Warriors bounce back to defeat the Dragons 26-10 ... Read more

Manly's big guns keep on firing

Last updated 06:34 29/07/2014
Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans
Getty Images
SHINING STARS: Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans, left, have been standout performers for Manly despite off-field issues affecting the club.

Relevant offers


Jamie Lyon dive 'worth an Oscar nomination' as Hollywood act rules out try Kieran Foran's stunned family say league will be his saviour through dark times Manly Sea Eagles lose Dylan Walker as North Queensland Cowboys run riot Mitchell Pearce makes top return as Sydney Roosters rout Newcastle Knights Recap: Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights - NRL Round 9 Recap: Manly Sea Eagles v North Queensland Cowboys - NRL Round 9 Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart blows up at NRL field goal decision Panthers win a close one in Bathurst Recap: Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders - NRL Round 9 Warriors coach Andrew McFadden certain he has players' support

First-year Manly players Cheyse Blair and Josh Starling have been surprised by their teammates' mental strength as the Sea Eagles continue their march towards a minor premiership despite off-field turmoil threatening to derail their season.

Manly again managed to prove that, no matter what is happening away from the field, their football won't suffer, when they travelled to New Zealand and beat the Warriors 22-12 last Sunday.

The victory meant Manly jumped four points clear on top of the premiership ladder as the contract uncertainty surrounding several key players lingered.

Blair is no stranger to off-field controversy after switching from a Parramatta side that was plagued by distractions away from the field in recent times. The outside back said woes away from the field can distract young players, however Manly's senior group had kept the side together.

"They are pretty big dramas but it's not fazing us," Blair said. "Because of how many seniors players are here. They've been playing together for 10 years. They all know each other so well on the footy field.

"They just get down and play football. That's why it's so easy for me to come into a team and play like I do because I play outside superstars.

"[Off-field turmoil] puts a bit of pressure on you. There is a coach that might like you that might get the sack. That's what happened to me at Parramatta with Mooks [then coach Stephen Kearney]. He gave me my first crack at first grade then he got sacked at the end of the year."

Blair has impressed in his limited opportunities this season, scoring four tries in his five outings. He said he was immediately impressed by the team's mental resolve when he joined them for preseason training in November.

"I noticed that as soon as I came to the club," Blair said. "The culture they set as senior players, they have a big say in what we do and how training goes. It's very easy to catch on to. If we get told to do something by them, us young blokes do it.

"Toovs [coach Geoff Toovey] hasn't changed. He is a hard man when it comes to training. He knows what every player can do. He hasn't blown up about it. I think he is sick of [the innuendo]."

Teammate Josh Starling, like Blair, is in his first season as a Sea Eagle after switching from South Sydney. The prop said the performance against the Warriors was impressive.

"Not too bad for a team struggling with each other," Starling half joked. "The way the [senior players] hold themselves, I don't even know anything that's going on. They never show it.

Ad Feedback

"No one talks about it. They deal with whatever they need to address. They've been through it all before so they know what they are doing." 

- Sydney Morning Herald

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who is your pick for international league player of the year?

Shaun Johnson

Jesse Bromwich

Sam Burgess

James Graham

Greg Inglis

Johnathan Thurston

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content