By ANYA WHITELAW
THEY may not have found success in their opening game of the VB NSW Cup finals on Saturday, but Bathurst brothers George and Trent Rose will get another chance to help Manly-Warringah through to the decider.
The Sea Eagles finished the regular season in third place which means despite their 38-24 loss to Western Suburbs at Brookvale Oval, they get a second chance.
It will be the Balmain Ryde Tigers, who upset North Sydney Bears 31-18 after finishing the regular season in eighth, who the Rose brothers must now concentrate on defeating to keep their campaign alive.
Trent Rose said both teams toiled in the final and produced some impressive defence, but he believed the Magpies' greater desire to win showed in the result.
"I'm not real sure how to explain it, we sort of treated it like a normal round game and you can't do that when it is finals," he said.
"Our completion rate was only 60 per cent as well and you can't have it like that and expect to win in a final.
"The good news is though that we are not done and dusted."
Though Manly had been in good form during the regular season as they notched up 15 wins and a draw from 22 games, on Saturday they found themselves up against a Western Suburbs outfit that boasted a number of players with experience in the NRL.
Given the West Tigers missed the NRL finals, they dropped backed the likes of Ryan O'Hara, Shannon McDonnell, Trent Cutler, Dane Laurie and Shannon McDonnell to help boost their ranks.
Still, in George Rose Manly had their own man with NRL experience, the barnstorming prop having played in the top flight with the Sydney Roosters then Sea Eagles until a compound fracture of the right ankle and fractured fibula forced him out in May last year.
That injury came at a time George was hitting good form for the maroon and whites and now, some eight weeks after his return in the NSW Cup, he is proving just as dangerous.
From the kick-off in Saturday's final he took the ball and charged up field and a Magpies player who positioned himself awkwardly in attempting to make the tackle was knocked-out.
On the other hand George was unscathed and he showed his strength again not long after when dragging a number of Wests defenders over the line with him to score the opening try off a 10 metre tap.
He even forced Western Suburbs to chance their tactics of kicking at him when restarting play as the front rower was making too many metres for their liking. For his efforts George was named the Sea Eagles' player's player after the game.
Trent, who normally starts as hooker, was injected into the contest after 20 minutes in a tactical move. While he had an impact and came close to joining his older brother on the scoreboard, his efforts could not stop the Sea Eagles from losing their first game to the Magpies this season.
"I think because they had such a big forward pack they were hoping to bring me on when they were tired and hope I would dominate around the ruck," Trent said.
"It was very close throughout and I don't think the score was a real indication of it, there were a lot of good shots from both teams, it was real finals football."
Both the Roses will need to be at their best on Sunday at Campbelltown Stadium when they face the Tigers, who dominated the ruck in their win over the Bears.
From their two regular season meetings the Sea Eagles were victors both times, winning 37-20 in round three and 38-24 in round 14 ? a game in which George crossed for a try.