Greats in case for Defence

Canteen Worker

First Grader

A group of former Manly greats have drawn up a fix-it list for coach Des Hasler as he attempts to lift the Sea Eagles out of a form slump that threatens to end the club's hopes of its first finals appearance in seven years.

Poor defence, no creativity in attack and a lack of depth have all been cited as reasons behind Manly's dramatic slide, which has seen the side drop five of its last six matches.

The Sea Eagles, who have the bye this weekend, sit in eighth spot and have a tough run home to make the finals.

Former fullback Darrell Williams cited an absence of decent back-up troops as one reason behind the recent string of losses.

"Lack of depth is really hurting them," he said.

"There are quite a few deficiencies which have been exposed as a result.

"Getting all those wins up early created a false perception and I always thought they would struggle at the business end of the year when other teams upped the ante."

Ex-Manly halfback Phil Blake pointed to the Sea Eagles' defensive frailties as the catalyst for their surprise dip in form.

"Their biggest problem is defence. They have the third-worst defensive record in the competition and it's been their nemesis for the past two or three years," he declared.

"They are leaking 30-35 points a game and they don't have 40 points in them in attack to compensate. Even if they do make the finals it will be shortlived if they don't do something about their defence.

"Fix that area first and the rest will flow."

Former front-row enforcer Mark Carroll believes too much is being asked of back-rowers Steve Menzies and Ben Kennedy and called on the men up front to do more.

"I think one of the props has to take a bit more responsibility and look at the way the Webckes, Prices and O'Meleys play," Carroll said.

"Those guys have 20 carries a game. Our best last week was Beaver (Menzies) with 17 - it's just ridiculous that it was left to him."

But Carroll refused to write off his old side, declaring: "Origin really hurt Manly but B.K. (Kennedy) and Beaver will be better for the rest this week and it's not too late for them to make the finals.

"They only need another two wins but they need to aim up and pull their finger out before it's too late."

Good article with balance. Realistic and accurate in my view.

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