Manly's substantial chances of retaining their Winfield Cup title
received a further fillip yesterday with the news that English front-rower Kevin
Ward is returning to the club.
Ward, who will rejoin Manly after Great Britain's tour of Australia, will
be available for their last three premiership matches and the finals series.
The Castleford prop played a prominent role in last year's grand final win
over Canberra and, along with Australian representative Phil Daley, will give
Manly one of the most formidable front-rows in the premiership.
Manly secretary Doug Daley spoke to Ward yesterday and said Castleford had
no objection to his joining the Sea Eagles for the rest of the Australian
season. Manly are now awaiting the formality of a clearance from the English
South Sydney captain Mario Fenech said last night that his side must win
tonight's match against Cronulla at the Sydney Football Stadium to have any hope
of gaining a final-five berth.
After last Saturday's disappointing loss to Penrith, Souths are three
points behind fifth-placed Cronulla. Fenech said that loss would spur his side
to a greater effort.
"It was obviously important that we beat Penrith, so now we are faced with
an even more important game," he said. "The importance of this game will be our
motivation. It is just a necessity for us to win."
Despite the adverse publicity surrounding the Stadium this year Souths
have found it a happy hunting ground in recent weeks. In their last match there
under lights they easily accounted for Brisbane 16-4.
"We've had a good success rate there and we feel confident we can go on
with it," Fenech said.
Cronulla have several injury worries, including Australian winger Andrew
Ettingshausen and halfback Barry Russell.
Ettingshausen suffered neck and knee injuries during Tuesday night's
torrid second Test against Great Britain, and Russell is battling to recover
from a hamstring complaint. Both players will undergo fitness tests today.
Cronulla have already lost second-rower Allan Wilson, who has been replaced by
The teams are:
SOUTHS: B Djura; B Longbottom P Roberts S Mavin A O'Neill; C Coleman P
Blake; M Andrews W Chisholm M Ellison L Davidson M Fenech (capt) D Hosking.
Reserves: M Blake D Maroon.
CRONULLA: J Docking; G Coleman A Ettingshausen M McGaw S Watson; M
Speechley B Russell; D Hatch (capt) M Wheeler G Miller D Stains M Porter C
Dimond. Reserves: D Harris G Picken.