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Haslers take on things

Kiwi Eagle

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Hasler looking for bounce after hitting hump

Greg Prichard | July 7, 2007

THE BIG MATCH

Manly coach Des Hasler describes the consecutive losses his team is coming off as they prepare for tonight's game against Sydney Roosters at Brookvale Oval as akin to hitting a speed bump, rather than slamming into a brick wall.

He says that, while the opposition performed well in both cases, the problems the Sea Eagles experienced in losing 27-8 to the Bulldogs and 26-22 to St George Illawarra were mostly caused by themselves and can be fixed by a solid week at training.

Hasler says he has been able to get a solid week in, apart from the fact his State of Origin players - Brett Stewart, Steve Bell and Brent Kite, were unavailable until Thursday - and now he is optimistic the improvement will come.

"I don't take the Roosters easy," Hasler said. "They aren't going to be a pushover. I've watched a lot of them on tape and they seem to get a fair way down the track a lot of the time. The last pass has let them down a lot, but when the passes stick they are capable of doing damage. A few weeks ago they put 64 points on the Cowboys.

"But we're obviously concentrating on our own game and we have to change the fact that we've basically been making too many unforced errors. The discipline we had earlier in the season disappeared against the Bulldogs and the Dragons, and our completion rate, which is normally around 75 to 80 per cent, dropped to about 65.

"There were some reasons for it. The wet weather kept us off the field a lot at training and that obviously hurts your preparation. Plus, the Origin period has seen us lose key players for three different periods … These things add up.

"So, while it's obviously not good to lose, I'm not tearing my hair out over the situation. I see it as an interruption to our good form, rather than a drastic problem. It's like we've hit a speed bump, rather than a brick wall. The way to turn it around is by doing hard work on the training track."

The Manly defence against the Bulldogs and the Dragons was not the defence we had seen in the first 14 rounds of the season. They had conceded an average of 12.6 points per game before their past two games. But when you start giving up the ball easily, the heat rises on the defence.

"We've done plenty of work on our defence this week, but no more than we have in any other week," Hasler said. "If you're not completing sets and the opposition ends up with more ball than you, it puts more pressure on your defence.

"That's why we've conceded more points in the last couple of weeks. It's not because our defence has gone bad or anything. It's just that we've had a lot more defending to do than we normally would. But we still could have won the game against the Dragons and we could have given the Bulldogs a real run for their money, too.

"We had four or five try-scoring chances to win the game against the Dragons and we didn't take any of them. Against the Bulldogs, if a pass from Steve Menzies had gone to a teammate instead of over the sideline it would have made a big difference to our chances. That's the difference between playing to your ability and winning games and slipping up a bit and losing games you're capable of winning."
 

fLIP

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Its good to hear explainations from the coach.

In times like this, the club does itself a huge favor by letting the Des tell it as it is, rather than the fans just begining to speculate.

Great article.
 

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