has plenty of front
By Dean Ritchie - www.news.com.au 9/5/2005
THREE-try hero Ben Kennedy
admitted to feeling proud after depleted Manly
miraculously overcame the loss of four first-string front
rowers in one week to defeat Wests Tigers yesterday.
The Sea Eagles secured a ninth successive win at
Brookvale after having to field a side without Brent
Kite, Kylie Leuluai, Daniel Heckenberg and Jason King.
All four were ruled out within just days of each other -
Kite, Heckenberg and King through injury, and Leuluai by
Into the fray came forwards Jim Curtis, Mark Bryant and
Bryant and Cleal have only played several NRL matches
between them while Curtis was on debut, having played A
grade for Belrose just three years ago.
But the new players stepped up to help Manly remain in
equal first position on the premiership table.
"I was a little bit worried. Losing four front
rowers you lose a lot of go-forward and experience,"
"You can't get that back ... all you can do is gee
the younger blokes up and get them to lift their game.
"I was very proud of the kids. It was
Adding to Manly's heroic victory was Anthony Watmough and
Steve Menzies backing up from Friday night's City-Country
Watmough, again, was magnificent, making two memorable
trysaving tackles late in the match when Wests Tigers
were hammering the Sea Eagles tryline.
Asked about Watmough and Menzies playing twice in three
days, Kenendy said: "It lifts the boys, that sort of
thing. When you back up there's an excuse just to walk
around and play all right, but they've come out and
"It shows we're heading in the right direction with
Kennedy was generous with his words but some praise
should have been directed at him.
The Test forward scored three tries yesterday, enabling
Manly to overcome a 22-18 half-time deficit.
"We showed a lot of character, it was a gutsy
win," said Manly coach Des Hasler.
Asked how his side overcame the front-row crisis, skipper
Michael Monaghan said: "You can get caught up in the
players you have lost.
"But it gave four players an opportunity and they
proved today they are worthy first graders. It shows the
depth we have."
Wests Tigers yet again produced a fine first half but
again fell away in the second.
Manly surged early in the second half, scoring tries in
the 44th, 53rd and 60th minutes to claim their win.
The Sea Eagles won despite having to wait 23 minutes for
their first penalty.
Hasler was upset with the performance of English referee
Russell Smith and said he would contact referees coach
Robert Finch to discuss the matter.
Asked whether he, too, would ring Finch, Tigers coach Tim
Sheens said: "I'm sick to death of ringing Robert
Cleal was placed on report for a high tackle on Wests
Tigers forward Bryce Gibbs in the 27th minute. The pair
have been at each other since junior representative
"It was an old score and the kid (Cleal) will pay a
penalty," said Sheens. "He didn't miss
Sheens said his side's second half cost them any chance.
"After a good first half we shot ourselves in the
foot," he said.
Sheens said some of his side's senior players had to
"have a look at themselves".
(B Kennedy 3, C Hicks, B Stewart, M Witt tries; M Witt 5
(L Fulton, A Laffranchi, S Prince, M Rieck, P Whatuira
tries; B Hodgson 3 goals).
Referee: R Smith.