Manly Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett could not hide his anger after his side was thrashed 44-10 at Parramatta on Sunday to end a week of turmoil.
In the build-up to the clash against the winless Eels, Barrett banished Jackson Hastings to Manly’s feeder club Blacktown Workers, admitting he “does have an issue fitting in with the group”.
Hastings had a fight with Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans a fortnight ago after attending a strip club in Gladstone and the Sea Eagles skipper was fined $10,000 on the eve of the game for his part in the incident.
Then, to add insult to injury, rock-bottom Parramatta piled on seven tries to two to break its duck for 2018.
“It’s been a very, very ordinary week,” Barrett said.
“The incident in Gladstone was a little bit of the straw that broke the camel’s back … there have been things leading up to that.
“It isn’t the reason we lost today but it certainly doesn’t help.”
Manly, belted 38-12 by the Wests Tigers last week, was hurt by its own “ill-discipline”, according to Barrett, who acknowledged things are not looking good.
“We are under the pump. We’re in a hole,” he said.
“The only way out is to stick together and fight our way out of it.”
Speaking for the first time since his punishment, Cherry-Evans said he had “copped it all on the chin”, that he was “not proud” of the incident and that he had no lingering issues with Hastings.
“We cleared the air straight away,” he said.
Sharks pip Panthers in a thriller
Also on Sunday, the Cronulla Sharks held off a fast-finishing Penrith Panthers to win 26-22.
Jesse Ramien’s second-half double was enough to give the Sharks victory despite tries in the last five minutes to Isaah Yeo and Viliame Kikau.
Former Panther Matt Moylan impressed for Cronulla, which was without co-captains Paul Gallen and Wade Graham due to injury.
Pearce and Burgess set for stints on the sidelines
Newcastle half-back Mitchell Pearce will miss around four months with a ruptured pectoral muscle suffered in the Knights’ last-gasp 22-20 win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday.
Pearce – a big-money signing from the Sydney Roosters – will now miss the entire State of Origin period and his injury is a significant blow to the Knights.
Ken Sio scored a hat-trick in the win but it was Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s try with three minutes left that secured Newcastle a brilliant victory.
South Sydney star Sam Burgess is likely to miss two to three weeks after his high tackle on Canberra halfback Aidan Sezer in the Rabbitohs’ 42-22 win over the Canberra Raiders.
The Rabbitohs now sit sixth, two wins behind table-toppers St George Illawarra Dragons and the New Zealand Warriors.
The Warriors beat the Dragons in a Friday night cracker, winning 20-12 in Auckland, while on the same night the Melbourne Storm, who are now fifth, beat the Brisbane Broncos 34-20.
Winger Josh Addo-Carr bagged a double for the Storm in the exciting encounter.
Also in Round 7, the North Queensland Cowboys won for just the second time this season, toppling the Gold Coast Titans 26-14, while the Sydney Roosters beat the Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0 in a dour clash.