Grand Final player profiles: Manly
1. Brett Stewart
One of the game’s pre-eminent try-scorers, Stewart goes into Sunday’s decider with a career record of 112 tries from just 137 top grade games. Surprisingly, he did not cross the line in either of his grand final appearances in 2007 and 2008.
2. Michael Robertson
In 2008 Robertson joined a rare group of players to score a hat-trick of tries in a grand final, joining Johnny Graves (four tries for Souths in 1951), Eddie Lumsden (St George, 1959 and 1961) and Steve Renouf (Brisbane, 1997) when he crossed three times in the Sea Eagles’ triumph over Melbourne.
3. Jamie Lyon (captain)
Will bring more experience in grand finals to Sunday’s decider than any other player. Lyon played his first grand final with Parramatta as a 19-year-old in 2001 and appeared in 2007 and 2008 deciders for the Sea Eagles.
4. Steve Matai
One of three New Zealand-born players in the Sea Eagles’ line-up, Matai will confront 14 of his countrymen in the Warriors’ squad.
5. William Hopoate
Has scored four tries in two finals appearances for the Sea Eagles but will bow out of rugby league after the grand final to pursue a two-year Mormon mission.
6. Kieran Foran
In 2009 Foran was named alongside halfback Daly Cherry-Evans in the Toyota Cup Team of the Year; now they have the chance to become the youngest halves pairing to win a premiership since Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling at Parramatta in 1982.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
Aiming to emulate the achievements of David Liddiard (Parramatta, 1983) and Israel Folau (Melbourne, 2007) who won the Dally M rookie of the year title and a grand final in their first season.
8. Joe Galuvao
Has an opportunity to join a select group of players who have appeared in grand finals for three different clubs. Galuvao won a premiership with Penrith in 2003 and played in Parramatta’s team which lost the 2009 decider to Melbourne.
9. Matt Ballin
Caught the Brisbane defence napping with a try from dummy-half to open the scoring at the SFS last Friday night and was also first tryscorer when the Sea Eagles beat the Storm in the 2008 grand final.
10. Brent Kite
Achieved the highest individual honour of his career in 2008 when he was named by Australian Test selectors as the Clive Churchill Medal winner following the Sea Eagles’ record-breaking defeat of Melbourne.
11. Anthony Watmough
Along with winger William Hopoate (Manly Cove) and interchange Vic Mauro (North Curl Curl), Watmough is one of only three Manly juniors in the grand final line-up. The Narrabeen junior is the longest-serving member of the Sea Eagles’ squad, having played 205 games since 2003.
12. Tony Williams
At 192cm and 118kg, Williams dwarfs even the Warriors’ biggest players. He has played his best football since making a permanent switch to the forwards this season.
13. Glenn Stewart
When Glenn and younger Brett have both scored a try in the same game, the Sea Eagles have never lost. Manly have won nine from nine when both Stewarts have registered four-pointers in the same 80 minutes.
14. Shane Rodney
Won a premiership title with the Panthers in 2003 and has endured a series of career-threatening injuries in recent seasons before earning another opportunity to play in a winning grand final team.
15. Jamie Buhrer
The 21-year-old Hills District junior is one of five Manly players who either played for Parramatta or were Eels juniors. The Parramatta influence in the Sea Eagles’ line-up is due largely to recruitment manager Noel Cleal, who previously served in the same role for the Eels.
16. Vic Mauro
Powerful back-rower who made his first grade debut against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium in 2007. Has played the Warriors twice in his 26-game NRL career and has a 100 percent winning record.
17. George Rose
Barrel-chested forward who has earned cult-figure status at Brookvale in recent seasons. Recovered from a career-threatening leg fracture in 2008 to become a valued member of the Sea Eagles’ squad.
18. Darcy Lussick
Impressed in his limited appearances in the top grade until he was suspended for three weeks for his part in the Battle of Brookvale when Manly clashed with Melbourne in Round 25.
19. Tim Robinson
Like team-mate Daly Cherry-Evans, Robinson made his NRL debut early in the 2011 season and has been a valuable interchange performer in 13 top grade appearances. He is the younger brother of former Parramatta and Sydney Roosters forward Chad Robinson.
Coach: Des Hasler
Has steered Manly to the finals for seven consecutive seasons and has taken the Sea Eagles to the grand final three times in the past five years. Only the second individual (after Bob Fulton) to win premiership titles with Manly as player and coach.