Rivals try to poach top Stingrays

Grand final goal-scorer Ash Connor, plus Trudy Camilleri and Sam Muscat could be lost to the Stingrays in 2011 after rivals Marconi dangled cash in front of the trio before yesterday’s decider.Coach Brett Wallin made the startling revelation just moments after Illawarra completed back-to-back doubles by defeating Inter Lions at Balls Paddock.Wallin, who has been with the Stingrays since their formation in 2006, is confident the lure of more silverware, rather than money, will keep the influential threesome in Wollongong. Stingrays celebrate grand final victory”A few of them have received money offers to go elsewhere,” he said.”I’m pretty angry about the timing, but if they can get money elsewhere that they can’t here they’re going to go with my blessing.”This team doesn’t want to split up. They love each other and work for each other. I think we have a very good chance to keep them.”Players were offered cash to go elsewhere this year and they didn’t go.”Wallin declared his side could complete a hat-trick of top-flight titles next season if its core remains intact.”If we stay together as a group I can’t see any reason why we can’t keep going,” he said.”We proved that this year when we lost some quality players and didn’t miss a beat.”Wallin pin-pointed hard work – not loot – as the reason why Illawarra could call themselves the best side he has seen at this level.”That’s a good call; it’s the best team I’ve seen since I’ve been in the comp and that’s seven years,” he said.”I don’t know if we want that tag yet, but we’re right up there as a great side.”We’re a good team on the training paddock as well.”I’ve played in semi-pro teams and even the men didn’t do that. They’re unbelievable.”We’re where we are because we are the hardest working side.”Although Illawarra had to battle hard for their third consecutive grand final victory – including the 2008 Super League triumph – Wallin believed the title was never in danger.”It was unreal, the result could have come a bit earlier, their goalkeeper did very well in the first half,” he said.”We controlled the game and picked up where we left off in the major semi against Manly.”They only had a couple of chances on the break – our two best performances of the year came at the right end.”
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