Geoff Toovey's frustration at a surprise defeat to Canterbury on Friday night was compounded by an altercation with a Bulldogs supporter at ANZ Stadium.
The Manly mentor clashed with the fan at the half-time break when he chose to head to the dressing room by walking from the coach's box down through the western stand rather than take the escalators and steps inside the venue as most coaches do.
"I reacted to some lunatic. I shouldn't have. A few words were exchanged," Toovey said after the 23-16 loss. "I'd rather do that [walk through the crowd]. I don't mind mingling with the fans. I suppose he just got under my skin. It was very silly of me and I apologise for reacting the way I did."
Eagle on the wing: Manly rookie Clint Gutherson dives over in the corner, around Bulldogs fullback Mitch Brown. Photo: Getty Images
After an underwhelming performance by his men Toovey could at least find some humour in the exchange with the Canterbury diehard. Asked what the fan had said to him he replied: "I can't remember."
Asked then what he had said back to the supporter Toovey responded: "I said 'I am not!'".
Toovey described the Manly display as "flat" but took aim at the general trend of refereeing, believing the officiating of the ruck had favoured Canterbury's style. "I believe, and this is not because we lost tonight, the rules have changed dramatically in the last few weeks," he said. "You saw the State of Origin, the 10 metres has gone back to eight, the ruck control ... I thought today was slow around the ruck and it obviously suited their game, their big forwards laying in the ruck. They were very good at it. That's where they got us."
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs
James Graham of the Bulldogs is tackled. Photo: Getty Images
Sea Eagles captain Jamie Lyon said Manly were simply not up to scratch. "It wasn't good enough tonight," Lyon said. "You've got to play near your best most weeks to get wins. It just wasn't good enough. Our attitude wasn't where it was needed, and we got dusted."