For Manly, grand final revenge hinges on self-belief Andrew Stevenson | April 9, 2008 http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/i-did-a-lot-of-things-wrong/2008/04/08/1207420389915.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 NEAR the end of last season, Anthony Watmough was in the best form of his career, and when Ben Kennedy said the nuggety second-rower should be one of the first forwards picked for Australia, no one laughed. Then came the grand final, when the Storm put so many points on Manly it made their heads spin, and Watmough's arms did turnstiles in defence as the Sea Eagles ended a great season on a sour note. Any thoughts of adding to his one Origin cap from 2005 sunk with his side. Now he is prepared to be up front about last year's decider. "I know personally my grand final wasn't the best game I could have played," Watmough said. "I definitely didn't do many things right and did a lot of things wrong. But that's the good thing about football - there's always another game to play." The only problem is that another game is not just any other game. This Friday Manly fly into their tormentors' lair, facing the Storm at Olympic Park. Melbourne have had an uncharacteristically inconsistent start to the year, winning only two from four, including a rare home loss to Cronulla (17-16) in round two, and will be intent on making a clear statement to their rivals - and the rest of the competition - about where they stand. Manly, coming off an unimpressive showing against Souths last Sunday, have a turnaround two days shorter than Melbourne's. To make matters worse, they have never won in Melbourne. But it's not just cold, windy and hostile at Olympic Park. No Manly players wants to speak of a grand final rematch but, between the lines, it's clear the demons born of the 34-8 touch-up are yet to be slayed. "You'd be lying if you didn't go down there feeling a little bit vulnerable," conceded Watmough. "I think there were a few scars [after the grand final] for the first couple of weeks but when we got back to training, Dessie [coach Des Hasler] said we've just got to move on and prepare for this year." As much as Hasler might like to treat the Storm encounter as just another match, the players know it's not so. But it's not revenge that counts so much as taking a measure of themselves - personally and as a team. Watmough acknowledges it's a chance to show off, all the more so because NSW Origin coach Craig Bellamy will be sitting in the Storm's coaching box. "Especially down in Melbourne on a Friday night - people are going to be watching. You always want to play your best footy but it would be good to do it against the defending premiers - especially with selection coming around the corner for rep teams," he said. Prop Brent Kite echoed the theme. "They're definitely still the team to beat as far as '08 goes," he said. "I'm just looking at it that way; if we want to do well in this competition we have to try and knock off all the top sides, and Melbourne is right at the top." While the Storm backs win all the raps, Kite knows the engine-room tussle will be crucial. With new recruit Josh Perry - likely to back up after suffering an adductor strain last weekend - Kite will be seeking to lead from the front. "They're big boppers [the Storm forwards] - big strong guys - but they all seem to have a little bit of feet so they get into space and work their elbows and knees and then Cameron Smith drives it down long and it's really game on from there: how you're going to bring it out from your end and how long you can keep it up for." No one in the Manly camp would confess to having watched the grand final on replay. "Maybe in 20 or 30 years' time," suggested halfback and captain Matt Orford. "My memories of the grand final were when we walked out, linked arms and sang the national anthem and looked up and there were 80,000 people there. That was the highlight of my night."