Barrett confounded by errors but happy with defence
It was a frustrating start to the season for Manly coach Trent Barrett, who could only admire the steel showed by his team under a mountain of pressure to turn away countless sets at their own goal line while also being infuriated by a glut of soft errors that kept handing his opponents possession.
Manly only made one more error than their opponents (10-9) but their completion rate was just 69 per cent compared to 82 per cent and their errors far more costly.
This was partly due to the Eels earning a full seven sets more and partly because a couple of Parramatta errors came on attacking last-play options while Manly's largely came early in sets or even on play one and heaped the pressure on the team.
"The effort was there but we didn't do ourselves any favours," Barrett lamented after the game.
"You can't expect to win when you make the errors that we made and the possession flow was 60-40. And we had 10 unforced errors too so we made it too hard for ourselves.
"But to get within three tries to two, that was a good effort. We never went away, and we won't, but we made it too hard for ourselves. You can take positives out of it though and you have to.
"It's Round 1 but I thought our goal line defence was the best it's been for a while and to defend nine sets in a row and the only points they came away with were a fifth tackle penalty that they got gifted, that's what hurts."
If the team gets an even share of possession while maintaining that defensive effort and also fixing its other mistakes wins will come, he added.
He also took heart from being able to score twice with very few attacking chances.
However he took issue with the officiating. The most contentious call was a penalty for a second effort on Semi Radradra after the Eels winger appeared to get up and play the ball despite not being held in the attempted tackle. Barrett was also displeased with a decision to award the Eels a 20-metre restart from a kick marked by Bevan French that Barrett said was not marked from the in-goal.
"All I want as a frustrated coach is consistency in the calls, consistency in the 10 metres," he said.
"The Bevan French seven tackle one just after half-time, that wasn't a seven tackle set. They add up and they added up today. Compounded by our errors, but to be a try away when they had so much footy was a credit to our defence but we were up against it."