Matt Orford. I think it only took TWO halves of footy for Orford to find his groove/feet. I noticed his short passing game really took off in that second 1/2 against The Tigers (espescially with Watmough, and Leuleuai). His kicking game is sensational. He started really talking it up on the field, and was the obvious leader when BK was off the field. Michael Monaghan. I think he has found his niche at 5/8. He seemed to combine well with Orford, and the two of them as play makers seemed to confuse the opposition somewhat. I felt as though our defence was at its strongest when Ballin was at Hooker, Monaghan 5/8, and Orford at half back (Start of 2nd 1/2 against The Roosters). He's having a REALLY good year so far. I'm glad Monnas is still in the maroon and white. It also makes our team look and seem stronger on paper. Brent Kite. Thank you Ricky Stuart. I think you have given him back his motivation, steel and aggression we saw from him at St George. He has had a stellar start to the 06 campaign. I can almost visualise a green and gold jersey on the guy. Two droppsies today, but that was nothing compared to his damaging runs, and smacking defence. It almost bought back days of having The Spud back at Brookie. Jason King. He seems to have lost weight (upper torso), and also seemed to be a lot more mobile. He did some pretty damaging runs, but I thought his lateral defence may have been a tad better, but I put that down to match fitness. I thought he made pretty good impact on the game, and would rate him right up there. Well done Jason, I knew you'd do it!!! George Rose. After watching him in three games for Manly so far (2 today - he played Premier League AND 1st grade), I think Dessies call about his weight not being an issue is 100% correct, because he has skill. He was by FAR the most damaging prop in reserve grade, then seemed like one of the better ones in 1st grade as well. How someone that size moves as quick as him, or for as many minutes is beyond me !!! Adam Cuthbertson. Last week against The Roosters, he had a blinder of a game. This week, a solid one. He continuously created second phase play in BOTH matches, hit hard in defence, and spoke as a leader on the park. These games have proven to me that he should be a very close candidate for 1st grade. In general play and impact on the game, I think Cuthbo is a better 2nd rower than Willow, but at the same time, Willow finds the try line more often, and is more diverse. What to do? Cuthbertson is a mirror of Ben Kennedy in my opinion. Ruthless, yet prone to the VERY OCCASSIONAL error because they want to CREATE so much - and that's not a bad thing at all !!! Matt Ballin. Every game he plays, he seems to have the ball on a piece of string ! Just as Fox Sports have said, he HAS to be in the mind of Des Hasler for the first grade team. He only played Premier League today, but again (much like Cuthbertson), showed he was a class above the other guys in that group. I look at 1st grade selection like this. Why have a 5/8 (Monaghan) play Hooker, so that a 1/2 back (Witt) can play 5/8, to make room for a true half back (Matt Orford)? Ballin in the team puts everybody (plus Dunley) in their preferred specialised roles. It also means Dunley will make more impact coming from the bench. Michael Witt. I rate Witt as a player, but his form in both trials in my opinion has left a lot to be desired. I thought most of the attack today stemmed from Clint Halden. Unfortunately, I believe Monaghan should be 5/8 rather than Witt, at least until he gets his confidence back. There was a lot of dropped ball from Witt, and his biggest weapon (goal kicking) wasn't too crash hot either, when in comparison to other years. He'll get his groove back no doubt. I just hope it's through Premier League, because I don't want it to cost us in first grade. Paul Stephenson. Late in that second 1/2 today against The Tigers, he showed what he could actually do !!! Agression, size, speed and power. I think it came down to confidence. Once he scored that try, he had self belief again. I think Hooker is a no brainer for Dessie to pick (Ballin), but either Robertson / Stephenson will be the toughest selection delema in my opinion. Michael Robertson. Pace to burn? He's quick, he gets involved, and he doesn't run sidewards like Scott Donald used to. I like his style of play, I like his energy. The hardest hurdle for this guy, is Steppa though. I couldn't just drop Steppa. Steve Matai. While he showed that he can score a try today, he also showed that he was found wanting in defence, and dropping the ball. This is another position I think that needs to be looked at, and I'm hoping Ashley Alberts fills that void in a few weeks time. I won't discuss Matai's performance against The Roosters, or Parramatta last year for that manner. In general, I think our structure, and style in attack is a hell of a lot better this year. We seem commited and confident. Matt Orford seems to instill confidence in those around him. We have a lot more leadership. Ben Kennedy seems like a great captain. Spoke to the ref today and once he heard the refs decision, just conceded, got back in the defensive line and reved up for battle again. Anyways guys n girls...I'm pretty excited about the year ahead. I also have a few concerns (as I've discussed recently around player selections), but I doubt Dessie will name Moorwood / Cherry in 1st grade in season proper. Maybe I'm wrong too?