|Eagles exact revenge
DEAN RITCHIE - www.news.com.au, 2 Sep '02
EAGLES coach Peter Sharp has
posted a sign on his office door which is a horrifying
reminder of his darkest day.
It was on April 13 this year at Ericsson Stadium when
Sharp's Eagles were battered and embarrassed 68-10 by the
New Zealand Warriors.
The next day Sharp pinned up a handwritten sign which
read: 68-10 - NEVER AGAIN.
And it certainly won't happen again based on yesterday's
courageous win over the Warriors in the return match at
After yesterday's game, Sharp revealed that first round
humiliation was the motivating factor behind yesterday's
victory, which all but seals a place in the finals for
the over-achieving Eagles.
"It was a giant step - we've certainly come a long
way since that 68-10 loss," Sharp said.
"That game was certainly brought up a few times
during the week and I'm just really proud of the boys how
we've turned things around."
Told his side, which many backed at $3.20 to win this
season's wooden spoon, was now on the verge of competing
in the finals, Sharp said: "It has been an enormous
"But this is also about next year and the year after
because we want to rebuild this club to where we once
It was a gruelling and tenacious arm wrestle at Brookvale
yesterday with both sides scoring three tries.
The Warriors, who were chasing the minor premiership, led
10-6 at half time but the Eagles inspirational captain,
Steve Menzies, scored five minutes into the second half
to give his side a lead they did not relinquish.
The home side failed with several chances to seal the
match before replacement hooker Shayne Dunley raced over
from dummy half to clinch the match.
The Warriors scored through prop Mark Tookey with three
minutes remaining but the Eagles defence held tight in
the gripping final few moments to record their 10th win
of the season.
A victory over Penrith next Sunday at Brookvale Oval will
guarantee the Eagles a finals position, but the club may
still even reach the playoffs with a loss depending on
Dunley changed the pace of the game around the ruck area
while young prop Jason King gave a ferocious performance
for a player most certainly headed for representative
"We said we needed to win today after they touched
us up in the first round," Menzies said.
"We have a belief in ourselves and if we can get the
two points next weekend we're in the finals."
Dunley added: "It was certainly a big turnaround
from when we last played them.
"A lot of people didn't expect us to win today but
we knew if we could stick with them until half time we
were a big chance of winning."
The Warriors yesterday looked a team which is tiring
after such a gruelling season.
Coach Daniel Anderson said he would rest several key
players, including hooker PJ Marsh for next weekend's
match at Ericsson against the West Tigers.
Although the Warriors look out of form going into the
finals, most agree the New Zealand team is certainly
capable of success in the big games.
"We made some errors and couldn't get any
momentum," Anderson said.
"Our confidence is down and sometimes today we
played selfish football whereas the games we have won
this year have been as a team.
"I am concerned but don't want to over react - we
still have a home semi final and at the moment we're
preparing for the playoffs which mean some of my boys
might have a rest next weekend."
Warriors halfback and captain Stacey Jones added:
"It is disappointing that we've now had two losses
in a row but we're not getting down in the dumps about
Tries: Hopoate, Menzies, Dunley.
Goals: Ferris 3
Tries: Guttenbeil, Murphy, Tookey.
Goals: Jones 2
Referee: Tim Mander