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That's My Voice. - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Tue, 10 Apr 2007 11:28:00 GMT
“Holy moly, Batman. Manly are still unbeaten in the National Rugby League. Is this the work of the Joker?” Okay, I was telling a half-truth there.

No, I didn’t speak to the caped crusader last week or in fact any week. That’s one private number not listed in the NRL media guide. But I am impressed at how high the Sea Eagles are flying at the moment.

They have soared up the NRL competition ladder quicker then Daddy Cool’s famous hit “Eagle Rock” became a national #1 hit in Australia, are conceding only 8 points a game while they head into round 5 1 of only three teams still undefeated.
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And what’s more they’ve achieved these impressive feats without the inspirational Ben Kennedy and for most of the new season, injured captain Matt Orford.

That’s because Manly has shown enough tactical sagacity to buy well in the off-season.

Equally if not more important then the players they brought in have been the one’s they kept by the fingernails.

Replacing the injured Orford, Michael Monaghan has been sheer joy to watch from the grandstand.

He’s taken over the role of the number seven jersey like he was never stripped of it in the first place. His performance at the moment suggests he never should have been.

Just like he should never have been told by Manly management in June, 2005 that they would not be offering him a contract for 2006.

Many players having heard that would’ve taken their services elsewhere and no doubt about it, Monaghan would have found another club to ply his trade at.

The former Tuggeranong junior however showed a rare yet admirable loyalty to the northern beaches outfit. I bet some of the Manly faithful are now wiping their brow.

Would Manly be on an undefeated streak right now had Monaghan walked away and signed with another NRL club? That’s hard to say.

But his previous experience in the role has been the glue that coach Des Hasler needed to prevent the Sea Eagles good form from coming unstuck.

The key to winning is of course the platform being laid by the forwards for the halfback who is then able to take on the advantage line of play to utilize his skills, of which Monaghan has many at his disposal.

His kicking game (two field goals in Round 2 and 4) has been accurate and well-timed and as a decision maker he has not let the side down with many poor options on the final play.

I still cannot fathom that someone high up at Manly had the audacity two-years ago to tell this talented bloke he had ‘two weeks to perform.’ Well, he’s just performed very well for three.

Yet the sad truth is that no matter how many wins the Sea Eagles get under their belt with Monaghan at the wheel, the number 7 role will never be up for grabs except when injury comes calling.

Then again that doesn’t bother Monaghan. He is a big man who plays for his team not for himself. Rugby League needs more players like that. - Read More, Here