Manly coach Geoff Toovey has refused to blame the loss of fullback Brett Stewart, or be drawn on refereeing calls, for his side's stunning capitulation to Melbourne at Brookvale on Saturday night.
Addressing media after his side gave up a 20-nil lead to go down 23-22 in golden point extra time, Toovey admitted the loss of Stewart – who had been arguably the most dominant player on the field up to that point – to a hamstring injury just before halftime was "obviously" a turning point.
"But at Brookvale Oval and up by 20 points, you think you don't lose from there," he said.
"Obviously there was a massive change of flow of possession [in the second half], they got the first five penalties [of the half], then we just sort of capitulated, made a lot of unforced errors and they capitalised on it, I don't think it was any great football, just silly mistakes by us," he said.
"We've got a lot of improving to do."
Pressed on some of the refereeing decisions, including one to review a challenge from Justin Horo on Ben Hampton that was eventually placed on report and led to a critical Melbourne penalty goal, Toovey said "we've just got to be better."
"Whether decisions are made, right or wrong, we've got to deal with it."
He said he thought the side should have capitalised further on its first half dominance and been up by more than 20 points, and lamented a number of errors and poor decisions in the second half.
"The game was there to be won and we made too many errors, some basic individual simple errors. And decisions, we made some poor decisions.
"It's very uncharacteristic of the quality of the team that we are."