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Bad memories of WIN Stadium loss hard to forget

The vexing memories of WIN Stadium on a Saturday night in April are flooding back for Manly players this week.

The Sea Eagles lost 12-10 to the Dragons in a controversial round six game that had the NRL accepting that Manly winger Reuben Garrick should have received a penalty for being escorted off from a high ball by Dragons centre Tim Lafai.

The penalty would have allowed Manly the chance to force golden point extra time. But no amount of remonstrating with the referee by skipper Daly Cherry-Evans changed officials' minds.

"The boys definitely remember that one. It was a tough loss that we took," hooker Manase Fainu told NRL.com on Tuesday.

"We know in footy you win some, you lose some but we've got to come more prepared. The Dragons are a quality side."

And they have upped that level of class with No.6 Corey Norman returning to the side after five weeks out (fractured cheekbone). Just ask the Bulldogs, who were terrorised by Norman in Monday's 36-12 thrashing.

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"Corey and Ben [Hunt] were very good against the Dogs. They’re in pretty good form considering they've had a break from each other," Fainu said.

Second rower Jack Gosiewski agreed with the warning about the Dragons five-eighth.

"Corey Norman is back and he's big inclusion to their side," Gosiewski said.

"We'll do our homework on him this week and go into the game ready for the type of stuff he can throw at us."

Meantime, the memories are enough to stoke Manly's fire ahead of Sunday's game at Lottoland.

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"That [round six] game has been and gone so you forget about it pretty quickly," Gosiewski said.

"But when you next come up against a team it is in the back of your mind, the last game you played them, and the way we lost."

The Mullumbimby Giants junior also has more recent memories about his own game – two sin binnings from the loss to the Panthers and then the win over the Cowboys.

Most recently, he held onto the collar of Scott Bolton's jersey as he chased a Jake Granville kick into the in-goal.

"The one on the weekend was pretty stupid on my part. I still forget there about 300 cameras on you each weekend so you're not going to get away with much," Gosiewski said.

Neither coach Des Hasler or defensive coach John Cartwright have felt compelled to chat to him about discipline.

"No they haven't, and it doesn't worry me," he said.

"But I've had two in a row so if I got three then I might be worried."

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Gosiewski is just glad to be playing. His 13 matches in 2019 are the most he's racked up in a single season after four years of NRL - five games with the Rabbitohs in 2016, one in 2017 and eight with Manly in 2018.

Fractures in his arm and hand, infections, surgeries and knee tendon tears have  cruelled any consistency for the 25-year-old – until this year.

"I feel really good, still pretty fresh, apart from a few niggles I'm sure every NRL player has midway through a year," he said.

"But I'm so pleased to come this far into the season – played every game – which considering where I've come from the past few years ... it's really good."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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