Sea Eagles 54 Raiders 18
NRL: Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders
The Canberra Raiders were routed by the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval. Photo: Brendon Thorne
Angry Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart used a fiery post-match press conference to blame himself for not ''coming down hard’’ on his players after a poor training session in the build-up to Sunday’s 54-18 rout by Manly.
The insipid Raiders trailed 42-0 after just 33 humiliating minutes at Brookvale with Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans tearing apart Canberra’s woeful defence.
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Hiku(4), Lyon, Lawrence, Watmough, Stewart, Taufua||Tries||9||Tries||4||Players||Robinson, Croker, Wighton, McCrone|
|Players||Lyon 7/7 (100%), Matai 2/2 (100%)||Conversions||9||Conversions||1||Players||Milford 0/2 (0%), Croker 1/2 (50%)|
|Players||Penalty goals||0||Penalty goals||0||Players|
|Players||Field goals||0||Field goals||0||Players|
After one of the most embarrassing 40 minutes of football in club history, Stuart was in no mood for talking at half-time.
He delivered home truths to his shell-shocked players before leaving them alone to ponder how to salvage pride after trailing 42-4 at the break.
They won the second half 14-12, but by then the damage had well and truly been done.
“I’m dirty on myself not coming down harder on the boys [after training] on Wednesday,’’ Stuart said.
“I’m a stickler for practising to perfection and we were very poor, it was the worst session we’ve had.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t correct it there and then. We played exactly that way.’’
Asked why he didn’t address it with his players Stuart said: ''I’m trying to keep a happy camp, if I come down too hard then blokes like you [media] say I’m too cranky and tough on players.
“This was very familiar to what we’re about.’’
Stuart was particularly shattered for Raiders hooker Glen Buttriss, whose 100th NRL game celebration turned into a nightmare.
“He doesn’t deserve to have a 100th game like that,’’ Stuart said.
“What we dished up for him today was unacceptable and I’m disappointed for him to have that rot for his 100th game.’’
Despite only winning three of its seven previous games, Canberra’s form has been relatively consistent, making the Manly meltdown tougher to swallow.
They were coming off a spirited 24-22 home win over Melbourne and suffered the worst of letdowns at Brookvale.
Canberra has to wait two weeks for a chance to salvage pride when it travels to New Zealand after this week’s representative break.
The shell-shocked Raiders will need every day.
“We’re going to New Zealand next and if we turn up with that same attitude it will be a f***ing long day again,’’ Terry Campese said.
“Our defence was quite embarrassing in that first half.
“We’ve had a couple of good wins this year, but we just haven’t backed it up the next week.
“We didn’t bring the right attitude, we were clocking off and defending by ourselves.’’
At 42-0 the Raiders were in grave danger of eclipsing their biggest-ever loss, 68-4 against Melbourne in round 21 last year.
Stuart urged his players to learn from Manly’s hard-nosed approach.
“The mob we played, they don’t have a down week, they’re a professional and tough football team,’’ Stuart said.
“We have to learn off that culture.’’
Canberra was ill-disciplined and error-prone in the first 40 minutes, but Manly, particularly their potent right side, was as brilliant as the Raiders were woeful.
The only drawback for the Sea Eagles was a knee strain to Jamie Lyon, but Manly coach Geoff Toovey dismissed it as ‘’nothing major’’.
Raiders centre Jarrod Croker copped a knock to his back late and didn’t finish the game, but he isn’t in any doubt for the Warriors clash.
The off-contract Cherry-Evans was brilliant, justifying why Manly didn’t offer Souths-bound Glenn Stewart a deal to try to keep him.
He finished with four try assists, two line breaks and two line break assists.
"It just is one of them days. It just comes down to that,'' Cherry-Evans said.
"This club faces adversity better than anyone and I think we showed that today, how well we come together when the chips are down and everybody is writing us off.''
The league record for most first half points is 48 by Newcastle in a 60-24 win over North Queensland in 2003, and the Raiders flirted with that unwanted milestone.
Lauded for his starring defensive display against the Storm, Croker’s opposite number Peta Hiku brought him back to earth with four tries.
Hiku was rewarded with selection in New Zealand’s Test team to play Australia in Sydney on Friday.