MANLY coach Geoff Toovey last night called on the NRL to overhaul its scheduling after his flat side failed to back up from a Monday night win, surrendering to the Titans at the once impenetrable Brookvale Oval.
The Titans were good, but the Sea Eagles looked a different team to the one that thrashed the Panthers last round. On both occasions they were missing four internationals - the Stewart brothers, Kieran Foran and Tony Williams - but Toovey said they were under even more pressure last night, after having just five days between matches.
''Our guys were really flat,'' he said. ''The league's got to do something about it. It would be great to be Brisbane and get a seven-day, seven-day, seven-day [gap]. That would be fantastic. Quite frankly the rest of the clubs are at a disadvantage. It's not an excuse for our performance tonight but it would be much easier … to have that sort of turnaround.''
Toovey also had choice words about what he thought was an unfair hit by Nate Myles on Steve Matai in the second half that left the centre nursing what appeared to be a nerve problem in his neck. He left in an ambulance, but staff said it was precautionary.
''He's not well,'' the frustrated coach said. ''That's another thing that I'm concerned about - it's apparently all right if you get hit in the back of the head, but if you get it in front, it's not all right. I'd like somebody to explain that decision.''
It was not a happy night at Brookvale. The Titans, who had lost five straight, stunned the premiers with a two-tries-to-one, 12-8 lead at the end of a heated first half. The outsiders kept up the intensity in the second, keeping the Sea Eagles tryless until the final two minutes, and adding two more of their own to wreck Jason King's 200th game in front of 11,619 fans.
There will be more said about the game, too, with three players on report - two Titans, Jamal Idris and Ashley Harrison, each for high shots on Jamie Lyon and Vic Mauro, respectively; and Manly's Jamie Buhrer, after a dangerous throw of winger David Mead - though teammate Darcy Lussick might have a case to answer for his role in the tackle.
Titans coach John Cartwright was proud, despite a hamstring twinge to Idris, though he admitted his side got Manly at a good time. ''I don't think they've lost many games here,'' he said. ''But look, Manly were coming off a Monday game. When we got our noses in front and controlled the ball pretty well with our kicking game, it was always going to put them in a tough situation and we went on with it.''
Halfback Scott Prince, outstanding last night - and joined in the halves in an encouraging debut performance by Aidan Sezer - said the win was much needed.
''It didn't matter who we played tonight,'' he said. ''To come down to Brookvale, no matter who they put on the park, it's always tough to walk away with a win here.''
Toovey added: ''I didn't see it coming. I thought we were very flat. A completely different side we saw last week. Same team but not the same team.''
GOLD COAST 26 (K Gordon J Idris D Mead A Sezer tries S Prince 5 goals) bt MANLY 14 (J Lyon 2 tries J Lyon 3 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Referee: Jason Robinson, Tony De Las Heras. Crowd: 11,619.