On the back of Manly’s victory against Brisbane in Round 21, it has become abundantly clear that the Sea Eagles are in a class above the rest.
Brisbane was good that Friday night. Not afraid to throw the ball around, minimal mistakes, and their execution was actually quite impressive. Yet they only managed one four-pointer. Why? Well I’ll tell you why, they could not break through the super impressive Manly defence.
Strength and conditioning coach Donnie Singe has the Manly squad finely-tuned, like a European sports car. The forwards look lean and strong. Take Brenton Lawrence for instance – he would have to be the only prop in the game with a six-pack.
Sure, Manly has suffered some defeats this year, like all teams. But it seems in the last few rounds their line is unbreakable.
They do, however, have the best halves in the game, one of the best fullbacks to ever play the game, and then there is the best centre combination we have seen since Gene Miles and Mal Meninga. But you have to hand it to them, their last few victories have come predominately off the back of some great goal-line defence and willingness to win.
The 23-4 loss to Souths dented their outright title favouritism claims to some degree, but there would have been little panic in the Manly camp afterwards; maybe just a little bruised pride. But as we saw last year, the Sea Eagles lift to another level in September and the comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Rabbitohs was a mere blip on the radar.
Donny has been torturing Manly players for 10 years now. Endless sand dune sprints at North Narrabeen beach, countless weights sessions and the odd game of tug-of-war. But believe it or not, it’s not just him putting the team through gruelling sessions. Manly have an additional trainer, something of a secret weapon, and let me tell you it’s not just your typical training methods of the old bench-press and arm-curls; it’s a unique method of strength and conditioning.
Situated just off Pittwater Road in Brookvale, in the most unlikely position, you will find Randall’s extreme gym. And let me tell you that’s exactly what it is: EXTREME!
Head trainer Matt Randall, son of the legendary Manly backrower Terry, is not by any means your average trainer. What he does is not for the faint hearted. He specialises in ‘Strongman’ training, using elements of power and endurance with minimal stress on the joints.
When I quizzed him on exactly what it is he does with the Manly squad, Matt remained very tight-lipped. What he did tell me,though, is the exceptional work Donny Singe does has this Manly squad in great shape both mentally and physically.
“These guys are super fit and committed”, Matt said.
“Full credit to Donny on the shape he has these guys in. Not only that, they all work so hard and put in for each other, a truly positive sign for Manly fans.”
Matt did mention to me just how motivated this team is. He singled out captain Jamie Lyon as being especially vocal in every session, portraying excellent leadership skills.
“Donny and I have had plenty of coffees in Dee Why, he is very thorough in what he wants me to do, he is big on motivation and pack mentality. They work so well together on completing the tasks I give them; if one guy struggles, another will jump straight in and help.”
It’s not just the pure class of this Manly outfit, it’s their desire to win that puts them above the rest. In recent weeks, there has been a lot of speculation regarding players wanting out of the club, stating unhappiness and disharmony. But I find that very hard to believe with the way they are playing right now.
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!