Manly Holden Cup Coach Wayne Lambkin looks back on a savage 52 point loss to the Sydney Roosters in March as almost a blessing.
The Roosters recorded their biggest win of the season in round five in crushing the Sea Eagles 66-14 at Allianz Stadium. It remains Manly’s heaviest defeat of the season.
Plenty has changed since then. The Roosters – the defending U20s premiers - are six points out of the eight while the Sea Eagles sit in sixth place with only points differential keeping them out of the top four.
More importantly, the Sea Eagles have since won nine of their last 14 matches ahead of their return clash against the Roosters at Lottoland this Sunday.
“That Roosters loss was a learning curve in many ways. The loss to St George-Illawarra (round 20) was disappointing, but we haven’t had too many real disappointing losses since that one against the Roosters. It was horrible,’’ Lambkin said.
“We got over a few hurdles from that game. That loss is in the back of the players’ minds and I know there is a little bit of extra motivation this Sunday to get a good win.”
Following the Roosters clash, the Sea Eagles tackle Wests Tigers (15th), the Bulldogs (14th), the Warriors (16th) and the Panthers (2nd) in the run to the finals.
“The points differential is very important. The competition is so close. There are 10 or 11 teams still vying for a spot in the eight,’’ Lambkin said.
“A loss and you could be out of the eight. A win and you could in the top four. We just have to find some consistency over the next few weeks, win a few games, and get ourselves in a position to try and earn a top four spot.
“If we win, it doesn’t matter what the other teams are doing. We can’t worry about what others teams do, we can only control what we do.”
“At the moment, it is about maintaining your spot in the eight, and once you are there, who knows what can happens.
The Sea Eagles go into the match on the back of a superb second half comeback to beat Melbourne 34-26 on the Sunshine Coast last Saturday.
Manly v Sydney Roosters, Holden Cup, Sunday, August 6
Lottoland, 9.45am Kick-off.
Ladder positions: Manly 6th, Sydney Roosters 13th
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