The word 'choke' wasn't exactly tossed around but the feeling among the Roosters was that they let one get away in round one against the Panthers.
They didn't score a try in the final 60 minutes of the game and were out-played in the second half by a hungrier team.
Manly willingly stood up to the Storm in their season opener but were gradually worn down in the second half.
The Sea Eagles face another tough test on Saturday evening against the premiers.
Roosters: Poasa Faamausili replaces Nat Butcher on the Roosters bench, while Asu Kepaoa, Daniel Fifita and Lachlan Lam were omitted from the reserves list. Winger Matt Ikuvalu passed all his tests after suffering a head knock last round and coach Trent Robinson said he would be fit to play. Second-rower Angus Crichton is also "itching to get out" there, according to the coach after missing round one due to illness. Robinson said Boyd Cordner would be named in the team next week to finally make his season debut. The Roosters have scored 104 points in their past three games against the Sea Eagles.
Sea Eagles: No injury worries for coach Des Hasler after the round one loss to Melbourne, allowing him to keep the same 17 intact. Taniela Paseka is due to return from an ankle injury in round three. Toafofoa Sipley and Brendan Elliot were trimmed from the extended bench on Saturday after Zac Saddler and Tevita Vuna were cut from the reserves on Friday afternoon.
Plenty of eyes will be on two of the game's best fullbacks at Leichhardt Oval. James Tedesco will be eager for a big game after looking uncharacteristically rattled down the stretch against the Panthers, while Tom Trbojevic looms as a match-winner for the Sea Eagles.
Where it'll be won and lost
Luke Keary has to take charge from the outset and keep his team focused on the task when errors start to creep in, while Jake Friend has to ensure the Roosters forwards work as a pack. Daly Cherry-Evans knows he needs to be at his best against Keary for Manly to spring an upset.
Brett Kimmorley says
I thought Manly were unlucky in defeat against Melbourne. It was an arm-wrestle for 60 minutes until they conceded their first try. The Roosters should be able to fix their last-tackle options, which was what coach Trent Robinson was unhappy with. I wouldn't think the Chooks would lose too many games back-to-back to start the season. Roosters by 2.
Jorge Taufua's 150th game in Manly colours wasn't his happiest day as a Sea Eagle. Not only did they lose on home turf to the Storm, Taufua had five of his team's 15 handling errors. The Roosters weren't much better in their 20-14 loss to Penrith, finishing with 11 handling errors.
And another thing …
The Sea Eagles can't afford a repeat of their slow start they had against the Roosters in last year's only clash. The Chooks led 22-0 at half-time and stretched it to 26-0 before Manly saved face with three converted tries to go down 26-18. Boyd Cordner and Daniel Tupou scored two tries apiece for the Roosters.