Whilst they will take the win any day of the week, the talking point post-game is just how badly Manly Sea Eagles back-rower hyper-extended his knee, with coach Geoff Toovey believing that the in-form Test and NSW back-rower will not be fit for next week.
In what was Manly’s sixth successive victory, there was confidence all round, as Manly held firm and defeated a spirited New Zealand Warriors side, eventually winning 27-12.
With fellow back-rower Justin Horo also out due to a calf injury picked up in training, it was the back-line who made their presence known, as David Williams and Brett Stewart got into the swing of things with three and two tries respectively.
“Choc (Watmough) will miss at least a week, but I can’t confirm that until he has scans. Justin Horo should be back next week,” Toovey said.
“I thought we played extremely well, especially in the first 20 minutes.
“We just had some execution issues. It wasn’t quite there which kept them in the match.
“I think we were 53 per cent completion. We just got over-excited at times.”
The loss for the Warriors dampens their finals ambitions and was their second on the trot but they do have support from Toovey, who believes the New Zealand side can make the finals.
“It’s always tough for them travelling over here to Sydney and then it’s another hour and a half up the coast,” he said.
“And that’s always difficult for them. But they are a quality side and will bounce back.”
Despite the long trip for the Warriors to the venue, coach Matt Elliott knows that his side was simply outplayed and refused to make any excuses for the loss.
“We had confidence but we played a really good footy team and we have to accept they executed better than we did in attack and defence,” he said.
“It was a little bit of a lesson for us. There’s nothing to be down in the mouth about.
“We just didn’t challenge them enough with our play, perhaps we were a touch conservative.”
With a relatively easy run home and still a chance to sneak into the finals if they jag a few wins, Elliott is not about to get too carried away.
“Our job is about next week. I’m not saying we’re going to do it (make the eight) but I’m comfortable we’re capable of doing it,” he said.
3. David Williams
2. Glenn Stewart
1. Brett Stewart.