Manly’s woes after Monday night’s bruising loss to Sydney Roosters have been compounded by the news that co-captain Jason King could miss the rest of the season.
Despite having a one-man advantage over Sydney Roosters for the final 10 minutes of Monday Night Football at Brookvale Oval, the Sea Eagles crashed to a 16-4 loss that ended nine years without a win on the northern beaches for the Bondi boys.
Geoff Toovey’s side is already without its talisman Brett Stewart until sometime during the State of Origin series while an anterior cruciate ligament injury has ended back-rower Joe Galuvao’s season.
King had been listed to return in Round 9 but that comeback has been abandoned.
“Kingy is going to have shoulder surgery and we’re hoping to have him back towards the end of the season,” coach Toovey told NRL.com.
“You’ve got to wait for those things to settle down a little bit before you make the decision on surgery. We decided a few days ago.”
Asked if King would return for the finals or before, Toovey said: “We don’t know. We’re just hoping.”
The former NSW star missed the Sea Eagles’ last premiership campaign with a pectoral muscle injury and was also troubled by shoulder problems last year. King is contracted until the end of next season.
The Sea Eagles lifted their intensity at halftime last night but the tricolours staved off several waves of attack before hooker Jake Friend scored in the final two minutes to make the margin deceptively comfortable.
Meanwhile Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the bar for a send-off had probably been lowered by match officials since the fiery Manly-South Sydney match at Brookvale on April 26.
Robinson made the comment during the post-match media conference but then expanded on his thoughts significantly on radio.
“Maybe they might have changed since the Souths-Manly game,” he said. “Maybe they had a chat about it and maybe they’re a bit clearer about what is a send-off.
“Hopefully they are.”
Robinson later told Triple M he had no doubt this had occurred. “The spear tackles (in that game) were worse than tonight,” he said
Manly travel to Melbourne for their third consecutive Monday Night Football game, next week against the Storm.