Emus dispensed with, now for the Rats

By Adam Lucius
What: Shute Shield round 9
Who: Penrith vs Manly
Where: Nepean Rugby Park
Result: Manly 52-26
Manly are where on the table: First (44 points)
80 minutes in 80 seconds: Manly were missing a few topliners and perhaps had one eye on the local derby, but take nothing away from the gallant Emus. They led early and only trailed by five at the break. Coach Melrose gave his team a nice rev-up at halftime and the expected points rush started to come, but it was the points conceded that would mostly concern Billy. After being so good defensively, the Marlins have conceded eight tries in two weeks against teams at the wrong end of the table. That needs to change, starting this Saturday.   
Where it was won: It was just a touch of class here and there – and superior discipline - that proved the difference in the end. Penrith kept coming but the Marlins were never really in danger of defeat. The second half was marginally better than the first, with Manly finishing eight tries to four victors. But this one won't make the collectors' set of great Manly rugby victories.        
Marlins' best: Will Cocker, Cam Bailey 
What they said: "The performance over the last couple of weeks has dipped below our previous standards. This week we need to regain some lost pride in the derby match. Last time against the Rats was a day that did not represent anyone from Manly well (43-17 loss). We need to restore some pride on Saturday in front of our supporters and the community." – coach Brian Melrose 
Odd Spot: Was that Rats assistant coach and ex-Manly great Damien 'Turtle' Cummins we saw swapping information with two high profile Marlins on Sunday night….surely not?      
Where to from here: As if we need to tell you. It's New Year's Eve, Christmas Day, and the key to the brewery all rolled into one – local derby day at the Village Green. The Rats have not left 2095 with victory since 2007.      

Click here for the Marlins Draw 2017

Click Here for the full Shute Shield Draw