|Watmough the man|
|Written by Jason Avedissian Manly Daily|
|Thursday, 27 August 2009 18:12|
A COLLECTION of Manly premiership-winners believe Sea Eagles powerhouse Anthony Watmough is the man the club can’t do without in their bid to become the first team in 16 years to win back-to-back NRL titles.
Of the 13 ex-Sea Eagles surveyed by The Manly Daily on Thursday, six said the Sea Eagles can’t win the premiership without Anthony Watmough.
Next best was Brett Stewart (three), with Matt Orford (two) and Matt Ballin (one) also picking up votes.
Former Australian lock Nik Kosef couldn’t name one, opting for the props, Josh Perry, Jason King and Brent Kite.
But for those who did isolate one player, Watmough emerged as Manly’s main man.
“It’s a hard one when it’s a team sport, but, being an ex-forward, I would have to stick with the forwards and go with Watmough,” David Gillespie, a member of the 1996 premiership pack, said.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of the other blokes feed off that. Of course Stewart is a big factor in it too.”
Having scored five magical tries in just two appearances this season, Stewart is a significant factor.
The 24-year-old will get a chance to add to his tally when he returns in Sunday afternoon’s round 25 clash against the Sharks at Brookvale Oval.
Premiership-winning hooker Mal Cochrane said Stewart’s X-factor makes him their leading man, while Terry Randall and John Hopoate also went with the No.1.
“In its simplest form, they are all good players, but when you’re looking for an edge in the big games, I guess Brett Stewart gives you that,” Cochrane said.
Former Queensland Origin series-winning coach and 1987 Manly premiership captain, Paul Vautin, went for the hooker.
“I’ll go with Matt Ballin,” Vautin said.
``Matt Orford runs the team from first receiver, but Matt Ballin is so important.
``He does a great job from dummy half.
``If Cameron Smith is ever in doubt he would fit into that Queensland side very comfortably. He’s a great hooker.’’
Craig Hancock, Mark Carroll, Darrell Williams, Owen Cunningham and Russell Gartner all went for the fiery second-rower.
``Stewart is an important player but the bloke who’s been doing it for them all season is Watmough,’’ Cunningham said.
``He’s been exceptional. He seems to be the bloke who can do something for them, whether it be a break or pull off a big tackle.
``They are looking to him more and more now.’’
Champion five-eighth Cliff Lyons and ex-hooker Max Krilich both went for Orford.