New order to stay! Dessie

First Grader
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Manly Daily

MANLY coach Des Hasler predicts the NRL's radical new order is here to stay after another weekend of surprises continued to turn the competition on its ear.

The unfancied Sea Eagles and Raiders, both undefeated after four rounds, head up the table just clear of fellow unfashionables Cronulla and Wests Tigers.

The Bulldogs, Roosters, Brisbane, Penrith Newcastle and the Dragons are among the clubs sitting towards the wrong end of the ladder.

After another round of upsets - in which last year's grand finalists the Bulldogs and Roosters both lost - Hasler said the struggling glamour clubs face a hard time catching the rest of the field.

``Certainly the salary cap and injuries have played a part in the results we're seeing but I think it will bite even further during State of Origin time,'' the Manly boss said.

``Some clubs are going to lose a number of players during that period and it's going to be tough going for them.

``Brisbane, the Roosters, the Bulldogs - they could all feel the pinch.

``I think that will prove to be a critical part of the season.''

Asked if he had ever seen a more even competition, Hasler said: ``No. I don't think I have.

``I agree with what a lot of the players and experts are saying and that is if you don't turn up mentally attuned then you're going to get beaten.''

Centrebet manager Gerard Daffy says he hasn't taken a bet on the grand final winner over the past fortnight as scarred punters wait for a decent form guide.

``The gap between the first and last place is so small that last can beat first on any given day under the right circumstances,'' he said.

``It's making it impossible to bet on the finals.

``It's the most open competition ever.''
Journey Man
last aint gonna get up this weekend

The salary cap has certainly had its effect - last year 13th was 2 wins out of the finals.

Consistency will get you a long way these days - sheer briliance will only get you so far. Melbourne - Manly a great example of that.

Those teams with turmoil elsewhere (saints and knights) will struggle to get the mindset Des is talking about and will remain at the bottom until they fix this.

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