Behind the line...Manly Coach Trent Barrett says the Sea Eagles must start their matches better. Photo: NRL Photos.
Fixing the team’s attitude towards starting matches better has been a priority for Manly Coach Trent Barrett.
The Sea Eagles trailed 12-0 at half-time in last week’s loss to the Broncos, and 18-0 after 20 minutes in the round nine loss to premiers Nth Qld Cowboys.
“It is a personal thing and it’s across the board. We can’t let teams get out to 12 and 16 points head starts. It is just too hard, especially against good teams,’’ Barrett said.
“There were opportunities there against the Broncos to get back into the game. We had a couple of calls that didn’t really go our way that would have really helped.
“We have got to be resilient enough to turn it around. When we do make an error, we have to be good enough to defend it.
“Against those good sides, you have to take your chances when they are given to you. We didn’t. We probably bombed three tries and a couple of forward passes there. You need to convert those into points. Defensively at the start of that game, we were off and we got caught on the hop. We just can’t do that.”
Barrett said the Sea Eagles have plenty of talent to be able to beat the top sides, starting with Cronulla at Shark Park tomorrow night. The Sharks are on a seven game winning streak with their last loss being to Manly in round three.
“If we do the things well that we practice, we can beat anybody. Unfortunately we have been spasmodic through a lot of our games this year,’’ he said.
“’A lot of that has got to do with the team that we have been unable to pick each week. We have had a lot of disruption particularly around our spine.
“We have had eight different spines in 10 games and that certainly doesn’t help. That is no excuse defensively. We need to aim up a little bit and be better around the ruck. We need to slow Cronulla down.
“They have got a forward pack full of very good players and experienced players, and some very exciting outside backs. We have just got to be on our game.
“To stop their back three, we have to stop their big blokes first. Our kick chase has to be really good. Valentine Holmes and Ben Barba do take their chances and they are very ad-lib style of players.
“If we can stop Fifita, Gallen, Heighington and Tagataese, it will go towards controlling Barba and Holmes.”