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Manly Sea Eagles deny form slump

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Manly Sea Eagles deny form slump
    By Liam FitzGibbon

    Premiership heavyweights Manly have denied they've hit a form slump just three weeks out from the start of the NRL finals.

    The Sea Eagles had been a picture of consistency in 2008 until suffering losses to Melbourne and South Sydney in the past two weeks, their first back-to-back losses since the opening two rounds of the season.

    It was the 40-32 loss to the struggling Rabbitohs last Sunday that caused most concern for last year's grand finalists and saw them surrender the competition lead to the Storm.

    The Sea Eagles insisted their bubble hadn't burst at a crucial stage of the season, but believed the shock loss was nothing more than a "wake up call."

    "I don't think it's a slump," prop Josh Perry said.

    "We just didn't turn up on the day and hopefully that's something that won't happen again this year.

    "It's given us that big wake-up call that we needed.

    "We were disappointed with ourselves and thought we were a better team than that."

    Winger David Williams revealed Manly coach Des Hasler gave his players the silent treatment after the loss, something he believes affected them more than a verbal rocket would have.

    "What was worse than him (Hasler) ripping in is he didn't say much," Williams said.

    "It's like when you're a kid and you want your parents to blow up to let you know it was wrong, but when they say 'I'm just disappointed in you' it hurts even more.

    "You get scared almost ... he was just thoroughly disappointed which we all were."

    The Sea Eagles will put their top-two hopes on the line when they face the Wests Tigers in a crucial match at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

    A loss could see them surrender second place if Cronulla beat the Sydney Roosters on Friday night, which would throw in to jeopardy Manly's hopes of a guaranteed second bite of the cherry in the finals.

    It would also dash their hopes of a minor premiership, but Hasler said both the title - and the $100,000 that comes with it - was not a focus for his side.

    "It's just a title where you are recognised as the most consistent side and you've played the most consistent footy all year," Hasler said.

    "We just want to win the next three games, the cheque doesn't come into it."

    Tigers coach Tim Sheens expected a backlash from the Sea Eagles in the match, which precedes Parramatta's clash with the Bulldogs in the ANZ Stadium double header.

    "I think back-to-back losses makes anyone cranky and I'm sure Des will have them cranky and they'll be ready to play," Sheens said.

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