Roosters ‘ diseased’
Smith blasts his side as Sea Eagles find form
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.’’