Roost­ers ‘ dis­eased’

Smith blasts his side as Sea Ea­gles find form

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

S YD­NEY Ro o s t e r s c o a c h Brian Smith slammed his side’s ‘‘ dis­eased’’ per­for­mance against Manly, in­sist­ing there were no ex­cuses for yes­ter­day’s er­ror-strewn 27-16 NRL loss.

De­spite the ab­sence of key play­ers Ja­son King, Jamie Lyon, Glenn Ste­wart and Steve Matai, the Sea Ea­gles sealed a de­served vic­tory.

Smith read­ily ad­mit­ted the Roost­ers were out­mus­cled and out­smarted by the bet­ter side on the day.

‘‘ It was very grim from our point of view, there’s no ex­cuses, we had good prepa­ra­tion and plenty of time to get ready for it,’’ Smith said.

Manly worked tire­lessly, w i t h y o u n g p l a y m a k e r Kieran Fo­ran lead­ing the way in at­tack and de­fence along w i t h t h e o u t s t a n d i n g An­thony Wat­mough.

Smith said he was not sur­prised by the Sea Ea­gles’ mus­cu­lar ap­proach to which his side had no an­swer.

‘‘ That’s their trade­mark, they come to work hard, they bend ev­ery­body, they bend them­selves, they bend their backs and work hard,’’ he said.

‘‘ They bend the rules, they bend the ref­er­ees, they bent us, and they bent us right over to­day.

‘‘ They just play hard, they play any way they can to win, it is a good, hard pro­fes­sional attitude to have.’’

Smith was less than im­pressed with his side’s han­dling and er­ror count – they turned the ball over on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, with Nate Myles the big­gest cul­prit.

‘‘ There were lots of er­rors, lots of penal­ties . . . but I thought we made a good ef­fort to­day, but it is al­most manda­tory un­der these new rules if you are on the back foot and the other team are out­muscling you, you will give away penal­ties,’’ he said. ‘‘ But we all had the measles to­day, it was a disease ev­ery­where, there wasn’t just one or two.’’

One bright spot for the

LEAD­ING FROM THE BACK: Manly cap­tain Brett Ste­wart in full flight against the Roost­ers yes­ter­day Roost­ers was Todd Car­ney’s re­turn from in­jury fol­low­ing off-sea­son groin surgery.

Car­ney missed the sea­sonopen­ing win over South Syd­ney last week, and al­though he was rel­a­tively quiet, the five-eighth did score one of the Roost­ers’ three tries min­utes af­ter the restart.

Braith Anasta some­what sur­pris­ingly re­sumed t he kick­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but Smith de­nied this was be- cause there were any lin­ger­ing prob­lems with Cr­ney’s groin.

‘‘ He has not had any kick­ing prac­tice in the lead up to the game and we felt it was bet­ter to keep Braith,’’ Smith said.

‘‘ Todd was well be­low his best, but I bags not play­ing five-eighth be­hind a team that played like we did. It’s not a fair as­sess­ment of him to­day and he has to take his lumps like the rest of us.’’ AN emo­tional Brett Ste­wart ad­mits he’s un­sure how he will re­act when he makes his lon­gawaited re­turn to ac­tion at Brook­vale for Manly’s clash with New­cas­tle next Sun­day.

The for­mer NSW full­back skip­pered a de­pleted Sea Ea­gles side to a mo­men­tous 27-16 vic­tory over Syd­ney Roost­ers yes­ter­day in only his sec­ond game since sus­tain­ing a se­ri­ous knee in­jury in round one last sea­son.

Ste­wart has not played at Brook­vale since Septem­ber 2009, where he scored a try in a 38-4 win over the Gold Coast.

The 26-year-old’s voice quiv­ered with emo­tion when asked what it would mean to play in front of his ador­ing home fans, who have given him ‘‘ un­be­liev­able sup­port’’ dur­ing his re­cov­ery and high-pro­file court case, which saw him cleared of two counts of sex­ual as­sault last year.

‘‘ It will be good to get back to Brookie, and per­son­ally, I don’t re­ally know how to put it into words what it will mean,’’ Ste­wart said.

‘‘ But I will be thank­ing them some way for the sup­port they have shown me.

‘‘ It has been a long road, I have been work­ing tire­lessly for a year with the phys­ios and they have showed con­fi­dence in me and I have the con­fi­dence in them to be­lieve I am al­most 100 per cent.

‘‘ It is only my sec­ond game but I am get­ting stronger and bet­ter with each game.’’

De­spite be­ing with­out co­cap­tains Ja­son King and Jamie Lyon as well as Steve Matai and Glenn Ste­wart, a youth­ful Sea Ea­gles side pro­duced a per­for­mance full of char­ac­ter to shock last year’s grand fi­nal­ists.

Ste­wart, who has not skip­pered a side since he was 16, ad­mit­ted he thought the coin toss was won from a best of three be­fore the game, but said he loved the ex­pe­ri­ence of lead­ing his team­mates around the park.

‘‘ I was proud to be part of it, a lot of the young guys stepped in and it is credit to the coach­ing staff, we get a few in­juries and these guys come in and do such a great job,’’ Ste­wart said.

Manly coach Des Hasler said: ‘‘ The boys were fan­tas­tic and came here to­day against rea­son­able odds and to graft out a win like that to­day does won­ders.’’

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