Sharks put the bite on Manly

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I have put this on the site because of what Monaghan and Dessie say.

Dessie says "that it won't take much to much correction to fix up what went on out there today". The eternal optimist.

Monaghan says that there are players who don't have the desire to make tackles. What the hell then are they doing in first grade? Get rid of them now.

Sharks put the bite on Manly
August 22, 2005
Cronulla 68 v Manly 6

THIS was positive spin at its best - or worst. Manly coach Des Hasler explained away a 12-try hiding from Cronulla by declaring "it's not going to take too much correction to fix up what you saw out there".

After Cronulla embarrassed Manly at Toyota Park yesterday, it was like saying that it's a minor job to refloat the Titanic. And on the basis of one abject performance, the Sea Eagles' title hopes are sinking without trace and their coach and captain are clutching at straws.

Michael Monaghan conceded there were players "who didn't have the desire to make tackles". For a club battling to make the finals for the first time since 1998, that's about the biggest indictment you can get.

The Sharks, who started the day equal with their opponents on 26 points, gave Manly a lesson in urgency, commitment and desire.

"Some sides have had performances like that but by the same token I'm sure it's going to sting us a bit and the way it's got to sting us is sting us into action," Hasler said.

"It's not going to take too much correction to fix up what you saw out there today."

Monaghan drew comfort from last year's 72-12 defeat to Penrith in round 22, which until yesterday was the club's worst loss. "Last year we had a pretty disappointing loss against the Panthers but the next week turned up and had a really good win," he said, referring to a 48-10 win over Newcastle.

There is little doubt yesterday's embarrassment will stoke the Sea Eagles' fire for Saturday's match against the Warriors at Brookvale Oval. However, the scars won't be too far away when the finals start in three weeks.

Although Manly was without centres Terry Hill and Ashley Alberts, and had NSW State of Origin forward Ben Kennedy hobbling with a calf injury, it was a capitulation.

"If you look at the structure and the way we defended, at the end of the day it's blokes not having the desire to get in there and make the tackle," Monaghan said. "We didn't do it for 80 minutes, but next week we've got the opportunity to turn that around."

The Sharks cemented a place in the finals with their record win - bettering their 64-14 win over Newcastle in 2002 - and can hope to improve their play-off position with matches against the Knights and Souths to finish the regular season.

Stuart Raper's team built some momentum after it had won just three of 11 matches before yesterday. In a day of records, it was not only the club's biggest win, but also its highest score. Luke Covell equalled a club record of 10 goals in a game.

In his 200th first-grade game, Kimmorley netted a hat-trick of tries. Five-eighth Nigel Vagana also grabbed three.

"We needed to win like that. As much as you would have liked to grind out a win it gives this place a lot of confidence now that we can play some good style of footy," Kimmorley said.

There was one unsavoury moment late in the first half, with Manly forward Shayne Dunley saying he was eye-gouged before refusing to make an official complaint.

"Are you sure you want to make that allegation?" Mander asked Dunley. "You'd better speak to your captain first before you do."

Dunley decided not to go on with it and would not speak to the media about the incident.

With the NRL in its retro phase this weekend, celebrating the 1970s, those Sharks with long memories or an eye for history could take some revenge for grand final losses to the Sea Eagles in 1973 and 1978.

"It was not something I brought up in the pre-game planning and video sessions," Raper said.

"But one thing I wanted to do was to get into the '70s theme and to touch on the players that there is some tradition in this place and there are some guys who have bled for their jumper."

Veteran Sharks prop Jason Stevens has been saved some embarrassment. He told Kimmorley that he would do a lap of the club's home ground nude if he went through 2005 without scoring a try. Thankfully, he crossed yesterday.

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