Late Eels fightback not enough as Manly win at Brookvale

Jamie Lyon

They may have made a late comeback, but Eels coach Stephen Kearney struggled to explain his teams poor performance in the first half of their loss against Manly – with further pressure mounting on the embattled coach.

Things have not been easy for Kearney since joining the Eels as coach from the start of 2011, with his side often playing poorly – and heaping continual pressure on the coach.

It looked as if it was going to be an incredibly long night for the Eels, as they trailed 34-0 at half-time, following a rather lacklustre and error-riddled display.

It was clear that Kearney was frustrated post-game, as he cannot pinpoint as to why his side fails to perform even the basic tasks at times during the game.

“It was an ordinary day and it could have been really ordinary if the lads didn’t show some fight in the second half,” Kearney said.

“From the first three sets, there were two play-the-ball errors and a dropped ball.

“I thought we were competing with them early but you just can’t give them cheap possession and we found ourselves in a big hole after that.”

Despite the big half-time score-line, though, Kearney said that blasting his players is not what is needed – given the players know that they were humiliated at half-time.

“I didn’t need to say a great deal,” he said.

“We were embarrassed.

“It was just an attitude adjustment in the second half. They allowed us to come into the game but we had to take the opportunity and I thought the lads fought hard.”

For Manly, coach Geoff Toovey said that whilst he was disappointed with his side’s second half, he believes that the first half outlined their premiership credentials.

“Rightly or wrongly, our players individually made some poor decisions and made the wrong option,” Toovey said.

“I was disappointed for our fans really.

“But I thought for periods of the game, we were outstanding – particularly in the first half.

“We just went to sleep in the second half.

“I’m not saying it’s acceptable, but I am saying that we’re a good team and showed plenty of good football today.”

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