Barrett, Sea Eagles at low point after heavy loss to Roosters
It was Manly's 'old boys' day at Lottoland on Sunday with former players doing a lap of honour before kick-off. Coach Trent Barrett said that was as good as it got for Sea Eagles fans yesterday.
The club who used to call Brookvale Oval their "Fortress" suffered one of their worst losses in the past two decades with a 56-24 humiliation at the hands of the Sydney Roosters.
It was 34-6 at halftime and became the first time since 2004 that Manly had let the opposition put 50 points on them at home.
After the 14-13 loss to Melbourne at Lottoland last weekend, Sunday's defeat is now the fifth in a row at home for Manly – their worst home run since 2004. The 32-point loss wasn't their worst loss at Brookvale – that came in 1963 with a 39-0 defeat against the Dragons.
But Barrett said the devastation didn't end with statistics. It was letting down some of the players who helped bring eight premierships to Manly.
"The hardest thing for us now is to go over to the club and look the fans in the eye, and look the ex-players in the eye," Barrett said.
When asked what he would say to former players, he said: "Sorry."
The Roosters were admittedly in a hunting mood and scored three tries within the first 13 minutes. By match end the visitors had 14 line breaks to four.
"Yes, we've got some young guys in the side and we could use that as an excuse. But I can't. Defensively we were poor.
"A lot of young blokes in there who just got taught another very, very, hard lesson.
"It looked like men playing against the boys – they just ran straight through us. Disappointment is an understatement. That's not good enough.
"Just because you pull on a NRL jumper doesn't mean you're a first grade player.
"There were individual defensive lapses there throughout the 80 minutes that's just weren't up to standard. And we have to get that out of our game.
"You can cop losing if everyone is in there having a big crack. Last week we lost by a point ... that's a lot easier to take than this."
Captain Daly Cherry-Evans nodded at everything Barrett said in the post-match press conference, as excruciating as it was to hear.
"It's a game I'll remember for a long time for all the wrong reasons," Cherry-Evans said.
"The hardest part to take is not at any point in that game did I feel like we were in a position to come back, unfortunately."