Inside Back: Girdlers cafe owner and former Penrith player Ryan Girdler criticises Sea Eagles

'FLAT TRACK BULLIES': Penrith premiership winner Ryan Girdler says Manly don't have what it takes.
'FLAT TRACK BULLIES': Penrith premiership winner Ryan Girdler says Manly don't have what it takes.

Ryan Girdler has learned one important lesson after daring to criticise our most popular football team. "Don't incite the incarcerated," the former NRL star said with a laugh. "We're all in lockdown and there's a lot of emotion in the community and I rattled the cage a little with my comments about Manly."

Didn't he what!

The former Penrith and NSW centre, who owns four cafes on the northern beaches, copped the odd verbal spray and was hassled out of a few waves while surfing after suggesting the Sea Eagles were "flat-track bullies". He was proved correct but was in no mood to gloat following South Sydney's big prelim final win over the maroon and whites.

He said: "I live in Manly. I was going for the Eagles. I was hoping they'd do well. But I obviously struck a nerve. Some people crossed the line but most of it's been healthy debate."

We reported earlier....

Ryan's slow grind

Coffee sales may be down at Girdlers' four peninsula cafes this week after owner, former Penrith NRL star Ryan Girdler, cast doubts over Manly's ability to go all the way this year.

Labelling the Sea Eagles "flat track bullies" following their failure to defeat a current top three side while beating up on teams below them, Girdler is staggered Des Hasler's men are still alive.

"I can't believe Manly are one game away from a grand final with the season they've had,'' Girdler told Triple M. "They've had some really good performances by some individuals, but I'm not buying it. They haven't beaten anyone in that top echelon of teams so far this year. They're flat track bullies."

This has upset a number of ex-players and fans, with some threatening to take their latte business elsewhere.

In fairness, Girdler's comments were just a few throwaway lines during a long radio show.

He's played at the top level and is entitled to an opinion - and paid handsomely for it. And he was only echoing what many are thinking.

Plus, his coffee's too good to ignore forever.

Manly's love letters

The Sea Eagles received an unexpected delivery to their team hotel on the eve of last week's semi-final win over the Sydney Roosters.

A large mailbag arrived full of hand-written letters to players, coaches and training staff from local schoolkids wishing them luck for the rest of the season.

The team has won over the local Sunshine Coast community and are desperate to extend their stay another week by beating Souths and reaching the club's first GF in 10 years.

Rats' sad loss

Warringah Rugby Club is mourning the loss of tough and aggressive ex-backrower Campbell Flower. Flower played in the late 1980s and early 90s, racking up more than 100 games and travelling with the Rats on their 1988 tour to Chile and Argentina. He continued helping the club in retirement, finding employment for players through his business.

Condolences to his family and many friends.

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