Manly search for ‘trick play’ to rattle Panthers

Jasper Bruce and Scott Bailey |

Reuben Garrick scored a try when the Sea Eagles played an expansive game against Penrith last year.
Reuben Garrick scored a try when the Sea Eagles played an expansive game against Penrith last year.

Daly Cherry-Evans believes it takes coming up with a “trick play” to rattle an all-conquering Penrith as Manly players refuse to rule out another attempted kicking duel.

Manly unsettled the Panthers playing an expansive style of footy when the sides met last August, and only two fortunate tries kept the reigning premiers level with their hosts at half-time.

Manly were so willing to chance their arm that fullback Reuben Garrick engaged the Panthers in a rare kicking duel by punting the ball straight back to Penrith after receiving it in the second half.

But the Sea Eagles had pushed the envelope too far. Defusing the unorthodox play, Panthers winger Sunia Turuva ran the ball back through the scattered defensive line and scored the go-ahead try. Penrith won 24-12.

But Garrick would not rule out another kicking duel at Brookvale Oval again this Saturday.

“Well you never know … who knows,” Garrick said ahead of Saturday’s rematch.

Manly's Reuben Garrick
Manly’s Reuben Garrick celebrates a try in the round-one match against the Rabbitohs in Las Vegas. (HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS)

He quipped that the Sea Eagles could put the ill-fated move on former assistant coach-turned St George Illawarra boss Shane Flanagan.

“I’ll blame Shane Flanagan. It was all his idea,” Garrick said.

“(The idea was) to pull that out and get their forwards to have to turn around again and hopefully pin him down on their line again, so they had to ruck it out for another whole set. 

“Then hopefully that can shock them. But it went belly-up pretty quick.

“That was the method behind it, but I guess we can throw ‘Flanno’ under the bus now, he’s not here.”

The Sea Eagles have lost all six of the sides’ clashes since the Panthers surged to premiership dominance in the 2020 season.

After the most recent meeting, Manly coach Anthony Seibold said it was nigh on impossible trying to win an arm-wrestle against the famously gritty Panthers.

That sentiment has been top of mind as the Sea Eagles prepare to host the three-time back-to-back premiers in round five.

“You do need some sort of trick play (to beat Penrith),” Cherry-Evans said.

Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans
Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans says it takes coming up with a “trick play” to rattle Penrith. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

“Most weeks, most teams will try and identify some form of trends defensively. They don’t necessarily look like a trick play when they come across on the TV.

“But you are trying to break down people’s defence.”

Into their fifth season setting the pace for the NRL, the Panthers have become used to teams chancing their arm.

“You’ve got to be prepared for a lot of different things, no matter who you come up against” said fullback Dylan Edwards.

“You just rely on your training to be able to take over if different situations arise in the game. 

“It’s interesting to see some teams, how they approach us. It’s also a fun challenge.”