Monday Morning Halfback - Round 4
The Sea Eagles' depth is set to be tested over the coming weeks, the competition's in-form halfback, and can the Warriors put together a complete performance?
Manly are in their biggest slump in a decade - but don't write their obituary
Saturday night's loss to the Dragons means Manly have now lost six of their past seven NRL games – a losing stretch not seen on the northern beaches in almost a decade.
However halfback Daly Cherry-Evans believes last year's three consecutive defeats that ended their season shouldn't count.
"Last year is really irrelevant. It's so irrelevant. I'm sure Souths aren't gloating on last year's performances. They're going to try and produce another great year and unfortunately we finished on sour terms last season the way we were bundled out," he told NRL.com.
After finishing third-last in 2004, the Manly Sea Eagles haven't missed a finals series in the ensuing decade. That's 10 finals appearances, four grand finals, two premierships.
It might not be the Manly side we've grown accustomed to watching for the best part of a decade, and we are not ready to write them off yet, but...
Manly's depth to be tested
It won't get any easier for the Sea Eagles in the coming weeks. Skipper Jamie Lyon (groin), Josh Starling (knee) and Feleti Mateo (knee) all failed to finish the weekend's match against the Dragons and are likely to miss next week's clash against the Raiders in Albury.
"I had to reshuffle the backline there a bit, which wasn't helpful. We ran out of replacements with about ten to go," coach Geoff Toovey said.
"Feleti might be a couple of weeks, Josh Starling re-injured his knee again so he might be a couple of weeks. The skipper, we'll re-assess him again in a week or two. The positive I suppose was that Kieran [Foran] came through okay."
They are certainly doing it tough at the moment. We are about to find out just how tough in the next month of footy.
Injury toll starting to show for Warriors
Across the ditch, the Warriors are also a side struggling with key injuries to start the season.
Without pivotal attacking weapons Sam Tomkins, Konrad Hurrell and Ngani Laumape the Warriors lacked the composure to put Brisbane away at the weekend.
"We had our opportunities to win the game, we just didn't take them," coach Andrew McFadden said.
"I think as a team we just lacked that composure in the end. Our young kids are doing a great job, we have plenty of them in the side at the moment but we got beat by a pretty good and experienced side today."
Warriors' attack goes missing for 40 minutes… again
It has been an accusation levelled at the Warriors since the club's inception 20 years ago. The perception is that they just don't seem to be able to put together consistent performances. Not only game-to-game, but in 2015, we are never sure which Warriors team will show up in a half of football.
So far this year they have failed to score more than one try in at least one half of all four of their matches.
In Round 1 they went scoreless in the second 40, against the Raiders in Round 2 they got over the line only once in the first half, last week they crossed once in the second period and this week were shut out by the Broncos in the opening stanza.
In a competition so close, you can't afford to go missing for an entire half.
Mitchell Pearce has had a superb start to season 2015
After another huge performance against the Raiders, Mitchell Pearce has stamped himself as the in-form halfback over the first month of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
He had a hand in all of the Roosters' first five tries, ending the match as the only back who didn't score a try for the Tricolours.
Trent Robinson was glowing when describing Pearce's performance after the match.
"He was in control of our whole attack... so he had to keep us on track while we were trying lots of different stuff... and he did that well," Robinson said.
"I thought he's been really strong, the kicking he's had over the first month has been exceptional."