Tom Trbojevic can’t hide his frustration. (Brett Costello)
Tom Trbojevic can’t hide his frustration. (Brett Costello)

Sea Eagles reveal brutal players-only session

IT was the "brutal" player-only meeting to discuss what they called a "bulls***" and "embarrassing" performance.

On Wednesday, Manly players opened up about a savage honesty session they endured on Monday morning to help fend off the club's first wooden spoon in 71-years.

Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett started the meeting before being asked to leave - the players wanting to take full ownership of Sunday's horror 56-24 loss to Sydney Roosters at Brookvale Oval.

Players deny blaming one-another but claimed no one "sugar-coated" the Roosters debacle.

"We need to have those conversations without people getting their panties in a knot and carrying on about it," said Manly forward Joel Thompson.

It was a performance Manly stars described as "terrible and soft."

"Shocking. It was hard to watch," said Manly star Jake Trbojevic. "You just want to hide. It was so bad, we have to show more pride in our performance. It hurt."

There was nowhere to hide after that performance. (Matt King/Getty Images)
There was nowhere to hide after that performance. (Matt King/Getty Images)

And the players knew only they could address and fix the on-field problems ahead of Saturday afternoon's match against Penrith at Brookvale Oval.

Manly's coaching staff cut-up video which the players had to watch and dissect inside their Narrabeen headquarters.

It must have been like a confronting Hollywood horror movie. Thompson was, as always, brutally honest when discussing the video session.

"It's a brutal game. If you're going to sugar coat things then you're going to get another performance like that," he said.

"We needed to speak about how poor we were and take ownership and responsibility. We needed to speak up.

"There was some lazy shit through the ruck that wasn't acceptable. It was a chance for the young guys to start finding their voice."

The players face it in the dressing room after the game.
The players face it in the dressing room after the game.

Asked did he step forward with his own errors, Thompson said: "I dropped a ball trying to be ballplayer when I'm not a ballplayer. I said it was 'bullshit' and it will never happen again."

Manly five-eighth Trent Hodkinson also spoke about the gut-wrenching meeting.

"We had a good honest session among the players. Just the players," Hodkinson said. "It was 'out there' but you need to do after a game like that. It's the only way you're going to improve and move forward. It's not ideal but it had to be done.

"We got a lot out of it. We broke down the game There was no blame and we had to try and stay positive but you have to tell the truth at the same time.

"It wasn't fun going in there and seeing the pictures we saw. It was a little bit embarrassing but it was also a good eye-opener. We had to put it out there. We let a few people down, obviously the coaches and fans as well."

Jake Trbojevic admitted coach Trent Barrett was "frustrated and angry".

Jake Trbojevic’s face says it all. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)
Jake Trbojevic’s face says it all. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

"It was terrible, to be honest," Jake said. "I guess this weekend can't come quick enough. I can't think of one too many (games) worse than that. It was pretty bad, some of the defensive efforts. It dents your pride.

"Some blokes just didn't turn up, some soft efforts, especially at home, you want to be proud in your performance. We have to turn it around. Hopefully the fans will still come and watch us."

Asked about the wooden spoon, Jake said: "You don't want to be the first (Manly team to claim it). That's motivation for everyone. Manly is such a proud and successful club."

Fullback Tom Trbojevic added: "It's been pretty embarrassing being on the end of a score line like that. We just didn't turn up. It was simple as that. We just didn't come to play footy. It's hard to put a finger on it.

"We haven't been good enough this year and that is shown with where we are standing on the ladder."



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