The Good: As passionate Manly fans we have to face the fact (as much as I hate it) that we just can't win every week and there will be games when we are a bit below par. It's just life and it's going to happen to every team. The real test is how we react to it. Tonight we played a really committed, focused, disciplined and determined Cowboys team. In fact they looked a lot like us. They out played us from the 10th minute to about the 60th and at that point the match had a final score of 38-4 written all over it. That's when the good kicked in. We again showed that we NEVER give up. Despite a lop sided scoreline we all but put ourselves in a position to again steal a win. It didn't come off but we sure fought hard and it will make a big difference to our next week at training and the matches ahead this season. Despite a relatively poor night we showed we are right in there in 2011 and in context losing to a brilliant Thurston/Bowen inspired Cowboys team up there is not so bad. No disrespect to young DCE but if the halfbacks were swapped we would have won by 40! Recovering with a strong win over Canberra will be a further test to wipe this one away. In terms of individual performances Hoppa was again very good despite a few inexperienced errors he will learn from (the in goal try concede was avoidable by a safer decision to ground it). Oldfield's bombed try in the first half was very costly but the rest of his game was good and his turn of pace in the much talked about no try proved how badly we need speed in our team. Brett's freakish speed (not to mention try scoring ability) is still badly missed. Choc was also again very solid and seems to have curbed the dumb stuff and Buhrer worked very hard off the bench. The injury to Foran was very costly to us given he's been arguably our most valuable player in 2011 and I'm glad he was (finally) taken off. i thought Ballin had a much better game in attack with some good darting runs from dummy half. DCE is obviously getting a lot of Manly fans heated up. For mine he's a good kid who's still only played 8 games of NRL and he's shown a lot of skills with his deep kicking being a much needed and previously sorely missed big asset. (Do we need reminding about Orford's 35 metre clearance kicks?) DCE's attack still needs some confidence but it will come. Some of the posts that DCE should be dropped are plain ridiculous, seriously Mitchell Pearce wasn't half the player DCE is in his first 8 games. If you want to point fingers at the loss go to "the bad" below re our front row. The Bad: Our somewhat odd 15-20 minute period in the first half (Jamie Lyon actually called it 10 mins) ultimately cost us the game. We had a very strong chance to fightback to 16-10 at HT but bombed some major chances with some poor decisions, none more frustrating than Glenn Stewarts bizarre decision to kick early in the tackle count when we were pouring it on 15 metres out from their line. If we go in at 16-10 we win the game. But 16-4 was a game killer despite the late fight. In the forward dept our front row seemed to lack sting tonight. Was it them not putting in or was it simply being out bashed by the brutal Cows pack? Forwards do win matches and the Cows sure did put on some brutal hits even Matai having the ball jolted from him. Kite is not scaring anyone, we all know it, simple as that. Perhaps a 30 min bench role would be better. King seemed out of sorts (and later in the game obv injured) and Joe seemed to be way less effective. Glenn continues to be a back rower stuck at right centre obsessed with too much sideways running which I find very frustrating. Is Glenn the same player he once was? I don't think so but he has improved and I'm sure will be even better when Brett returns. George remains a problem for mine, he did make 100 metres but I'm not sure he's a genuine 1st grader week in and week out. I'd really like to see Tim Robinson selected he really impressed against the Roosters and Rabbits. DCE's goal kicking? Yes I know he only missed two from the sideline but you don't really get the feeling he's going to kick them and at the end of the day we lost by 2. Ouch. When the top kickers like Thurston kick from the sideline, and I'd put Jamie Lyon in that category, you expect it's going to go over. Why isn't Jamie our kicker Des? Unless it's an injury reason surely he should be our kicker whether he likes it or not! Overall the bad was really some ill discipline in the first half, some unusually sloppy defence, plus some poor decisions and errors, such as the Glenn 3rd tackle kick and the two dreadful kick off penalties. The Ugly: The George shove on DCE was just plain ugly. Golden rule 101, never do that to a team mate George, ever. I can only hope they had a hug in the rooms cos you sure don't want something like that to linger. If it was just a heat in the moment thing and they are mates all good, but if I'm Des I'd still give George a strong reminder that's not to be seen ever again. Ok the two big decisions. For mine the Hoppa 8 pointer was an accident. If it was a Manly player making that sliding tackle we'd all be livid if an 8 pointer was awarded. The Jamie knock on? Well probably it wasn't a knock on if technically the ball went backwards, but let's be honest it didn't look too good given Jamie's fumbled the ball facing the opposition. Again if the Cows had done it and then scored we'd all be crying foul for a knock on. Unfortunately whether the decision goes our way or not it puts an ugly spin on the game and now gives reason for many Manly fans to feel ripped off. But let's have a good hard look at the summary of the game. Thurston and Bowen were brilliant and we didn't really deserve the win, but the way we fought showed that the damage is minimal and if we keep fighting like that we're in for a very big 2011. The bigger concern, and let's hope this is not ugly, is praying Foran's injury is not serious.