Where the Sea Eagles finish the regular season of the 2017 Holden Cup competition comes down to attitude and the desire to succeed.
“It is in their hands now,’’ says Coach Wayne Lambkin about his capable team that sits in seventh place on 26 points with four rounds remaining.
Lambkin didn’t need to hide the disappointment in his voice when talking about his side’s 38-32 loss to the Sydney Roosters at Lottoland last Sunday.
The scoreline might not look too bad for those who didn’t see the match, but for Lambkin, it was a nightmare. Worse still, it came against the Roosters who in round five handed his team a 66-14 thumping.
With the pain of that loss, playing at home, and the fact that the Sea Eagles entered the match in sixth place after winning nine of their previous 14 games, it should have been enough motivation for Manly.
In a horrid first half, the Roosters ran in five tries to lead 28-0 at the break. The Sea Eagles rallied to draw level at 28-all before the visitors won 38-32 to take the vital two competition points, resulting in Manly dropping from sixth to seventh.
“We started the game with no energy. At half-time, I told our players they were playing soft and they were in this predicament because we sat back and watched the Roosters play,’’ Lambkin said.
“When we got back to 28-all, I thought they be good enough to go on with the job. Little things kept popping up and they couldn’t handle the pressure at all which was disappointing.
“There is no room for error in this competition. It is that close. You win one game, and you could end up in fourth place. You lose one and end up in eighth. If you lose another game, you could be out of the eight.
“They have got themselves into this position and now need to work themselves out of it over the next few weeks.
“This team is very capable of doing anything once they get back on track. I have no doubt that last week was a kick in the backside for them and they learn will learn from it.
“The reaction at training this week has been very good. The boys are not looking for excuses as they know they were poor.
“It has got to come from within the players and not me from all the time. It is a matter of getting back to the standards we set ourselves and finding the energy to go and do it.”
The Sea Eagles have the chance to get back on their winning ways against the 15th placed Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval this Sunday. Kick-off is 1.45pm.
Manly then tackle the Bulldogs (14th), the Warriors (16th) and the Panthers (2nd) in the run to the finals.