Constantly hampered by suggestions he ‘chokes’ in the big games, Orford will want to prove early in the Finals series that he can cut the mustard. Unable to crack Origin and Australian sides in 2008, with a Dally M now under his belt – this might just be the launch pad Orford needs to establish himself as a genuine top shelf halfback.
After confirming that the Dally M win ranks as a stellar moment in his career so far, there is no doubt Premiership success is the one Orford craves.
“The Dally M is the best individual award you can get. The whole night was pretty much a blur. It went so quick.
“To realise you are in the presence of some really great names. You’re in the history books.
“You don’t get too many opportunities like this. It is something I can reflect on after I retire.”
Orford has had his fair share of critics for most of his NRL career but still remains in an elite group of players.
Just a single year to go on his existing Sea Eagles agreement, Orford who is now 30 years old, confirmed he would like to retire on the Northern Beaches. “If the body and mind and passion is still there, I’d definitely like to stay here,” Orford said.
“Why would I want to leave this?” Orford said with his usual cheeky smile
“I’ve got the beaches, got a great club but at this stage I haven’t really thought about it too much.
“I’ll get through this year and worry about my future come next year.
“England, you never say never. It might give me the chance to do some travelling.”
Manlyboss Grant Mayer said Orford was still wanted by the club and both parties were hopeful of striking a deal.
“He’s ourskipper and an important part of our team,” Mayer said.
“As his Dally M win shows, he’s rated among the best in the NRL and we’d certainly like to sit down with him next year and discuss his plans.
“We haven’t spoken to him yet about it and he hasn’t requested a get-together but once the dust settles on this season we will definitely have a look at the situation.
“It’s very heartening to hear he has come out and declared his loyalty.”
Manly clipboard man Des Hasler is naturally a fan of Orford and was stoked for his half to nab the Dally M award.
“It was a great reward – Matt has worked very hard,” Hasler said.
“It is well-deserved.”
The Manly boys have a right to be fearful of the plucky Dragons after the red and whites boast super stats in recent years over the Eagles; having taken the win in 9 from 12 clashes with the Eagles and 4 from 6 in games at Brookvale.
“They have a good record at Brookvale so we are going to have to be on our game,” said Manly centre Steve Matai.
“There are a few things we need to tweak.”