It's time to look at 'The Things We Learnt' from last night's loss to the North Queensland Cowboys at Lottoland.
Well, that was absolutely shocking. I can use stronger words (and many of you already have on social media) but there is just no sugar coating that embarrassing performance against a very weakened Cowboys, especially at our beloved home ground. Coach Trent Barrett called it 'uninspiring' and the worst he had seen from his team in his time here. The boys knew it, too. It simply wasn't NRL standard and that performance was a far cry from the brilliant, gutsy effort the boys produced in the win over premiers Melbourne a fortnight ago, or the strong performance turned in against Canberra last week in a game that we should have won. Monday's video session will be cringeworthy for a number of players based on what they dished up and it will be a real honest session. It was by far the worst loss of the season, maybe not so on points wise, but in effort alone. Come on boys, you are way better than that. The season is on the line, so let's get some mongrel back!
Okay, time to try and find some positives (outside of our great new video scoreboard). I'm going to start off with second-rower Shaun Lane. I thought he was very, very good. He made several strong runs and scored a great try by spinning his way out of tackles to stretching out with those big mitts of his to score the first try of the game. We all saw what happened near the end of the game when his head hit the ground hard, so let's hope Shaun makes a full recovery from his concussion and can get back to playing some more great footy.
Same with Jorge Taufua, who also suffered concussion. And wow, what a bone rattler hit that was on Justin O'Neill. Straight from the Steve Matai book! And now for Brian Kelly. I don't want to sound like a broken record here as I have praised this talented young centre enough over the past few weeks, but geez, he was good again. And he showed how smart he is too with that sneaky little try down the short side. Oh, and Joel Thompson has had a great past month, too!
Api the Warhorse
Welcome back Api Koroisau. In his first game back from a one week suspension, Api again produced another tradesmanlike performance, making over 50 tackles in a lively 80 minute performance. His energy and creativity was sorely missed in the loss to Canberra. Surely, a Blues jersey awaits down the track!
To the Manly fans who braved the chilly conditions, we thank you for attending. Playing an interstate team without Origin players on a Thursday night at home was always going to be a struggle crowd wise, so to those who came, thank you. We apologize for the effort and fans had every right to leave as early as they did. That's three disappointing losses at home this season. It's just not good enough for what once was an intimidating 'Fortress'.
Our Origin boys
On behalf of all Manly fans, it's time to say good luck to our Origin players in Jake and Tom Trbojevic. How good will it be to see these fabulous brothers play together for the first time for NSW. I have no doubt Tom will handle his NSW debut with ease on the wing. And for mine, Jake should start the game at lock. It is going to be a proud night for the wonderful Trbojevic family at the MCG on Wednesday. Go the Blues!
The Sea Eagles proudly recognised a number of wonderful people at Lottoland last night as part of our 'Community Heroes' tribute. These men and women work tirelessly throughout the Northern Beaches in a number of services ranging from Emergency Services, Mental Health, Youth and Education, so they thoroughly deserved their lap of honour at half-time of the NRL game. The Sea Eagles salute you all.
The Sea Eagles head to Christchurch next week for a massive home game against the NZ Warriors. There has been a huge build up to this game and the Club is very proud to be committed to playing a home game there in 2018 and 2019, with an option for a third match in 2020. Outside of playing for the vital two points, the teams will be vying for the Broadhurst-Shelford Trophy named after two former Christchurch greats in former Manly players, Mark Broadhurst, and the late Adrian Shelford, who started their careers in the Canterbury region. The Sea Eagles will be involved in a number of off field promotions during the week. As for the weather, if you are attending the match on the Saturday, expect a forecast of around 10 degrees. Pack your thermals!