Ho hum - more of the same crap from a Manly skipper


Journey Man
It's official - the bubble has burst at Manly, according to Sea Eagles skipper Michael Monaghan.

The Manly halfback made the brutally honest call on Monday, a day after the former NRL ladder leaders slid to their fourth straight defeat - a 36-10 round 19 thumping at the hands of St George Illawarra at Brookvale Oval.

But Monaghan has drawn a line in the sand, saying the Sea Eagles now have to "put up or shut up" to make the NRL finals.

"People were waiting for our bubble to burst, it's probably taken longer than they expected," Monaghan said.

"But without making excuses we've had to deal with things we haven't previously, like players at State of Origin and a lot of injuries - we've missed six or seven players at a time.

"But now Origin is over and blokes are coming back from injuries, the time for excuses is over.

"If we don't make the most of the last six weeks and make the finals we have no one to blame but ourselves."

Monaghan admitted Manly's on-going talks with off-contract Melbourne half Matt Orford had been a distraction.

I guess it has been...but we are just concentrating on finishing this season well, if he comes next year we will sort it out then," he said.

"If he signs for Manly he ain't going to be playing for us in the last six games - it's a matter of the guys who are here doing what we need to do to make the finals.

"We have put ourselves in a position where we can do something special in the finals - we don't want to let that slip."

Manly (10-8 record) remains in the top eight thanks to a congested NRL ladder in which the Sea Eagles are one of six teams on 22 competition points - from fourth-placed Melbourne to ninth-placed Canberra.

Monaghan said the packed ladder had worked in Manly's favour but admitted the Sea Eagles would have to start flying in their final six regular season games after this weekend's welcome bye.

"Any time you lose four in a row confidence and morale is going to be low," he said.

"We have dropped back in the field...(but) while we are technically eighth on the ladder we are still equal fourth so if we finish the season well hopefully we are playing finals football.

"It's definitely not a lost cause.

"The bye probably comes at a good time for us. We have worked out we need to win at least three of our final games to ensure a finals spot."

Monaghan admitted he "couldn't put his finger" on what had been going so wrong at Manly.

"For some reasons we are lacking enthusiasm and energy. It's not our gameplan that's the problem," he said.

"When you are winning games sometimes you really don't know how you have won it...and it's the same when you are losing.

"You try your best but somehow you keep coming out behind - hopefully the tide will turn."

On his own form, Monaghan said: "I don't think I am playing as well I can and that has coincided with the team's lack of form.

"I am certainly trying but things just don't seem to be happening at the moment.

"But now we've got a big opportunity to make the finals and we have to take advantage of it in the next six weeks."

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