Brutal honesty time at Sea Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brutal honesty time at Sea Eagles

By Todd Balym 02/04/2009 09:16:25 PM Comments (0)

Manly players have held an "honesty" session to spark some life into their NRL season, conceding they are one loss away from crippling their title defence and chances of a top-four finish.

The players confronted each other this week over their poor discipline and ball handling in the opening three weeks that has left them rooted to the foot of the NRL ladder without a win alongside Canberra.

Veteran prop Jason King said the players had addressed their attitudes and why they had yet to win a game despite being crowned world champions earlier last month.

"We've given ourselves a good kick up the backside," said King.

"Just by being brutally honest, really. A couple of hard video sessions and really pinpointing the areas we're letting ourselves down.

"We have been letting ourselves down making too many errors and giving away far too many penalties so we have to cut them out and hopefully that will help us a long way towards winning the game this weekend.

"Some of them are discipline things and some of them are just being stupid."

King said Manly's problem was they had abandoned the tough, grinding style of play that carried them to consecutive grand finals and last year's NRL premiership.

He believes they've instead resorted to the type of flashy football they were able to employ once they had put teams away in 2008, like they did late against Melbourne in last year's decider.

"That is one of our major problems, we're going away from that grinding football that we're renowned for the last couple of seasons," he said.

"We have to get back to that grind-type football and try to grind teams away rather than try and play the grand final-type football."

St George Illawarra in 2005 are the only team in 10 years of the NRL to drop their first three games and still reach the top four.

Only two teams in over 100 years of rugby league have lost three straight to start the year and win the premiership.

King said the players recognised how difficult they've already made their title defence and cannot afford to risk dropping a fourth game against Newcastle on Sunday if they want to make the top four.

"It's been a while since we've dropped three games in a row so that was very disappointing," he said.

"It is only early days but you don't want to give those good sides too much of a break because they've got some tremendous players.

"The top sides at the moment are cruising along pretty nicely and don't look like dropping a game so we don't want to get too far behind that is for sure."

Coach Des Hasler admits Manly should have beaten the Warriors and Penrith in the past two weeks at home, but remains confident the team can fix the problems that have plagued them in all three losses.

"You look at the figures that came out of it (Penrith). It's not hard to fathom (why they lost). We can fix that. That's how we will overcome," said Hasler, pointing to Manly's high error rate and poor completions.

So intense has the week been at Manly that media-friendly skipper Matt Orford declined to talk on Thursday.

"I want to get us back on track rather than talk."

Meanwhile, Cronulla star Trent Barrett is unlikely to recover from his neck injury in time to play the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Barrett failed to train with the team on Thursday and still does not have full range of movement in his neck after last Sunday's sickening injury that forced the former Test star to be rushed to hospital.

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