Parramatta Eels captain Jarryd Hayne has expressed pride in the newfound resolve in the side while at the same time showing extreme frustration at the side's misfortune in its last-minute 22-18 loss to Manly at Brookvale on Sunday.
"You have to take something out of that game... definitely [it took] a lot of confidence to come back from 10-nil down, and have everything go against us, for us to just keep fighting and keep believing and keep sticking together was great," Hayne said after the game.
But he said it felt like plenty of decisions went against his side, which finished on the wrong end of a 10-4 penalty count and managed to lose despite being on the better end of the line break tally (7-5) and error count (6-9).
"That's how it felt out there [that decisions were going against us], I'm not too sure how it looked or whether I'm being a bit biased but we could not get a break, nothing was going our way," he said.
"Don't get me wrong, there were some decisions there where it was fair enough but there were others... it was a 50/50 call that seemed to go against us."
Hayne was pressed for his thoughts on a critical late penalty against Semi Radradra for a high tackle on Sea Eagles half Daly Cherry-Evans, who had been tackled in-goal and after the referees had already ruled that Manly should take a goal-line drop out, before the video referee intervened and ruled a penalty to Manly with Radradra placed on report for the hit.
"I just didn't understand how you can call time off for that, for a play that had already been deemed to be a drop-out. It was exactly like Willie Tonga's at the end there – he was held back, we had a scrum, I thought the on-field refs make a decision. Unless it's something severe but I don't think Daly was anywhere near that," Hayne said.
However Hayne agreed it was a heartening improvement from his side.
"It was but I still feel our second half should have been our first half. We definitely had a lot of opportunities in that first half to put points on the board and we didn't. To start late and claw our way out was pleasing but we need to be better than that," he said.
Hayne also revealed that he suffered an ankle sprain in the first half that prevented him from assuming his role as designated kicker, a job he had been preparing for during the week and in the side's final warm-up on Sunday afternoon.
"I sprained it. I did it in the first half, we'll just have to see how it pulls up. We've got a short turnaround against Penrith on Saturday night so we'll just have to wait and see," he said.
"I was meant to be the kicker but when I sprained it in that first half I could barely run on it so I was no chance kicking."