Heartbroken Barrett tasked with avoiding unwanted history

Manly are a chance at their first wooden spoon in 71 years.
Manly are a chance at their first wooden spoon in 71 years.

MANLY coach Trent Barrett admitted avoiding the club's first wooden spoon will be a motivation for the Sea Eagles after their 18-point capitulation to Penrith.

In a game that Barrett says summed up their nightmare season, the Sea Eagles gave away a 24-6 lead without even completing a play-the-ball in a seven-minute period at Lottoland on Saturday.

The loss leaves the Sea Eagles on 12 points and 14th on the NRL ladder, but equal on points with Canterbury and North Queensland with only Parramatta one win below them.

Manly have avoided the wooden spoon in their 70-year history, the only club to do so of those who have been around before expansion outside NSW in 1988.

They also have the longest wooden-spoon drought of all teams in NRL history, after Balmain's 62-year run without it ended when they merged with Western Suburbs in 1999.

Asked if avoiding the wooden spoon was now a motivation, Barrett responded: "Everyone knows, we don't need to speak about it.

Nathan Cleary leads the way for Penrith. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne)
Nathan Cleary leads the way for Penrith. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne)

"Two points is important every week for us. Again, we just found a way to lose today.

"We're in a dogfight at the bottom of the table and it's a position we don't want to end up in a month's time."

Barrett was almost inconsolable after the loss, appearing even more hurt than he did following his side's 58-26 flogging at the hands of the Sydney Roosters last week.

Saturday's loss was the biggest capitulation after a team led by 18 points with 13 minutes to play.

Manly must bounce back for Cronulla in Cronulla next week, followed by a run of games against Canterbury, Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast.

"It will be hard (to get the players to bounce back) but that's our job," Barrett said.

"I thought we did well to bounce back from last week. Different circumstances again this week.

"That one will be hard to cop. But, we've got to keep going."



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