Manly coach Trent Barrett has belittled the NRL’s measures to reduce the strain on five-day turnarounds as his side prepare for a horror draw over the next five weeks.
Barrett’s Sea Eagles scraped past the Sydney Roosters 22-20 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday despite being given just five days to prepare.
Without suspended forwards Martin Taupau and Brenton Lawrence, and despite the late withdrawals of Steve Matai (neck) and Tom Symonds (calf) as well as losing halfback Daly Cherry-Evans (foot) and Jamie Buhrer (broken finger), the Sea Eagles showed real guts to record their second win of the season.
On top of their mounting injury worries, they were playing just five days after recording their first victory of the year over Cronulla on Monday night.
But they will be given little rest as they face yet another short break before they take on South Sydney at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night.
Then, after a tough trip across the Tasman to face the Warriors in Auckland, they will be again forced to play five days later against the Eels in round seven.
But it doesn’t end there, with the side having just five days rest again between their round eight match with Newcastle and their round nine acid test against premiers North Queensland.
“We’ve got another (five-day turnaround) on Thursday and we’re going to go in with the same attitude – try and win that as well,” Barrett said.
“Then we’ve got to go to Auckland the following Sunday and then come back and play on the Thursday night as well.”
The NRL this week promised to pay for extra accommodation and offer free airline lounge memberships to clubs facing five-day turnarounds to lessen the strain amid concern about player welfare.
While the measure earned the support of the Rugby League Players Association, Barrett called them inadequate.
“A comfier bed, that’ll make a difference,” Barrett remarked sarcastically.
He said the team would be able to train just once during the lead up to their showdown with the Rabbitohs but didn’t want his side to use it as an excuse.
“The whole squad won’t do anything until the captain’s run,” Barrett said.
“You can only train once. We’ve just got to rely on what we’ve done in the pre-season and get them on the field.
“Talk about player welfare.”
Matai and Symonds are likely to be back to take on the Rabbitohs however Cherry-Evans and Buhrer, who were both sent for scans on Saturday night, appear unlikely.
Isaac John, Tim Moltzen and Feleti Mateo shape as possible stand-ins for Cherry-Evans at No.7.