SEMI FINALS THIS SAT AT MANLY OVAL
1st GRADE vs UNI KICK OFF 2:40
Manly will play Sydney Uni for the right to be the first side into the Shute Shield grand final - and they've picked up a new fan in Wallabies star Kurtley Beale as they look to land the club's first top grade premiership in 18 years.
Kurtley Beale, who turned out for Randwick in Manly's 33-21 qualifying final win on Saturday, is confident the Marlins can get over the top of the Students and go the whole way.
"Manly are a great team and have always been a force in the Shute Shield and I wish them all the best for the rest of the year," Beale said in between photo requests on Manly Oval.
"They've got a strong halves combination in Matt Lucas and Sam Lane and, if those guys keep going, I think they can go the extra step this year."
Beale played around 70 minutes but didn’t have a major impact on the game, with the Marlins keeping him well contained in front of another healthy Manly Oval crowd.
The hosts, despite numerous injuries, led from start to finish to book a preliminary final berth back at the Village Green next Saturday.
Winger Sireli Tagicakibau, who earned a late, late call-up as a replacement for Richard Hooper, got us underway with Manly's first try after just three minutes.
Manly then lost Reece Hodge for the day with a corked thigh while Matt Lucas headed to the blood bin after being opened up.
The consistent Dennis Pili-Gaitau soon doubled Manly's lead with a smart try, Sam Lane adding the extras and then a penalty for a 15-0 advantage.
It was then that the Galloping Greens mounted a mini-revival.
They went bang, bang to score two converted tries, reducing the margin to just one.
Manly needed something special and fullback BJ Hartmann obliged, producing an outrageous flick pass for Alex Northam to score in the hill corner after good lead-up from Tagicakibau.
BJ is now answering to the nickname 'Benji', if anyone's asking.
That try, which went viral online, pushed the hosts out to a 20-14 advantage before quick-thinking Lane potted a drop goal after the bell for a 23-14 halftime lead.
A Lane penalty early in the second half stretched Manly's lead before Cadeyrn Neville was binned for a late hit.
This is where the game could easily have been won or lost, but the Marlins dug deep to keep Randwick scoreless during this period
Northam then stepped up to complete his double eight minutes from time, sealing the deal for the boys in blue.
"It was always going to be hard – Randwick were playing for their season – and they didn't disappoint," coach Damien Cummins said.
"They competed hard at the breakdown and made us work for it.
"We had plenty to overcome with a few injuries and the boys had to dig deep, but it will hold us in good stead for next week."
Talking about next week, Turtle, your thoughts?
"We've just got to win."
Amen to that.
Kick-off is at the special time of 2.40pm, with seconds (12.55pm) and fourths (9.55am) also in action against Uni.
Wests turned up with nothing to lose and intent on making a statement. Their seconds were the Pirates only representation in the finals this year and so they had the luxury of fresh reserves and some planning in the preceding weeks.
They spent the first period of time camped in our 22, and we defended their line outs well. Then came some sharp work by blind side flanker Brad Meaney; putting his body on the line he dived on the loose ball for the turn over.
We sent the ball wide quickly and our mobile forward pack ensured the ball was carried into the Wests half. The ball was quickly recycled after a Vance Elliot charge, and shifted out to the left were No 10 Sammy Vaevae cut through and popped the ball to half back Timmy Donlan. With Wests defence on the back foot the ball came back to big centre Jonny Fakai and he dazzled them with his foot work, trotting over to score under the sticks.
The game ebbed and flowed. Wests had a very strong set piece but our mobility had them struggling when we played with width. The key to this game was going to be ball control and to run their big men around.
It was off a set piece they score their first try: a scrum near the halfway had Wests players running options and we opened up in the centres with their fly half wrapping around in support to score under the scoreboard and it was a tight game at the break 13 – 8.
The second half started with quick points, watching live it looked like a bit of luck, but winger Sireli took a highball on the finger tips tracking backwards, and tipped it onto a flying Treweek (fullback) who put it on the toe 40 out and chased it through to ground the ball under the Pirates nose. A great way to start the second half. But the Pirates wouldn’t lay down, they got the territory and work hard on their phases to cross for a converted try out wide to make it 20 – 15.
We responded quickly: it was territory and pressure that had us going over for 2 quick tries to extend the lead to 15 and the Pirates needed more than 2 converted tries. Both teams continued to contest hard for the full 80 and each crossed for a try providing the final score of 37 – 22 (5 tries to 3). We have an appointment next Saturday down at the Village Green – let’s do the business.
Hooker Vance Elliot’s work rate was huge. He played like another loosey and still did his work in the tight.
On Sunday morning fourths secured a win over Norths 17-7 to secure a semis berth.
There were some surprising results.
Minor premiers, Sydney Uni, lost to 6th placed Souths and second placed Eastwood were scratched by losing to Easts 12-3.
This means fourths have Uni at home in blockbuster day at the Village Green.
The other semi is Easts vs Souths.
“To put it simply we have the best supporters of any club rugby side in Sydney and probably in Australia,” enthused MMMs club president, David Begg. There is no doubt that NSW and Sydney Rugby Unions recognise this and the ARU has taken notice as it strives to improve the links between community rugby and representative rugby.
A great example is that Waratah and Wallaby Michael Hooper will be at the Village Green on Saturday where it all started for him.
“You can’t underestimate how important the support is to the players,” continued David “This is the time we really want to see everyone come down and make a difference. We haven’t lost a home game during the regular rounds for two seasons and it is no small part due to the support.”
The MMMs dominated Randwick last weekend winning 36-17. MMMs coach, Damien Cummins, when asked about the game plan, always says “play direct”. There was no doubt during the game that this was etched on the players minds. No compromise, tough at the breakdown and earn your right to spread it wide.
“Yeah, it came together well,” said MMMs hooker James “Cecil” Hilterbrand. “We built a lot confidence that allowed us to try new things as well as get the basics right.”
Randwick will be another proposition this weekend as it is a sudden death game for them. The format for the qualifying finals is 1st vs 6th, 2nd vs 5th, 3rd vs 4th. The three winners move to the semis plus the highest ranked losing team.
“To be honest it is no different. We talked about pressure and composure but we have to get out there and play to win,” said a pragmatic James.
MMMs captain and half back, Matt Lucas, returns and his pack organisation skills, defence and link with 5/8th Sam Lane will add another dimension to the plays. Both have Super rugby experience and add in Hilderbrand and massive lock Cadeyrn Neville, you have some excellent experience in key positions.
James came through the colts ranks and started playing grade in 2008. He worked his way through the grades to become a first grade regular. “I loved playing in the grades and remember third grade as being some of my favourite rugby times.” He went on to play for the Force and then the last two seasons for Edinburgh. It is likely he will return to Europe but he still loves, like many players, to come back to Manly to play for his home club.
“It is a different style of rugby over there,” he explained. “It is more physical in many ways.
“I was the social committee organiser which usually meant dressing up as women, my favourite, and going on a pub crawl somewhere. We had a lot of fun,” said James. But he tempered it with; “We had a South African coach, Alan Solomons, who regularly put us through full contact defence sessions during the week.”
The curtain raiser sees minor premiers, second grade, take on West Harbour. “Having come up through the grades, you know how important it is to be in the finals,” said James. Frankly, you don’t get many opportunities in your life to experience this, no matter what grade of rugby you play. Second grade play an exciting, fast style of rugby – get to the ground early to enjoy!
Fourth grade will playing Norths at Forshaw Rugby Park in 3rd vs 4th qualifying final on Sunday.
Go the Mighty Manly Marlins!
Manly Rugby Club are delighted to announce the winner of the Emirates Raffle this year, drawn at the Studs and Stunners Ball on Saturday evening. Paul Hines is our lucky winner, and we wish him a great trip out to Dubai! Our thanks go to the support that the Club has received from the Emirates Team, their support is very much appreciated.
So here we go again.
With the regular season done and dusted and back-to-back minor premierships secured with an emphatic 36-17 win over Randwick on Saturday, attention now turns to the finals.
The Marlins will be back at Manly Oval against the Wicks in the 1 v 6 qualifying final next Saturday.
Eastwood host the Rats in the 2 v 5 play-off, while Souths and Sydney Uni go at it in the 3rd v 4th shoot-out.
A win over Randwick will propel the Marlins into another home preliminary final.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
"It's awesome but we've got to go on with it," coach Damien Cummins said minutes after securing the minor premiership.
"Today is done. It's about putting in the same performance out here next week and the week after and the week after."
Manly will go into the qualifying final as red-hot favourites after extending their unbeaten run against Randwick to four years.
The Galloping Greens struck first but from there on it was Manly's game.
Or, more to the point, Reece Hodge's game.
He landed a penalty goal to reduce the gap to four points and then crossed for back-to-back tries for a 13-7 lead.
By now the Marlins had found their rhythm stick.
Centre Dennis Pili-Gaitau showed terrific footwork to score Manly's third try just before the interval, giving us a 18-7 halftime scoreline.
At the break Turtle asked for more of the same and the home side delivered.
Tries to Richard Hooper, courtesy of Hodge's slick hands, and Mitch Daniel underlined Manly's dominance.
"We beat them by 30 in round one and we've beaten them here and beat them twice last year, so there is a mental edge there," Cummins said.
"We were really good today. We were physical and aggressive at the breakdown, which we weren’t last week."
Reece Hodge had a big day out, scoring two tries, setting up another and landing two penalties.
"We've been building towards that for a while," he said,
"It was really pleasing to put it all together, especially in D (defence) where we kept them to seven points until the 60th minute mark.
"It's definitely a psychological advantage to beat them going into next week."
Apart from Hodge, Sam Lane, Harry Bergelin, Cadeyrn Neville and Pili-Gaitau were all very good in a dominant team performance.
Marlins skipper Matt Lucas will return for the qualifying final after sitting out the last two weeks.
Bring on the finals!
Having lost 2 games all season, one of them against the Wicks where we were held scoreless – this was a game we definitely wanted to win.
With form player Vinnie Baranyi not playing we had a re adjusted forward pack, and with big John Fakai dropping back to 2’s we had a completely rearranged backline. Randwick have been one of the form teams all season, and were coming off a loss to Eastwood last week so wanted to get the right result heading into the finals.
It was Randwick who went over for the first try. Although not pretty, we managed to claw our way back into the game crossing for 3 tries whilst the Wicks kept in the game through penalty shots at goal.
It looked like it was going to be one of those games that was going to be good to win ugly – but in the final minute of the game the Wicks scored a try and needed the conversion to win. It was duly slotted after the bell and they won 23-21.
Good to see we got up 3 tries to 2 and if it wasn't for Ellis having a rare off day with the boot we would have got up.
Vance Elliott and Will Croker got through a mountain of work in tight.
Seconds still secured the minor premiership with fewer loses than Eastwood who are equal final points.
As the minor premiers in both 1st and 2nd grade, the Marlins will host the first round of the finals this weekend at Manly Oval. With 4th Grade in action on Sunday at Forshaw Rugby Park, its going to be a huge weekend, and the Marlins need your support!
The full schdule for the finals this weekend is as follows:
GRADE SATURDAY Manly Oval
|1st Grade (TV)||3:10pm||Manly||v||Randwick|
|2nd Grade||1:15pm||Manly||v||West Harbour|
|3rd Grade||11:40am||Sydney Uni||v||Randwick|
|4th Grade||10:15am||Sydney Uni||v||Southern Districts|
GRADE SATURDAY T.G. Millner Field
|4th Grade||10:15am||Eastwood||v||Eastern Suburbs|
GRADE SUNDAY Forshaw Rugby Park
|1st Grade (TV)||2:40pm||Southern Districts||v||Sydney Uni|
|2nd Grade||12:55pm||Randwick||v||Sydney Uni|
|3rd Grade||11:20am||Eastern Suburbs||v||Northern Suburbs|
|4th Grade||9:55am||Manly||v||Northern Suburbs|
COLTS SATURDAY Forshaw Rugby Park
|Colts 1||1:10pm||Sydney Uni||v||Gordon|
|Colts 2||11:30am||Sydney Uni||v||Eastern Suburbs|
|Colts 3 (field 2)||10:00am||Sydney Uni||v||Northern Suburbs|
|Colts 3||10:00am||Randwick||v||West Harbour|
COLTS SUNDAY Chatswood Oval
|Colts 1||3:00pm||Eastern Suburbs||v||Northern Suburbs|
|Colts 2||1:10pm||Randwick||v||Southern Districts|
|Colts 2||11:30am||Northern Suburbs||v||Gordon|
|Colts 3||10:00am||Gordon||v||Southern Districts|
The “Village Green Fortress” doesn’t quite have the ring about it to describe the amazing home record the MMMs are defending. First grade has not lost a home game since the beginning of last season in the regular round games and have thus retained the prestigious Sir Roden Cutler Shield for all this time.
As if that wasn’t enough to play for, a win will mean the MMMs are Minor Premiers for the second year in a row. Second grade are in the same position; needing a win tomorrow to secure the Minor Premiership.
Get down early and support second grade, the defending champs! Their rugby style is a good quality running game with many excellent players and developing stars.
Whatever happens there will be some good celebrations at the Manly Rugby Club Ball for “Studs and Stunners” after the game at the Manly Pacific Hotel – click here
Captain and half back Matt Lucas is rested again as a precaution whilst he recovers from a groin injury. Tim Donlan replaces him after a good showing against Gordon last weekend. Harry Bergelin returns at open side flanker. Fullback BJ Hartmann is back after recovering from a broken cheek bone and so Reece Hodge moves back to centre with John Fokai taking a run in seconds.
“They will have used a lot of energy for the Eastwood game. It was a good win,” said MMMs coach Damien “Turtle” Cummins about Randwick’s against the odds win over Eastwood last weekend. “Warringah use the term “the Manly hangover” after their loss a week after beating us. Perhaps they will be a bit flat in the same way?”
“He played a lot for the Brumbies and Waratahs,” commented Damien about Stephen Hoiles in the Randwick side. “He has the smarts in the set pieces and so they will have their wits about them in the lineout.
“We have the best defensive record in the comp around set pieces and we will look to nullify any lineout advantage they will look to gain.”
It is worth noting that if the MMMs win, they will play Randwick again at home in the qualifying final next weekend (1st plays 6th and so on).
“Against Gordon we were pretty poor at the breakdown,” continued Damien. “There was a lack of urgency and we didn’t disrupt play. Vinnie Baranyi (flanker) managed to win the ball on our own line and we scored at the other end which shows that it works,” explained Damien. “We had a constructive contact session on Tues night.”
The MMMs took a bonus point win away against Gordon, scoring the bonus point try minutes from the end after a lack lustre middle period of the game. Prop Dane Maraki seemed be involved in everything with some impressive kick chases and cover tackles. It is worth noting that the backs haven’t offered him a spot yet!
The National Rugby Competition is fast approaching, and it’s time to show your support for the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays! Sign up here for all of the news and latest information about the Rays, and put the dates in your diary – two home games at Manly Oval not to be missed!
The Highlanders are always a tough nugget to crack and seem to get up for games against the MMMs. They lost 22-13 at Manly Oval in Round 5 and no doubt, being out of finals contention, will be looking for an against the odds win to hang their season on.
Last week Gordon were smashed by a star stacked Uni 44-26, consolidating Uni’s sixth spot on the table and thus booking a finals berth.
“No panic in the camp,” was Sam Lane’s comment about the loss to arch rivals the Rats last weekend 29-24. As club president David Begg mentioned, the first 30 minutes was some of the best rugby the MMMs had played all season.
“I can’t put a finger on it,” continued Sam about the game after that when the Rats put on 19 unanswered points. “We lost it more than they won it by making silly mistakes and taking the wrong options. But we are fourteen wins to two,” which is a fair comment and anyone would have taken that at the beginning of the season.
There are a number of changes to the line up. Matt Lucas, half back and captain, is a late pull out and will have a weekend off to rest a few niggles and so Tim Donlan comes up from seconds. James Hilderbrand comes in at hooker for Vance Elliot and Vinnie Baranyi is in at six whilst Harry Bergelin rests up a head knock.
“It is great that we have depth one though fifteen. Whilst it is bad news that we have lost Ed (Gower) there are other players who can step in,” said Sam. As an example, winger Chris Yarrington got a hat trick in 2nds and Alex Northam a brace is firsts – we are blessed with some great finishers.
Looking at the weather, the Gordon game is likely to be an eleven man type game. “The forwards have to get moving forward and win that battle,” said Sam. No doubt he will be unleashing some high balls to test the backs.
The other option, as Sam described it, is to: “just give it to Johnny”. John Fokai has been a revelation at centre. “He always seems to make something happen. He is a unique talent.”
“We just need to stay focused in the game for 70 to 80 minutes and hopefully put it away.”
Please note game times:
4th Grade: 10:30am
3rd Grade: 11:45am
2nd Grade: 1:05pm
1st Grade: 3:00pm
Manly are 80 minutes away from clinching their second minor premiership in as many years following a hard-fought 32-17 win over Gordon – thanks to a helping hand from Randwick.
The Marlins' win at Chatswood Oval on Saturday – coupled with Eastwood's loss to the Wicks – leaves the men in blue on top of the ladder with one round remaining.
If Manly beat Randwick at Manly Oval next Saturday, they will finish the regular season in first spot.
"It's great that we're back in a position to win the minor premiership," coach Damien Cummins said as the rain came down at Chatswood Oval on Saturday.
"That's proof you've been the most consistent team over 18 rounds but it doesn't guarantee a thing come finals time.
"We're going to have to get a lot better between then and now."
Cummins was largely unimpressed with what he saw against Gordon.
Manly led all day but struggled to kill off the lowly Highlanders until the final few minutes.
A Reece Hodge penalty and a wonderful length-of-the-field try to Alex Northam pushed Manly out to an early 10-0 lead.
Replacement halfback Tim Donlan scored soon after for a 17-0 scoreline and it looked a case of the Marlins by plenty.
But the dreaded mid-game lull struck again as Gordon worked their way back into the contest on a cold and dreary day that had the Marlins hoodie working overtime.
The Marlins led 17-14 and 24-17 before finally putting the Highlanders away with a bonus point try to Dan Alley with two minutes left.
"We had a game plan but didn't really execute," centre Dennis Pili-Gaitau said.
"There was some dumb stuff but the conditions probably contributed to the way the game went."
Back to Turtle.
"We had a lot of disruptions with Matt Lucas pulling out the day before the game, Harry Bergelin pulling out and Ed Gower taking off," he pointed out.
"It was a tough out there. We dropped too much ball and made it hard on ourselves but got there in the end."
Sam Lane, who scored Manly's first try, Cadeyrn Neville and James Hilterbrand were Manly's best.
As for the prospect of winning the minor premiership, Cummins warned: "It's great we're back at number one but we've still got to get the job done next week."
Second last game of the round games and a game that based on the ladder standings should easily be put the bag. It was a game to ensure our authority is built going into the finals, and that is the way we opened our account.
It came inside the first 5 minutes: a line out on our 22, quick hands out through the backs with BJ Hartman joining in and being pulled down just short of the line. A quick clean out and Ellis picks up off the back and dives over in the corner.
The next one again used the width of the field. It came from a line out deep in our own half, with BJ & Chris Yaz Yarrington showing some nice work out wide: a long ball from BJ, and a wrap around enabled Yaz to pop a no look pass to BJ who had the line open and raced around to score under the posts.
The 3rd try came again from out wide through the hands of Yaz and BJ down a very narrow blind side. This time it was Yaz onto BJ, and Yaz staying in the game supporting down the touchline to collect BJ’s pop pass and score.
We then sort of went into our shell, Gordon started getting some dominance in the scrum, and we defended for long periods. The tell-tale of our defence was when Gordon opted for the easy 3 points after spending a good 10 minutes in our 40.This left the half time score at 17 – 3.
It was Gordon who crossed the line next when Rhys Dombkins was given a break for 10 for a steal offence. Gordon kicked from the ensuing penalty for the line out and crossed for a try off the rolling maul. So down to 14 men, and having not troubled the score board attendant for 30 minutes we leaked our first try.
It was Tank Collins who stepped up and changed the flow with a thundering hit, and John Wonder gathered the loose ball and charged off down field. Nice hands down the left flank and quick ball to create the space had Treweek seeing the open paddock out to the right and he placed a perfect kick for Yaz to bag his second and we were back in business.
Then off the kick off, Vaka hands it off to Will Cocker who runs down the tram tracks through Gordon’s big men and into their 40. Quick ball and straight running out wide has BJ crossing for his second and it’s 31 – 8.
Treweek then picks up a cheap try off a wayward Gordon pass: a chip through and regather and he goes over in the corner and it’s a lead of 36 – 8 with 15 to go.
A number of changes were made for the last 15. Gordon managed to cross for 2 tries but and Yaz bagged another hat trick with a final score of 43 – 18.A number of changes are made for the last 15. Gordon managed to cross for 2 tries but and Yaz bagged another hat trick with a final score of 43 – 18.
For once, the old 'tale of two halves' line wasn't just a throwaway cliché.
A ruthless Manly owned the first half of Saturday's local derby, jumping out to a 24-3 lead on the back of four tries before Warringah scored a converted try just before the break.
The Rats took that momentum into the halftime break and came out a completely different side, piling on 19 unanswered points to claiming a scarcely believable 29-24 win before a delirious home crowd.
The Marlins were stunned, shocked and ultimately embarrassed by the capitulation.
Who saw that coming? Not skipper Matt Lucas.
"It's very disappointing to throw away a lead like that," he said.
"We were under no illusions because Warringah quite often do that to sides.
"Sides get away from them early and when they have nothing to lose they play that style of football and rein sides back in and get them at the end.
"We weren't good enough to stop that."
The Marlins stayed in a huddle for about 10 minutes after the game, with injured skipper Kotoni Ale and Lucas addressing the team.
So what was said?
"Kotoni and myself and a couple of other leaders just said we're letting ourselves down at crucial parts of the game," Lucas revealed.
"It's a harsh reality. You have to accept what went wrong and address it."
Asked if the Marlins could get back on track in time for the finals, Lucas continued: "Absolutely. It's the best vibe I've felt in a long time in a Manly side and we will learn from this and grow stronger.
"We'll be a force to be reckoned with come finals time."
There was no sign of a collapse as the speedy Alex Northam raced in two tries down the left touchline to give the visitors a dream start.
Big Caderyn Neville grabbed Manly's third following a lineout steal from Ed Gower before try-scoring machine Dane Maraki scorched 15m for his second try in as many games.
That made it 24-3 – but also signalled the end of Manly's scoring for the day.
The loss means second-rower Gower has played his last game for the year unless Manly can reach the grand final.
He is off to a wedding in Scotland and to do some travelling but will be up in the middle of the night to check on Manly's progress.
"No, it is certainly not (the way I wanted to sign off)," he said from the middle of Rat Park.
"That's the worse way you can go down (blowing a big lead). We were doing the simple things well in the first half then started making critical errors.
"But there is no reason why we can't turn it around. I want one more game."
The loss enabled Eastwood to leapfrog Manly into first spot with two rounds remaining.
The Marlins cannot finish outside the all-important top two but will need to win their two remaining games and hope the Woodies drop at least one if they are to snare the minor premiership.
Manly are away to Gordon next Saturday.