There was some fascinating football played in round one but I would
have say Manly was certainly the most impressive and resilient side -
and they did it the hard way.
Des Hasler may have moved to
Canterbury but it seems he left behind a team mentally tough and with
plenty of resolve and character.
This now looks set to continue in the Geoff Toovey era.
The odds were really stacked against Manly on the weekend yet they still somehow found that ruthless edge to win at Eden Park.
this into account - they had to travel to Auckland to play New Zealand
in front of nearly 40,000 fans and had only just returned from England
where they contested the World Club Challenge.
And we shouldn't
forget all the horrible off-season drama which plunged the famous into
crisis and the fact hooker Matt Ballin was sin-binned late in the game.
It only re-enforces what a superb win it was to the Sea Eagles.
I am actually a little shocked at how many critics have written-off Manly for this season.Toovey must have been relieved yet excited at the win, his first as an NRL coach. It is always a special moment.
Manly's win sets up a sensational contest with rivals Wests Tigers this Friday night in Gosford.
These two teams have history and there is no doubt it will be aggressive and physical.
I actually thought Wests Tigers were lucky to overcome Cronulla in golden point at Leichhardt.
You couldn't help but feel for Sharks at fulltime, they looked a shattered team.
The Tigers were the only side over the weekend to actually win at home.
Saints, Storm, Manly, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Canterbury all won on the road - a remarkable situation.
A lot of people have asked me about my old side Newcastle.
It was a tough and entertaining game on Thursday night although the Knights did go down of course by a field in golden point.
should remember Newcastle sent out an entirely new front-row in Adam
Cuthbertson, Danny Buderus and Kade Snowden. These three players have
never played together before.
I didn't think Newcastle connected that well on the field but it is only round one.
I hope fans whose team lost on the weekend don't get too despondent.This competition is wide open but Manly showed to me they are ready to put up one hell of a title defence.