Monas Dealt a Dud Hand * MONDAY: It's a cruisy day for the Manly boys with the Panthers loss well behind them. After medicals, the squad jumps into the pool at Narrabeen for a recovery session. By lunch 10 of them bob up at Beaver's joint for five hours of Texas Hold'em Poker. "Hicks is the number one player at the moment," Monaghan says. "I'm ranked about six. I've struggled the last couple of weeks. Beaver rates himself. It's all good fun and something to take our minds off footy." * TUESDAY: It's time to knuckle down with coach Des Hasler poring over the Panthers tape with his captain. There's not much to take from a match that is better left on the shelf. They split the afternoon with a field session and weights at the gym where Kylie "The Freak" Leuluai impresses all by pressing 200kg. "It's ridiculous how strong Kylie is," Monaghan says. Monaghan later catches up with his brother Joel, sister Danielle and her sons Max and Will for dinner. "When I first moved up here, she was the only family I had, so I like spending time with her and my nephews," Monaghan explains. * WEDNESDAY: It's the middle of the week and time for some fun at training. For footballers, nothing beats the boredom of endless drills than a game of touch footy, particularly when off-side rules apply. As per usual, Monaghan directs traffic, spinning an inside ball for a flying Brett Stewart. Typically, Ben Kennedy is there to stop the kid. "It's a long season, especially after the pre-season, so it's pretty good doing different things," Monaghan says. "The coaching staff are good at coming up with innovative things to make sure we don't get bored." Later that night a few of the boys gather at the Monaghan pad in Seaforth to watch DVDs. The BBC's comedy series The Office is currently top of the charts. * THURSDAY: It's a day when things heat up as the focus firmly turns to the Dragons. With 72 hours to kick off, everyone needs to be on song. Again the lads head to the gym and again they are in awe of Leuluai who continues to impersonate the world's strongest man. By mid-afternoon they view the Dragons on tape. Hasler wants his forwards to muscle up on Ryles, Bailey and Co, to help cut down the space for the talents of Gasnier and Cooper. The team trots out on to Brookvale for an opposed session. Some fans gather for a supporters' barbecue, where Anthony Watmough and Paul Stephenson turn the snags. That night, Monaghan heads to Terrey Hills for a chat with Peter Cox, the club's motivational/life coach. At 25 Monaghan is relatively young to lead a high-profile NRL club. Like anyone in a pressure job, he has his good and bad days. "It's hard being a captain to blokes like Steve Menzies. He's one of the greats of the game, it's a weird experience telling him what to do." * FRIDAY: The week is winding down and the NRL stars have the day off. For Monaghan it's a chance to nut out an investment opportunity. He has bought property in Canberra and Manly and is now looking at a business acquisition in Sydney's west. Central to his dealings is his manager Jim Banaghan. Much has been said about the colourful man, but according to Monaghan his 10 per center can do no wrong. "He came out of that whole contract situation looking like the bad guy," Monaghan declares. "He's a good fellow and has been great for me." * SATURDAY: At 10, Monaghan takes the squad on a 45-minute run at Brookvale. It's a light work-out, mainly ball work, as they hone in on the red and whites. That night, Monaghan takes it easy. He watches brother Joel who is on duty for the Roosters against the New Zealand Warriors. * SUNDAY: Game day. Monaghan wakes at 10am with breakfast at a cafe in Seaforth. He scans the Sunday papers, no rumours, no stories, nothing. He heads back home to watch Russell Crowe in The Gladiator. "I don't mind watching it on game day, it gets you focused a little bit," he said. After Crowe falls on his sword, Monaghan packs his kit and drives down to Brookie. He takes in some Premier League action before leading the maroon and whites to battle the Dragons. It's a miserable day for the half. For 80 minutes Monaghan tried every trick in the manual but still comes up short as the Sea Eagles slump to a 26-point thumping. "They were impressive and we were disappointing," he admits. "It was a pretty good week, fairly intense and we knew we had to win. "Unfortunately we didn't back up what we did at training. We can't wait for it too happen, we've got to do something about it ourselves and the next two games against the Broncos and Cowboys we need to win."