|Mindful Monaghan inspires a Sea
Walter - www.smh.com.au
21 March 2005
Sea Eagles 46 Sharks 20
Manly skipper Michael Monaghan yesterday inspired a
12-man Sea Eagles side to a crushing defeat of Cronulla
in an ill-tempered match at Brookvale Oval, despite being
unable to train last week because of a hip injury.
While the main focus after the match was John Hopoate's
30th-minute send-off, the grit and determination shown by
Monaghan and his team suggests the Sea Eagles are in for
a good year.
Just minutes after Hopoate's dismissal, veteran centre
Terry Hill hobbled from the field with a hamstring
problem, and it later emerged he was almost ruled out
before kick-off after sustaining the injury in the
Monaghan, who scored two tries and had a hand in most of
Manly's six others, was also forced from the field during
the second half but later returned and said he had merely
been battling cramps. But he revealed he had also been
battling a hip problem sustained in last weekend's defeat
of the Warriors.
"I just landed wrong in a kick and hadn't been able
to train all week so I was a bit underdone,"
Monaghan said. "I was pretty disappointed with how I
played against the Warriors so it was better today, but
we're not getting too carried away."
Ahead 24-0 when Hopoate was given his marching orders,
the Sea Eagles lost their way temporarily but came out in
the second half and blew Cronulla off the park. In
addition to the loss, the Sharks had lock Greg Bird
placed on report for a dangerous throw, while skipper
David Peachey and centre Ryan McGoldrick were sin-binned.
"If you don't play well you get frustrated and you
give penalties away," Cronulla coach Stuart Raper
said. "I thought maybe some [of referee Paul
Simpkins'] interpretations were a little bit different to
what I saw, as in consistency, in the ruck area. It would
have been a great example of when to use the interchange
But before Hopoate's dismissal, Manly were playing an
impressive brand of disciplined football and always
appeared headed for a big win. With Monaghan and
five-eighth Michael Witt kicking deep and often early in
the tackle count, the Sea Eagles' tactics were simple but
effective; pin Cronulla down their own end and wait for
The Manly players, who last week could be heard slowly
counting to three in defence before releasing their
Warriors opponents, were yesterday calling for the ball
carrier to offload in tackles to a teammate directly
behind him in a safe position.
The ploy caught the defence unawares on several occasions
and was responsible for at least one try when Monaghan
slipped a ball close to the Sharks' line for fullback
Brett Stewart to stroll over and score in the 21st
Monaghan also put in the kick from which second-rower
Anthony Watmough scored in the 15th minute and was
responsible for both of the Sea Eagles' other first-half
tries. But the Hopoate incident clearly rattled them and
by half-time their lead had been cut to 24-16.
"We certainly didn't handle it well, we gave away
three quick tries, but half-time was pretty good for
us," Monaghan said. "We made some little
adjustments and I think we showed in the second half you
can still keep your defence in order even though we were
a man short."
Again it was Monaghan who showed his teammates the way,
scoring in the 43rd minute to swing momentum back Manly's
way, and when McGoldrick was sin-binned 17 minutes later
for repeatedly holding down too long the game took
another dramatic turn.
Sea Eagles utility Shayne Dunley scored almost
immediately and then when Watmough grabbed his second
try, Peachey exploded, telling Simpkins: "You're
With the Cronulla captain sin-binned, too, the game was
as good as over but there was still time for former Test
back-rower Steve Menzies to grab his 150th try and Dunley
to be put on report for a lifting tackle on Peachey that
sparked a full-time melee.
"There was a lot of intensity out there and it
obviously got the better of a few players but we just
stuck pretty solid and focused on what we needed to
do," Monaghan said. "Obviously the Sharks
didn't handle it as well. I'm pretty happy with the way
the boys responded and I thought it was a sign of the
toughness we've developed in the off-season."
|Manly Sea Eagles 46
Tries: Monaghan 3, Watmough 2, Stewart, Dunley, Menzies.
Goals: Witt 7.
Cronulla Sharks 20
Tries: Aitken, Covell, Vagana, Simmons.
Goals: Covell 2
at Brookvale Oval.
20 March 2005
Referee: Paul Simpkins
Michael Monaghan (c);