Dan Walsh, Staff Writer, NRL.com
Creative Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner says the 2013 premiers will be ready should Manly continue their recent habit of shooting out of the blocks in this Friday’s blockbuster Grand Final rematch.
In last year’s memorable decider the Sea Eagles scored in the 7th minute and were all over their rivals in the first quarter of the match, and have continued to start well in 2014, scoring the first try in all three of their matches so far and jumping to a 20-4 halftime lead against Melbourne in Round 1.
“They’ve just got experience all over the park and a lot of strike power, especially in their backs with Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai so we’re going to be expecting a big start from them,” said Cordner, who made his NSW and Australian debuts last season.
“You expect nothing less from Manly. It’s going to be a tough one and we’re going to have to come out firing and definitely be better than what we have been the last few weeks.”
The Roosters will take plenty of confidence into the match after their last-gasp win over the Broncos, as well as a stellar defensive record against the Sea Eagles, conceding just 34 points to one of the competition’s premier attacking sides in their past four meetings.
Cordner, who made a last-minute return from an ankle injury to play in last year’s Grand Final, said that while the Roosters would take plenty of confidence from their recent results against Manly, the premiers could not afford to rest on their laurels.
“They’ve got a great attacking team and every time we play them we’ve got to be on defensively and we’ve done that the last few times we’ve played them.
“It’s going to be no different on Friday night.”
Halfback Mitchell Pearce said he was looking forward to taking on the halves combination most judges have dubbed the best in the competition, with his and James Maloney’s respective duels with Clive Churchill medallist Daly Cherry-Evans and Kiwi Kieran Foran just one of many mouth-watering battles across the park.
“I can’t wait. Cherry-Evans has been outstanding over the last couple of years and Kieran’s obviously a great player,” said the NSW half.
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“While everyone has their own opinions on who’s their best player in my opinion [it’s] Kieran. I think they lose a lot when he doesn’t play and he’s one to watch for.”
Both Pearce and Cordner said the Roosters were preparing as though Foran would play despite the Manly five-eighth stating he was unlikely to overcome an ongoing calf injury in time for the clash [he has been named
“I think he’ll play,” said Pearce.
“He loves a challenge so he’ll be up for it. But even if he doesn’t play they’re still a quality team.”