Manly say they aren't distracted - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly say they aren't distracted

By Ben Horne 13/07/2010 06:47:44 PM Comments (0)

Manly are adamant Steve Matai's ongoing contract negotiations and Trent Hodkinson's decision to join Canterbury have had no impact on the team's slump which has seen the drop out of the NRL top eight.

The Sea Eagles are yet to hear from Matai about whether he will stay on at the club or accept an offer to join the Warriors next season.

Chief executive Graham Lowe said the club was disappointed to lose a young halfback of Hodkinson's potential but maintained outside distractions weren't an excuse for their poor form.

"No, there shouldn't be (distractions) because it's all part of modern footy," said Lowe.

"There's players coming in and out and under contract negotiations ... there is in this club a professional attitude with all the players so that certainly can't be an excuse for poor form. They've got to be professional in their thinking and I believe they are."

Lowe was hopeful of keeping Matai and said he hasn't put a time limit on the centre's decision.

"I'd like to get it resolved as quickly as we can but I'm not hanging by the phone to see if we've got that result," he said.

"I'm hopeful, it's always a difficult time ... we've made him an offer so it's just a matter of Steve making his mind up."

Hooker Matt Ballin agreed that Hodkinson and Matai's negotiations haven't affected Manly, even though they have lost four of their past five games.

"No, not at all. We're professional footy players and that's just what happened," he said.

"People have to secure their future and I guess that's what he (Hodkinson) has done.

"We've got some great young halfbacks we've got coming through, so that's the least of our concerns at the moment. It's finishing off 2010 on a good point and making the finals and hopefully winning."

Manly's forward pack has been heavily criticised since Saturday's last-start loss to Canberra - labelled "soft" by media commentators.

However Ballin said there's no issues with the Sea Eagles' engine room, and believed it was up to the side as a whole to improve.

"It's not the forwards that's the problem. We've all been playing well, we've just had some lapses in our games especially in defence," defended Ballin, who said media criticism doesn't bother players like Josh Perry and Brent Kite.

"We get that all the time. As players that's what you have to deal with. Someone is always going to have an opinion - that's where our actions speak. I'm sure those guys will come out and play well. If you let those outside distractions worry you, you get carried away.

"There's no one thing you can single out that's the problem. We just have to pull together and play as a team and we'll do that and I'm sure we'll improve this week."

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