Will Manny Short Stick

Film Study: How Will Manny Exploits Short-Stick Matchups

By Adam Lamberti

Aug 5, 2023

There was a good chance that when Brad Smith returned from injury, opposing defenses would opt to double pole both Smith and rookie Tucker Dordevic at the midfield.

You obviously cannot take a pole off of Matt Rambo and Zed Williams, so that left a likely candidate to receive a short-stick on Sunday — attackman Will Manny.

“The whole game plan for today was that they were going to short-stick me, which they have in the past when I play the Chaos,” Manny said in the postgame press conference.

This is how defenses have slowed the Whipsnakes offense in the past — by short-sticking the third attackman alongside Rambo and Williams, which has been players like Jay Carlson, Justin Guterding, and Keegan Khan.

This was a big part of the reason why the Whipsnakes signed Will Manny in the offseason — to bring in a capable third dodging attackman, a position they had been lacking since Ryan Drenner in 2019, to expose defenses that do indeed try to short-stick an attackman.

On Sunday, Manny showed why the Whipsnakes valued him so highly in free agency. He took advantage of the short-stick in dodging situations, highlighted by this stubborn take punctuated by a diving backhand finish.

However, rather than try and test his matchup every possession, which is usually what the defense wants when they short-stick an attackman, the veteran Manny was smart enough to pick and choose his moments, which allowed the offense to flow.

“It's so fast in the PLL, so it can’t always be about one matchup, like if a short-stick is on me,” Manny said “We still have Zed, we still have Matt, we still have Channy, we still have Brad Smith, we still have Tucker, who can all win matchups, so we just need to continue to find that even team balance.”

A lot of the time, Manny played in a two-man game to cause confusion and get the short-stick defender to switch onto either Williams or Rambo, which was an effective strategy that created chaos for the Chaos defense.

But with the game tied with 20 seconds left, Manny wisely chose his spot to exploit his short-stick matchup following a two-man game with Matt Rambo.

“We went away from [the two-man game] a little bit and in the fourth quarter, I was fired up to hear Coach [Stagnitta] go back to that,” Manny said in the postgame press conference. “Me and Matt played it and the ball swung around, Matt got high out towards the island and everyone kind of stared at him. I just kind of swung around through X and followed him, screamed for it, and he put it right on my stick. [Pat Resch] overplayed me and I was able to get one off and beat Blaze [Riorden].”

While he did receive a short-stick this past weekend, teams might have to think twice about putting a short-stick on Manny after his performance.

But there’s one problem - with so many threats now available for the Whipsnakes offense, short-sticking Will Manny might just have to be a strategy teams deploy. Which is fine with the Whipsnakes and Manny.

“If a team does double pole us, we’ve been here before, so let’s come back to what works.”

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