Any time a team wins a game, it is a liberating feeling – but when that win comes at a large cost, resulting in injuries to four players, it makes it that much tougher, and sours the victory.
This is exactly what happened to Manly, with Jason King (shoulder), Matt Ballin (calf), Jamie Buhrer (concussion) and David Williams (leg), all going off – forcing Manly to play with 13 players in the second half.
“It was a bit like the old days, once you come off you are off,” Toovey said after his team’s fourth successive win.
“We ran out of troops there … so I was very proud of the last probably 30 minutes we played with no reserves.
“It was difficult and a lot of players had to play out of their positions, which made it hard for them but they showed a lot of character and we got there.”
Although Manly coach Geoff Toovey was unaware of the extent of the injuries to his players, the Manly medical staff will assess all players later today.
“I was very pleased with the way our players just hung in there, that’s all they could do. I thought our first half was excellent when we had our full complement on board.
“They were really professional and really precise in what we did. But when we ran out of troops it made it very difficult.
“We lost both dummy halves and had to reshuffle the whole side.”
The Knights were on the back foot from the very first play of the game, as halfback Tyrone Roberts kicked the ball out on the full from the kick-off.
For Knights coach Wayne Bennett, he has conceded that the finals are out of reach for his side, and was disappointed at his side’s slow start to the game.
“Probably topped them all off,” Bennett said.
“Today was just a multiple of mistakes wasn’t it.
“It was self inflicted, kicking the ball out on the full, getting caught in-goal, giving away penalties, giving away tries.
“It could have been 70 points.”
Things will potentially get even hairier for Manly, with departing back-rower Tony Williams placed on report for a potential trip in the second half.
The Knights will also face a nervous wait, with Kade Snowden, Darius Boyd and Chris Houston all put on report, for an alleged lifting tackle.