Prior to Saturday, the town of Albury was best known for a few reasons; being on the right side of the border, the Ettamogah Pub and Adrian Purtell (in reverse order). From now on however, whenever the town is mentioned it might be best associated with the end of the Manly Sea Eagles era.
Sure the Sea Eagles had a few injuries. Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai and Brenton Lawrence were just a few of the players who stayed behind in Sydney to be extras as “Baywatch Australia” was filmed on Brookvale Oval. Feleti Mateo just stayed home and sorted his snapback hat cupboard. However, every team goes through bad trots with the casualty ward and in the past Manly has usually been able to handle this, with a recent history of tenacity despite having their backs against the wall. Maybe the drama is starting to get to them. There might not need to be an investigation into this.
Manly’s star halves were almost invisible in the first 40. DCE had his mind on whether the Green Lantern ride would be functional again by the time he got to the Gold Coast and Kieran Foran was too busy thinking about opening week sales at Parramatta Wal-Mart. They did improve as the match wore on and they got their hands on the ball more, but the effort was not enough to deter some Sea Eagles fans from logging on and commentating on DCE’s instagram feed. Some fucks were given.
It had to be hard for the Sea Eagles halves to fire when playing behind a well beaten pack. When Willie Mason is the only forward in your team to make 100+ metres, you know you’re in trouble. When Luke Burgess is your go to Burgess you know you’re in for a bad time. When a guy on your bench is called Sao and it is raining there is only one possible result; Soggy Sao.
The Raiders needed to improve, in the effort column at least, and they did. Their new recruits continue to lead the way. New rake Josh Hodgson is endearing himself to those watching his game closely and it blows the mind why the Raiders didn’t try to find a hooker in an English Brothel earlier (that’s what I’m calling the Super League from now on). Blake Austin thrived on Hodgson’s crisp service and was equally as impressive in his defensive efforts as his gliding runs. He also makes the ladies moist (probably).
Signed for My Old Club candidate Sam Williams made the best of his recall with his smart kicking game and cool head a decisive factor in the territorial game. His kick-chase was also top notch and like an angry father of a teenage girl, he was all up in Brett Stewarts grill on a few occasions. If Jordan Rapana starts wearing gloves he might get a rep call-up.
With an eventful early season country trip done and dusted, the teams departed town in different directions. The Raiders team bus eventually found a park outside of Adrian Purtell’s birthplace and got in the queue of 1000’s to lie in his childhood bed for good luck. Manly had to send out a search party to look for their besieged coach Geoff Toovey. He was eventually found, hiding in a cublicle in the “Sheila’s” toilets at the Ettamogah.
Raiders 29 d Sea Eagles 16