Manly put up a fight in loss to Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly put up a fight in loss to Broncos

Laine Clark 04/09/2011 08:09:21 PM Comments (0)

For the second straight week, Manly put up a fight - but this time it didn't leave the Sea Eagles club with a black eye.

Indeed they would be buoyed ahead of Saturday night's NRL finals clash with North Queensland after a depleted Manly went down swinging to the Broncos at an emotion-charged Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Judging by prickly coach Des Hasler's treatment of the media at the post-match press conference, No.2 ranked Manly were still reeling from last round's `battle of Brookvale'.

When the dust finally settled after the now infamous clash with Melbourne, key players Glenn and Brett Stewart and Kieran Foran were banned and flier David Williams (neck) was injured, while winger William Hopoate is still sidelined with a knee injury.

Not an ideal lead-up to a sold-out clash that would double as an emotional NRL regular season farewell for Broncos great Darren Lockyer.

But Manly showed plenty of heart to cut a 14-0 halftime deficit to just four points by the 47th minute.

And they looked to have snatched an unlikely lead in the 50th - only for video referee Steve Clark to deny winger Michael Oldfield's try for being offside.

Hasler was full of praise for his side's fighting display - but only after having a crack at the media.

The Sea Eagles mentor had plenty to say during the week, "reluctantly" accepting a $50,000 fine for the club's role in the brawl before questioning how the NRL would use the money.

And he was in fine form again on Sunday.

Asked what he thought of Manly's effort, Hasler said: "What did you think?

"Something a bit positive, eh?"

Hasler finally gave his side a rap, but again raised how "unjustly" his club had been treated in the lead-up.

"I thought they were very good, given the circumstances coming up here," he said.

"It was a great experience for our boys to play in an environment like that - I thought they handled it pretty well.

"As a club which has been fairly heavily ridiculed in the past week, unjustly sometimes, I thought they responded the best way today - they let their football do the talking."

Hasler again became obtuse when asked about Sam Thaiday's lifting tackle on Manly's Brent Kite that resulted in the Broncos forward being placed on report.

"What did you think? Does it matter?" he said.

Unlike Hasler, Manly captain Jamie Lyon insisted it was "business as usual" in the build-up to the match.

"We all saw and heard what was going on," he said.

"But we had a job to do and came to training and didn't let it affect us.

"We go into finals knowing we can compete pretty well."

Halfback Daly Cherry-Evans was inspirational for Manly chiming in with rookie pivot Jamie Buhrer.

It was another shot in the arm for Manly who are set to welcome back Foran and Brett Stewart from suspension against North Queensland.

But the press conference ended as bizarrely as it began.

Hasler began to praise Cherry-Evans then got up and left claiming he had a "plane to catch".

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