By STEVE MASCORD
CANTERBURY star Kris Keating says games against Manly will always be “a grudge match” after Friday’s ill-tempered opening to the finals series.
Two Sea Eagles were put on report and at one stage Manly’s Anthony Watmough told Keating’s halves partner Josh Reynolds: “You do dumb shit – no wonder everybody hates you”.
“There was (talk) but that’s to be expected – it’s a bit of rivalry, a grudge match now,” Keating tells Rugby League Week.
“I’ve been here for two years now and every time you play Manly, it’s always pretty intense. I suppose it’s because they’re the premiers from last year, too, and everyone wants to knock them off.
“It was … very fast. Our pack was unbelievable.
“They’re a great side with great players and I’m sure they’ll bounce back.”
Keating says Reynolds is not easily rattled. “He’s great to have in the side and he’s a real competitor,” he commented. “He just loves his footy, that’s his nature.
“He’s positive sort of guy, he’s real energetic and he just loves being out with the boys. You wouldn’t swap him for anybody else in the comp.
“He’s been doing it all year. There’s certain points in the game where a bit of energy takes over and he gets pretty pumped up.”
Keating showed great vision to kick ahead for himself and regather for an important try 47th minute.
“It was a crucial time in the game and I looked up and saw there was no fullback so I thought I’d have a crack,” said Keating. “Lucky it came off.
“I just kicked it and chased and chased as hard as I could and once I got a couple of metres away, I knew I had a crack to get the ball down.
“If I didn’t score the try, I’m there to force a repeat set and we can go again.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK