Nathan Brown insists he is not feeling any pressure as Warriors coach despite the the battling club’s NRL slide continuing in a 44-12 loss to Manly.
With close to 25 per cent of their salary cap missing through Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, the Sea Eagles still dominated the hapless Warriors with a 24-0 first half before cruising home late.
Jake Trbojevic made a statement in his first game since being dropped by NSW coach Brad Fittler, playing close to his best match of the year with deft hands before the line.
Powerful second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu also made his Origin case after being overlooked by the Blues for Game I, terrorising the Warriors’ right edge.
But as good as Manly were to keep themselves in touch with the top-eight, the Warriors were terrible.
They completed just nine sets in the first half and had only four play-the-balls past halfway.
Brown’s men will return home to Auckland next month after almost three years playing out of Australia, but by that point the club’s season could be over.
At times in the first half it was like a competition between Manly’s forwards to score the softest try.
Toafofoa Sipley went over from dummy-half early, Olakau’atu spun over from first receiver and Marty Taupau pushed his way to the line off a penalty tap.
“Our first half was obviously horrible. We can’t hide from that,” Brown admitted.
“I can’t offer any excuses.
“As the coach the start of the game is important, and your preparation. Because you prepare your team to start well.
“So I have to take a hit there.”
Questions have been raised about Brown’s future but the former St George Illawarra and Newcastle coach brushed aside the speculation.
“I’ve been coaching a long time now, so I don’t coach on fear,” Brown said.
“All we can do is the best we can to do what we feel is right. I have been around too long to worry about that other stuff.
“You just keep doing what you think is right. You have to stick to it.”
The Warriors’ attack was just as problematic.
In their only offensive set before the break, they gave the ball over after three tackles when they were pinged for an obstruction.
Their timing was also out on the right edge, with Shaun Johnson passes regularly going behind winger Dallin Waetene-Zelezniak and slowing momentum.
A movement down that side also cost the Warriors points late in the game, when Manly flyer Jason Saab intercepted a Reece Walsh pass and raced 95 metres to score.
Saab’s inside man Morgan Harper also enjoyed a rebound, holding up Jack Murchie over the line in the second half and later busting through to help Reuben Garrick score.
Olakau’atu was Manly’s best.
At one point he shoved Chanel Harris-Tavita several metres backwards as he fended him off, before later flattening Marcelo Montoya when he ran over the top of the Warriors winger.
“He’s been pretty consistent over the course of the year, for them to be talking about his name in Origin circles,” coach Des Hasler said.
“”There are three games in Origin, so you never know.”