Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns have run the rule over the mess that is Manly, explaining what Des Hasler’s got wrong.

NSW coach Brad Fittler has urged Manly coach Des Hasler to make changes to his starting side, accusing the Sea Eagles of “not trying that hard”.

Manly’s season is in free fall after failing to record a win or even mount a serious challenge in the opening month of the NRL. The Sea Eagles were pummelled by Penrith last round as the Hasler’s men gave up 46 points in a match for the second time in a young season. They have conceded 156 points in four matches, notching just 34 in return.

The decision to let Addin Fonua-Blake go has come back to bite Manly, with little impact in the forwards causing the side’s attack to splutter, in addition to not having a recognised No.9 at dummy-half. While the Sea Eagles have a myriad of issues, Fittler believes Hasler has part of the answer sitting on his bench.

Panthers put on a clinic at Lottoland against the Sea Eagles

“A lot of people look like they’re not trying that hard,” he said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and The Eighth. “One thing I noticed is that Penrith front-rowers and the Manly front-rowers played exactly the same time.

“The Penrith front-rowers ran for nearly three times the distance. There’s not much going on there. There’s not much fight there.

“I don’t know why Des isn’t making any changes. No one’s getting dropped. There’s not statements being made. Their bench is going good. (Sean) Keppie ran well.”

While ardent Manly supporters will point to the tough early draw with the Sea Eagles playing the Roosters, Penrith and South Sydney in the opening rounds, Newcastle great Andrew Johns said he doesn’t see it “getting any better” for Hasler’s side with over 20 rounds of NRL football to go.

Much of the criticism levelled at the team has been directed at captain Daly Cherry-Evans and makeshift fullback Dylan Walker, who claimed to be the “scapegoat” for Manly’s woes after copping a barrage of criticism from fans. Johns encouraged Hasler to move Walker from fullback, saying he clearly “looks uncomfortable” in his new role, having never played the position during his junior days.

Fittler and Johns question Manly's forwards, salary cap situation

“It’s hard because they’re going backwards,” Johns said. “But when you’re at that stage where Daly is sometimes you’ve got to carry the team and find a way, and you can do that with your kicking game.

“Daly’s first attacking kick he kicked from the right hand side of the field on his 10 and the ball went to the opposition, ten metres out. They intercepted it and ran about 30-40 metres. I just can’t see it getting any better for Manly.”

Johns also lamented the ineffective use of young star John Schuster, who has been selected in the back-row.

“They’re not using him. Every time they’d go down his side they were using him as a decoy or using him on the line. They should be saying ‘here’s the ball and we’ll follow you’.”

Manly have named Jack Gosiewski in the second row to replace the injured Morgan Boyle, while centre Morgan Harper will cover Moses Suli (back) for their clash against the Warriors tomorrow.

The Warriors suffered a huge blow this week, losing enforcer Fonua-Blake to a knee injury which is likely to sideline him for at least eight week. The match up was to be the prop’s first meeting with his former club since asking for a release from Manly last season.

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