Gutted Toovey 'deserved better'
After his side was all but bundled out of the 2015 finals race in dire fashion on Friday night by the Roosters, outgoing coach Geoff Toovey was angry enough to declare he wanted to lace on the boots and go out there himself.
Meanwhile, captain Jamie Lyon lamented the club legend "deserved better" in his final game at Brookvale in a three-decade playing and coaching career littered with success.
Toovey said it had been an emotional night after the 46-10 loss.
"It was going to be but I'm probably a bit disappointed and angry now more than anything else," he said.
"I wish I could pull my boots on again and go back 30 years and start again really. I'd like to do that but unfortunately I can't."
He added he hadn't been looking too far ahead while walking from the Brookvale coaching box for the last time on fulltime.
"I was very upset for the team really, we've let a chance to sneak back into the eight slip by now. It was more disappointment about that than anything else."
While back-to-back heavy losses for the Dragons against the lowly Titans and Tigers, coupled with a big win by Manly next week at Cronulla could technically see the side scrape into eighth if they can overcome what is currently a 63-point differential gap behind the Red V, Toovey conceded the season was effectively over after the 36-point thrashing following last week's disappointing home loss to a struggling and injury-hit Eels side.
"I thought we're a better side than that scoreline," he said.
"Pretty disappointing the last two weeks to be honest with you.
"We had a lot to play for. I thought the first half we started really well – made a few too many errors mind you and let them in the match but I thought we threw enough at them to be confident in the second half."
He said he believed after a stronger finish to the first half his side would be good enough to overturn a 16-6 half time deficit but those hopes disappeared when the Roosters stretched their lead less than three minutes after the resumption.
"I was a true believer in the players and if we played some good football we'd be capable of victory but shortly after half-time we let another try in. We just left it in the sheds which is another disappointing fact."
As the Roosters piled on more and more late tries the match slipped away from Manly.
"I think the air went out of our tires a bit there at the end seeing the season probably slipping away so it's probably difficult for the players out there to keep it up," Toovey said.
"They're a very methodical side who stuck to the same structure and we knew that. If you watch the tries they scored there's no set pieces that really bothered us too much, maybe once. You just have to turn up with more enthusiasm than them, run harder than them and tackle harder than them and control the ball. We didn't do any of those things."
Lyon said it was a sad way for the club legend to go out.
"He deserves better than that," Lyon said bluntly.
"We just didn't dish up the footy that he deserves so we're pretty disappointed to say the least.
"Last week was poor as well after having such a good run there for a couple of months; it was very disappointing that we couldn't keep it going, more for Tooves and the other boys leaving more than anything."
Lyon himself failed to finish the game after aggravating an ankle injury he picked up against the Eels a week earlier and may be in some doubt to make the trip to Cronulla in Round 26, depending on how the injury pulls up.
In a mark of how classy Toovey has been throughout a horror season and particularly when dealing with the news he was being sacked by the club, the outgoing coach made it a point to thank all the attending journalists at the conclusion of his final Brookvale Oval post-match press conference.
"I'd just like to thank everyone for their respect and their help for looking after me as well over the years. I appreciate it and for your time," he said.
If a coach thanking journalists is a rare sight, it was followed by an even rarer one when Toovey received a standing round of applause from the assembled media as he stood up and returned to the sheds.