NSW coach Brad Fittler has questioned the salary cap management of Manly after their alarming performance in Round One.
NSW coach Brad Fittler has questioned the salary cap management of the Manly Sea Eagles, saying that tying up a large portion of money in a handful of players was hurting the club.
Manly were well beaten by the Sydney Roosters in round one, but announced a new contract for coach Des Hasler earlier this week.
“It was surprising though that after getting beat by 50 you get signed for two years,” Fittler said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and The Eighth.
“I don’t know what’s going on over there but anyway, I think also they’ve got to look at the salary cap.
“They’ve got some big money weighed in on Tommy [Trbojevic], Cherry [Daly Cherry-Evans], Jake [Trbojevic] … there’s some blokes there on big contracts,” he said.
With the younger Trbojevic out with injury, Fittler was blunt on the contributions of Manly’s other two stars.
“Cherry did nothing, obviously Tom’s not there, Jake had minimal impact. You’ve got a third or even bigger part of your [cap] not having a big impact on the game, it’s something you’ve got to look at.”
Fittler added that the Sea Eagles “absolutely” missed Addin Fonua-Blake, who left in the off-season for the New Zealand Warriors.
Andrew Johns said Manly’s new-look forward pack was no match for the Roosters and despite two outside backs each scoring a hat-trick, the damage was done through the middle.
“They were so far off the pace. People talking about Turbo, Turbo wouldn’t have added anything the other day,” Johns said.
Johns added he would be hesitant to put young gun Josh Schuster in the halves, due to how badly the forward pack was beaten on Saturday. Fittler suggested handing the 19-year-old the No.17 jersey against the Rabbitohs for Round 2.
“I’d be putting him in, he can play a couple of positions … I’d have him coming off the bench,” Fittler said.
“Now’s the time he can come in, he’s got all the finesse. Flicks and all that sort of stuff – he’s got a really nice touch. But you’ve got to wonder how far Manly are going to go this year.”