|Hill gives Sea Eagles a mental
edge over shell-shocked Warriors
14 Mar 2005
Warriors 20 Manly 26
After admitting he had been conned by
rival centre Terry Hill, the Warriors' Clinton Toopi had
a message for the 33-year-old Manly veteran last night:
"He did all right today, but let's see how his body
handles it over 26 rounds."
In his first NRL game for two years, former Kangaroo Hill
was reported, was accused of taking a dive at a crucial
stage and traded blows with Toopi as he gave the Sea
Eagles sufficient mental edge for an upset 26-20 win at
While Manly coach Des Hasler responded tersely to a
question about whether Hill had intended to get under
Toopi's skin with sledging, the New Zealand international
had no doubts.
"That is obviously why they purchased him; he is
well known for his niggle and his tendency to get up
people's noses," said Toopi, who was replaced
because coach Tony Kemp said he "lost his
cool". Toopi continued: "I knew before the game
that he would be niggly and put on some dirty stuff, but
it is something I learnt today. I went a bit wayward
after the fracas, or whatever you want to call it.
"What I learnt is to concentrate on your game and
don't get involved in that kind of slander."
Manly seemed as fired up an hour after the rugged,
physical contest as they had been during it, with Hasler
sarcastically thanking a reporter at the media conference
for firing his team up with a pre-match column.
But it was a performance which should have had Manly
celebrating rather than spitting chips.
They led 12-2, 16-8 and 26-14 and yet each time a
determined but rusty Warriors outfit - cheered on by
13,682 fans - came back at them.
Victory was finally assured when replacement forward
Anthony Watmough came up with a bomb 20 metres from his
own line and passed to winger Scott Donald, who sped away
for his second try with 23 minutes left. The Warriors
rattled bones in defence but couldn't rattle the Eagles'
cage when they had the ball.
New Warriors skipper Steve Price said: "While there
is some frustration about the fact we did drop the ball,
that's the only thing we did wrong."
Hasler insisted that "what happens on the field
stays on the field" when asked about Toopi but
admitted that, thanks to Hill, "mentally, we
out-toughed them today". Kemp called Toopi
Hill had the following take on the four incidents which
indicated his unique style of competitiveness was still
effective in 2005:
Allegedly kneeing an opponent on the ground. "There
were definitely no knees," he said.
Stoushing with Toopi, who threw the first punch and was
penalised. On the field, Hill taunted him by saying:
"I'm too clever for you". Off it, he said:
"I gave as good as I got. It was nothing personal.
He's a good, young player going to win games for
Price, the successful Bulldogs captain who transferred to
the Warriors in the off-season, accused Hill of lying on
the ground near the tryline with the game in the balance,
to which referee Sean Hampstead replied: "What do
you want me to do, Steve? I'm not a doctor." Hill
said: "It was a head clash. Look, it was a tough
game of football."
Being reported on the advice of video referee Chris Ward
for a high shot on Jerome Ropati less than a minute after
Hill got to his feet, although the penalty was awarded
two minutes later. "I was really surprised to be
called out because there was no way it was high,"
"Today was a massive mental mountain to climb for
us," the former South Sydney, Western Suburbs, Manly
and Wests Tigers star said.
Terry Hill is back. As a result, the Sea Eagles may well
|Manly Sea Eagles 26
Tries: Donald 2, Menzies, Watmough, Hopoate
Goals: Witt 3/5
New Zealand Warriors 20
Tries: Anderson, Koopu, Toopi
Goals: Jones 4/4
at Ericksson Stadium.
13 March 2005
Referee: Sean Hampstead
Michael Monaghan (c);