His side may not have fired a shot, but Manly coach Trent Barrett gave both barrels to Billy Moore for his criticism of Daly Cherry-Evans after their 30-6 NRL loss in Brisbane.
Barrett was clearly unimpressed by Moore’s pre-match claim that Cherry-Evans would never live down his 2015 Gold Coast contract backflip, all but daring the Suncorp Stadium crowd to boo him on Saturday night.
The sold out Brisbane attendance duly let their displeasure be known to the entire Manly team when they ran out for their “home” game as part of the NRL double header.
But Barrett said former Origin backrower Moore – famous for his “Queenslander” catchphrase – was out of line for dredging up fellow Maroon Cherry-Evans’ past.
“It was surprising, particularly coming from a Queenslander,” Barrett said of Moore’s criticism.
“They say they (Queenslanders) stick together.
“Billy is from Tenterfield, NSW.
“He might have been confused.”
Injury plagued Cherry-Evans showed some encouraging signs as he looked to launch a last-gasp Origin selection bid against Brisbane.
He injected himself throughout the first half and appeared to set up a Matt Wright 33rd-minute try that would have potentially cut Brisbane’s deficit to 12-6, only to be denied over a dubious forward-pass call.
“I thought in the first half that was his best 40 minutes with the footy that he has had (this year),” Barrett said.
Cherry-Evans appeared hampered by an ankle complaint in the second half, but Barrett ruled out any lingering problems.
“He got a knock on it, but he’s okay,” Barrett said.
Tom Trbojevic came back from an ankle injury, slotting in at fullback for Brett Stewart (hamstring) against Brisbane.
Manly still have eight players on their injury list.
Barrett did not expect Stewart or Steve Matai (shoulder) to return for next round’s away clash with Cronulla.
“We are down on troops and we don’t have much coming back so we need to knuckle down,” he said.
An example of the true grit required from Manly was shown by hooker Darcy Lussick, who opted to play against Brisbane after hearing that his mother had died.
“Condolences to their family, he is a very strong person, very popular amongst our team,” Barrett said.
“It was a huge effort for him to be here and play as well as he did.
“We are going to have to look after him now, he has a tough road ahead, but he has a lot of good friends here and we will look after him.”