Written by Jon Kroiter
Coming off the back of a surprise loss to the North Sydney Bears, the Mounties travel to Brookvale Oval to take on the Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
The two sides met earlier in the season at GIO Stadium in what was a game of two halves. The Mounties streaked away to a 36-0 lead before injuries to Lachlan Croker and Rhys Kennedy swung the momentum in Manly’s favour. However, the Mounties dug deep to hold on for a 36-32 win.
“I thought last week was a little bit disappointing but it was due to come,” said Mounties coach Steve Antonelli.
“Week in, week out, the travel and being up [in Sydney] each week, there was going to be a time when they [the players] are on a downer so I knew it was coming close.
"Hopefully, we’ve got past that point now, and we can move forward and keep building on the year we’ve had because I think we’re in a position to have a good year.
“After our loss last week, we’re probably more worried about ourselves than the opposition. I think that was our downfall last week, we didn’t turn up ready to play and that’s why we ended up being beaten at the back end.”
The Mounties welcome back Sam Williams and Zac Santo to the lineup after the pair travelled with the Raiders to Brisbane last week.
“It [gives] us a big boost,” said Antonelli. “[Santo] gives us a lot of confidence at the back and Sammy gives us a lot of direction on the field. His kicking game is second to none so that’ll help us a lot when we are under the pump a bit. [I’m] very happy to have both of them back.”
Speaking of Santo’s Raiders debut against the Broncos, the Mounties coached was pleased by the fullback’s effort.
“I thought he did his job well. I think he was one of the best out there so I was very happy for him. That’s what it’s all about with my job, pushing guys up into NRL and hopefully they do the job like he did.”
The Mounties currently sit second on the ladder, equal with the New Zealand Warriors – although the Mounties have had one less bye round. A win against the 11th placed Sea Eagles could see the Mounties claim outright first if the Warriors lose to the Newtown Jets.