Matai: Des not on Manly radar
Getting one over former coach Des Hasler may be lower down the priority list than reversing last week's defensive malfunction for Manly players, but rugged centre Steve Matai says if his ex-mentor ends Manly's season he may still be reluctant to share a post-match ale with him.
Matai said the match was "not really" more significant because it came against Hasler.
"When we first played Des it did but that sort of fizzled out. For us it's more about us performing the way we know we can and putting in a good performance.
"We know what he's like, he's a real stern man. When it comes to semis he doesn't miss a thing, so we know we're going to be in for a tough game. We'll definitely have to perform."
Matai said he was still on good terms with his former coach, and wasn't averse to heading into opposition change rooms to share a beer – although that may not be on the cards if Hasler ends Manly's season this Saturday.
"After games I've caught up with him a couple of times. When he first went there we went in the change rooms afterwards and had a beer with him and said g'day, there's no bad feelings towards him.
"[If he beats us this weekend] I don't know if I'll have a beer with him – I probably won't!"
Matai said after last week's dire performance the players were given a couple of days off to spend time with their families and get away from footy so they could start this week fresh.
"Last week's gone for us now, it's about moving forward and the Bulldogs this weekend so we've got to put on a good performance," he said.
He said the side's late mini-comeback – dragging a 40-0 deficit towards a slightly more respectable 40-24 scoreline – was "not very important" other than for a slight morale boost.
"We knew we could score tries, we just needed the ball in the right area of the field and we couldn't get that til the 60th minute. We've got to be a bit better there, our kick chase was pretty poor, if we fix that up we'll be ok."
He said the side's famous "backs to the wall" attitude would be on show in this week's do-or-die semi final.
"We pride ourselves in coming out when everyone writes us off, we get tighter and perform better. I'm sure it will be no different this weekend," he said.