Lewis Brown says the tough times Manly are currently experiencing will only make the good times more rewarding.
A heavy injury toll combined with six straight losses sees the Sea Eagles sit in 14th place on the Telstra Premiership ladder heading into Monday night’s clash against premiers Nth Qld Cowboys in Townsville.
The loss of experienced key players such as Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, and Daly Cherry-Evans at different stages of the season has hurt and resulted in several younger players getting their opportunity in the NRL.
“’The last two years I went through something similar (with injuries) at Penrith but not probably to the extent of the quality of the player we had out and the experience,’’ Brown said.
“The injuries create another opportunity for other people to step up. A lot of the boys who have come in have had to step up before their time and to their credit, they have done the best they can.
“You are asking people who have played one or two games to step up and play like they have played 50 or so games. It is just not going to happen.
“The way you get experience is with time. Unfortunately for some of these blokes, they have had to step up before their time.
“As a playing group we have just got to stick together. We are behind our coaching staff. They are the ones who give us the game plan and we are the ones who are not perfecting it. I feel sorry for them because they cop the brunt of it.
“When your backs are against the wall, the fingers get pointed. You find out who your true friends and true fans are.
“Everyone loves to ride the wave of success. We are going through a tough time at the moment but I am pretty sure we can pop out on the other side pretty soon.”
Brown said the players know of the tough challenge of playing the Cowboys in Townsville.
“I’ve never won a game up there. It is a tough road trip. They have got a real Fortress up there,’’ he added.
“It is a real test for us. I am pretty sure that the 17 we will field will show a lot of pride in the jumper.
“We are not getting results at the moment but we are not giving up. I have been in teams in the past when the going gets tough, they have given up before the games have even started.
“I’m proud to still be a part of this group. You have got to go through some tough times to get to the good times.
“We are not giving up. We are still going through to the 80th minute.”