0, Lost 2, For 80, Against 87, Points 4, Position 8th.