2020 Shute Shield Season Review: Manly
For a club accustomed to spending most of the season sitting at the pointy end of the Shute Shield ladder, this year's ninth place finish will be disappointing by most Manly fans' standards.
But not much went the Marlins way in 2020. Despite that, the club competed all season and were able to blood a host of young stars who could become the core of a very successful Manly team in the years to come.
Overview with Matt McGoldrick:
“All in all, the season was probably more positive than it was negative but it’s always disappointing if you aren’t playing finals footy,” McGoldrick said.
“We suffered early in the year with injuries at No.9 and No.10. In the space of a month, we lost five No.10s and that hit us right through the grades. They weren’t just little injuries either, we had ACL’s, dislocated shoulders, torn patellas.
“I was talking to some of the coaches at other clubs and I asked them who their sixth No.10 would be and no one had an answer. That’s what we had to deal with this year.
“From that, we just couldn’t get any cohesion in how we wanted to play. Through the year, we ended up using four No.9’s, four No.10’s and four No.12’s and if you look at the top four teams, they pretty much only used one of each.
“In the middle of the year, we started to get some momentum with Harry Emery and Harley, but then Harry dislocated his shoulder and had to have a reco, so it was frustrating.
“In saying that, our forwards improved every week and were fantastic for us. Our scrum and line out were up their with the best in the comp based on the end of year stats, our defence was really good at times and we were in every game up until the end but we just didn’t have enough polish to push the top sides.