Manly coach Geoff Toovey has launched a scathing attack on his side, claiming they didn’t deserve to play in the NRL finals based on their performance against Parramatta.
The Sea Eagles were upset 20-16 by the Eels, the loss ending a four-game winning streak and all but extinguishing any chance Manly had of making the playoffs.
“We were lucky they were as bad as us to keep us in the game,” Toovey said.
Manly came into the game needing to win by 24 points to move into the top eight with two rounds remaining, but it was clear early on they were off their game in a scrappy contest at a wet Brookvale Oval.
“I think we were 21 sets from 40 completions which is just diabolical and our worst all year,” he said.
“I thought all the luck was in our hands, the last three games if we kept winning, I thought we were a really good shot, but now we need some luck.
“But the performance we put on tonight, we don’t deserve to be there.”
The Sea Eagles sit two points behind the eighth-placed St George Illawarra with Toovey’s side facing the competition-leading Sydney Roosters at Brookvale on Friday before finishing the regular season away to Cronulla.
The situation could get even more difficult for the Sea Eagles with hooker Matt Ballin’s season hinging on the result of scans after he suffered a suspected ACL injury to his left knee.
His match ended with about half-an-hour remaining after he was assisted from the field by trainers.
While it was all doom and gloom for the hosts, the Eels were thrilled to come away with the win inspired by Semi Radradra.
The Fijian winger moved to the top of the competition’s leading tryscorers list with a double, taking him to 21 for the season and one clear of Canterbury’s Curtis Rona.
Radradra had two in the first half when he crashed over after 24 minutes, snapping up a superb cut-out pass from Parramatta five-eighth Corey Norman.
Norman, who filled in as captain for the injured Tim Mannah, said it was a treat to have Radradra on the end of the backline.
“We just got shape there to get him one-on-one and that’s all he needs and we saw tonight and throughout the year that he can finish, so that’s good for us,” Norman said.
One bright note for Manly was centre Steve Matai scoring to become the fourth Manly player to bag 50 tries at Brookvale behind Steve Menzies (88), Brett Stewart (86) and Bob Fulton (70).