Manly a shadow of their former self

Manly Sea Eagles Player Retention Jamie Lyon InjuryManly just can’t seem to take a trick at the moment, with news today that star centre and playmaker Jamie Lyon will miss the next 2 NRL matches for the Sea Ealges.

The timing couldn’t be worse, with Manly still yet to register a win this year and already battling boardroom unrest, player discipline and a handful of new faces to their club that are yet to fully settle in.

The Northern Beaches club confirming today that Lyon has a grade one medial ligament tear.

Des Hasler said the loss of Lyon was naturally frustrating, given that he had been in outstanding form.

As yet,  Manly haven’t named a replacement for Sunday’s clash with Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium until the weekend.

“I am looking at the options we have available but won’t speculate on what they are at this stage,” Hasler confirmed.

It’s been obvious, the huge void left by Brett Stewart in attack and defence, now with Lyon on the sidelines it removes yet another attacking cog in the Manly arsenal. The Sea Eagles now have a different fullback, wingers, centre and pivot from their championship winning 2008 side.

Last year and even in the World Club Challenge, the confidence was oozing out of the Sea Eagles. Any team that can put 40 points on Melbourne, must be at the top of their game. Every pass, flick, attacking play or kick pretty much came off for the Manly side – they were unstoppable. But with several new faces now on the field, the cohesion is totally gone and most plays are being read by opponents, or ending up with dropped ball.

The frustration was evident with Manly even in Round 1, the usually calm Matt Ballin – lashing out and kneeing opponent Ben Roberts in the head and then unleashing a flurry of punches on the Bulldogs pivot. Ballin extremely lucky this wasn’t picked up in match review, he ultimately should have spent a couple of weeks on the sidelines for these offences.

Since then, its really only been Jamie Lyon and Chris Bailey that have starred for the Sea Eagles. Lyon has been dangerous in attack and rarely misses in defence and Bailey has done well to slot into a new side and be an attacking force since Week 1. The former Newcastle Knight getting a double for Manly on Monday night.

But if new faces and combination’s were a worry, they could get even worse. Several players including Matt Orford, David Williams, Heath L’estrange and Mark Bryant are coming to the end of their contracts and given the value of some players, it’s pretty much a given that unless several take paycuts – they’ll be playing elsewhere soon.

As confirmed by Manly insiders, the boardroom battle hasn’t helped things and the frustration at having Brett Stewart sitting idle seems to also be eating away at the team. Even the fans today voiced their concern at not only the situation the teams in, but the horrible state of facilities at the aging Brookvale Oval.

Their Monday night clash with the Panthers only getting a touch over 10,000 fans through the gate which is down on usual Monday night attendances. While the weather wouldn’t have helped, there is no question that the fans simply want harmony with their footy side and from there, some positive results on the field.

While the season remains young, should Manly drop this game at Newcastle and possibly the following game – the consecutive loss of 5 matches would mentally destabilize any NRL side and would see them in an almighty hole.

Manly need to ‘click’ and it they need to do it sooner, rather than later.

** Updated: Outcomes from Manly Sea Eagles Board Meeting last night:

AWARDED Coach Des Hasler a new deal, until the end of of 2012, a two-year extension;

UPHELD the $10,000 fine given to Anthony Watmough, who punched a sponsor at the club’s launch;

SCRAPPED talk of a vote of no-confidence in chairman Scott Penn; and

RETAINED media manager and 30-year Manly man Peter Peters.

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