MANLY coach Trent Barrett has described his side’s first half performance against the Dragons as “embarrassing” and at “NYC standard” after the Sea Eagles trailed the Dragons 30-0 before succumbing to a 52-22 hammering at WIN Stadium.
For Barrett and his men to go all the way now in 2017 they’ll have to make rugby league history, with no side in any premierhip competition claiming a title after conceding 50 points in the same season.
An undermanned Sea Eagles were missing the injured Apisai Koroisau, Blake Green, Brenton Lawrence and Matthew Wright but Barrett refused to use that as an excuse as he watched his side drop out of the top four.
A clunky first half performance with the ball showed how much Manly missed in-form playmakers Koroisau and Green in particular, but it was through the middle in defence were the Sea Eagles were most inadequate.
After copping three tries from kicks and a heartbreaking 90 metre intercept try to Gareth Widdop, Manly were more or less done for at the end of a five try first half blitz from St George Illawarra, with Barrett embarrassed by how easily his side leaked points.
“That was embarrassing. And I think the scoreline is probably … that was an NYC standard game. 52-22 (full-time), 30-0 (half-time), 22-all (second half), that was just not up to scratch. It’s embarrassing,” a shattered Barrett said in the post-match press conference.
“ … The players are embarrassed, I’m embarrassed, I’m accountable to it just as much as the players and we’ve got to fix it because we’ve got to go to Melbourne next week and we’ll get all those blokes back, but it wasn’t up to scratch at all.”
While he was deeply upset by his side’s performance, Barrett urged his players to own it and learn from it, rather than wiping it from their memory banks.
“I don’t want them to wipe it, I want them to be disappointed because we can’t toss that up,” Barrett said.
“To concede that many points, regardless of how they get them, isn’t good enough and we’ve got to learn a lesson from it. The players are shattered obviously and we all are, but it’s just another lesson for us.”
Despite facing an Everest-sized task to get back into the game in the second half, Manly did exactly that for a brief period, scoring three quick tries with just 12 men after Darcy Lussick was sin binned for punching.
Barrett said he was disappointed with the renowned hothead’s ill discipline but praised his side for putting themselves in a position to score an epic come-from-behind win.
“It was a gallant effort to get back within eight points and we give away a fifth tackle penalty and it turned the game again,” Barrett said.
“I thought it would have been a miraculous win to come home from there and we put ourselves in a position to do it but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to sit here and watch that.”
SOURCE FOX SPORTS