GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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Des Hasler was watching his side, the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles finish the season at their lowest point, a 28-0 loss to the eventual premiers, the Manly coach could only lament, what could have been in season 2010. The loss in round one, would set in motion a rollercoaster ride for Manly fans lasting the whole season and featuring many points where fans would ask to be let off but also times where they would scream from the rooftops about how this would be their year and no one could stop Manly Warringah.
Starting from a low ebb, Manly capitulated, leading 20-4 at halftime, they were overrun 26 points to 22 in a successful return for Lote Tuiqiri. Manly would make a habit, even an art form of building up first half leads and finding new ways to lose, the most spectacular being the second half demolition done on them by Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Todd Carney in round 25. There were some great high points for the Sea Eagles though, mostly occurring at their home ground fortress Brookvale including wins over the Dragons and the Storm ranking highly.
Besides the second half comebacks, Manly also struggled with injuries throughout 2010, none more than captain and chief playmaker Jamie Lyon constantly forced on and off the field with injuries even playing through them to help out his side. This injury dilemma combined with suspensions for Steve Matai prevented the Sea Eagles from having a genuine shot at the premiership trophy, before their qualifying final against St George Illawarra, Manly were without nine players and had three players (Watmough, Ballin and Kite) playing with niggles, the former being sent from the field for an incident late in Manly's final game of the season.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for Manly, after their round one loss they blooded a rookie halfback who ended up becoming an integral part of the team, Trent Hodkinson who provided the kicking game needed to steer the Eagles around the park, he also won them several games with winning field goals, notably two against the South Sydney Rabbitohs another side who couldn't finish off games in 2010. There was also Michael Oldfield who will be pushing for a starting spot in a star studded backline in 2011, he brought youth and speed into a Manly side much lacking in this department without Brett Stewart and David Williams.
Where they got it right