Even Beaver agrees with me.
Manly desperate for finals momentum
Monday, August 27, 2007
Manly veteran Steve Menzies sees this Sunday's clash with NRL wooden spoon contenders St George Illawarra as important as the club's home semi-final the following week.
Manly are coming off losses to resurgent South Sydney and top four contenders New Zealand Warriors in the past fortnight - although both times they were without several stars.
It was just the second time this year Manly have dropped successive games and Menzies knows a third loss would be a devastating blow to their finals campaign.
The past two years they have stumbled during August and then been bundled out of the finals without a win.
Menzies believes the Sea Eagles need to gather some momentum and confidence against the Dragons to reignite their premiership drive.
"Next week is very important and as important as the following week the semi-final," said Menzies.
"We need to get a bit of momentum and I think we've just been a little bit off the pace the last four or five weeks even though we've only lost the last two.
"We seem to be putting ourselves under a bit of pressure and we really need to have a good game next week.
"It's not about winning or losing it's about getting some momentum and some confidence.
"Building a bit of stability and controlling football and making decisions to get ourselves in the game rather than just scrambling and having four or five sets of six on our line in 15 or 20 minute spurts.
"It puts us under a lot of pressure and I think going into the semi finals that type of football is not going to be good enough to beat the top teams."
But coach Des Hasler isn't concerned about Manly's back to back losses.
He left injured stars Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, Brent Kite, Steve Bell and Luke Williamson at home for the Auckland trip but expects all of them to be available this weekend.
With Manly set to return to full strength Hasler has no reason to doubt the direction his side is heading come September.
"Yeah, it is back-to-back losses but let's put it into perspective," said Hasler.
"Against Souths we had a number of players out, a number of key players. And yesterday we had probably anywhere between six and seven so let's keep it in perspective but at the same stage we don't like losing.
"We get together tomorrow and it's a short turnaround so we'll go from there."
A major bonus for the Eagles was the successful return by prop Jason King after six weeks out with a knee injury.
King was happy with his comeback and relieved to escape a charge for a high tackle during the Auckland loss.
"My knee was good, it felt really good actually and it was great to be back out there with the boys after missing six weeks," he said.
"We have to get some momentum next week and really turn up at Brookvale there and get a good win over the Dragons."