flex new muscle
By Dean Ritchie - www.news.com.au
MANLY forward Anthony
Watmough yesterday continued his bold surge for a New
South Wales State of Origin position after revealing he
had radically changed his entire approach to rugby
Watmough was again among the Dally M Medal points with a
robust performance in Manly's win over Canberra before
more than 17,000 fans yesterday afternoon.
The victory takes Manly - developing and maturing each
week into a quality football side - to equal first on the
NRL competition table.
The Sea Eagles' new-found grunt and thump comes thanks to
Watmough and new buy Ben Kennedy.
Watmough said after the match he sat down during summer
and wanted to alter his game, including a stronger mental
"No more slacking off," Watmough said. "I
wanted to have a real dig in matches. I wasn't training
100 per cent and was doing just enough to get by.
"Now I am doing extra work and it is paying off.
"I also wanted to get tougher mentally. I had been
weak mentally, I felt.
"I don't want my mind telling when I'm tired.
"It's easy to stand up when things are easy but I
now want to put my hand up when things are tough.
"I sat back and thought, 'I am only in this game for
a short while, I want to get as much out of it as I
Watmough is getting plenty out of rugby league in season
With a new attitude and body shape, Watmough is pounding
opposition sides in defence and offence.
Yesterday he ploughed into the Raiders, earning praise
from coach Des Hasler.
"Anthony is trying to get consistency into his
game," Hasler said.
"He has been outstanding this season. He has made an
impact for us every week."
Canberra, unbeaten before yesterday, led 8-6 at halftime
but could not hold back a relentless tidal wave of Manly
skill and tenacity during the second half.
The Sea Eagles scored three tries in the opening 13
minutes of the second half to lead 22-8 and virtually
kill off the Raiders' chances.
Adding to Canberra's problems is a sternum injury to
He could miss several weeks through the injury but may
also face a suspension.
Smith, who scored Canberra's first try yesterday, was
placed on report by referee Jason Robinson in the 15th
minute yesterday for a dangerous throw on Watmough.
"He is in a fair bit of pain and discomfort,"
Canberra coach Matt Elliott said of Smith's injury.
Manly scored late tries in the 71st, 75th and 78th
minutes to clinch their fourth win from five matches.
Canberra finished the game with 12 men after fullback
Clinton Schicofske was sin-binned late for a professional
The Sea Eagles absolutely deserved their win but the
Raiders did face a heavy penalty count against them and
were behind 6-1 midway through the first half.
Kennedy was a juggernaut again although he did suffer a
second-half injury while fullback Brett Stewart scored
Stewart is a wonderful prospect and looks to have the
Manly fullback position secure for a long, long time.
Halfback Michael Monaghan scored a try and assisted in
The game had several fights but all the talk centred on
Manly's win, their seventh in succession at Brookvale
"It was a good win after last week (a loss to St
George-Illawarra). We did it and did it pretty
convincingly," Hasler said.
"There are some good signs this early in the season
but there is still a lot of improvement there for
36: (B Stewart 2, S Matai, M Monaghan, S Harris,
S Donald, S Menzies tries; M Witt 4 goals).
Canberra 14: (J Smith, M
Adamson tries; C Schifcofske 3 goals).