Manly 24 - 40 Bunnies – Friday 12th September 7.55pm Allianz Stadium
Manly continue to put in the type of performance that makes you question whether the media is correct about the fractures in the team.
They were completely blown off the park in the first 60 minutes to trail 40-0. This is a shell of the team that was leading the Premiership by 4 points a month before the finals.
It looked to me like Manly were trying a compressed defense to combat the big forwards from Souths. But Souths were too good on the night and managed to find space out wide through over-laps. Alex Johnson alone made 4 of the 11 Line Breaks. In fact 9 of the 11 Line Breaks were made by outside backs.
I can write about the game in detail here, but it’s pointless. We all saw what happened.
It looks like more drama is coming our way now, with Watmough and Lyon charged over the Inglis spear tackle. Lyon will escape suspension with his clean record, but Watmough will face 1 week with an early guilty plea. If he chooses to fight the charge he could face 2 weeks if he loses.
Just on Watmough, he missed an alarming 7 tackles on Friday night (from just 33 made) and also managed to make 2 errors. He also ran the ball for just 85 meters. Not a single Manly forward managed to run 100m on the night.
This week we face a side that has similar size in the forwards, although a little less potency out wide. I would suggest a compressed defense again, but certainly not on our own line. Brett Stewart needs to be on high alert to tell the troops to slide quickly when he senses a shift out wide from their own end. I would also expect Jorge Taufua to have 1,000 bombs come his way at training this week.
As a fan, I am at a loss to explain Friday night. I think the writing has been on the wall for some time that we are “struggling”, but nobody saw a 40-0 score coming our way after an hour.
However, I did like us throwing the ball around a bit in the last 20 minutes. Perhaps this will give them the confidence to give the ball some air this week. We simply do not have the size to run through sides, so we need to play with a little air and run these big sides around.
Manly will be massive under-dogs again, despite what Des is saying.
Let’s hope we find something, anything, to lift for this game.
Was this the worst performance under coach Toovey?