Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler has revealed centre Morgan Harper was “underdone” for his crucial clash against Sharks gun Siosifa Talakai.
Talakai ran riot in the first half, recording 193 run metres, nine tackle breaks, three line breaks and three offloads, while his opposite man missed six tackles.
After 40 minutes the Sharks had a 32-0 lead and despite a huge comeback, the Sea Eagles were unable to best Craig Fitzgibbon’s side.
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At halftime, Hasler made the call to bring Harper off and hand young gun Tolu Koula the task of containing Talakai which ended up a successful move.
Harper missed the Sea Eagles Round 6 clash against the Titans due to Covid protocols, and Hasler explained that may have contributed to his poor performance.
“In hindsight, it is wonderful thing hindsight, with Covid he was underdone a little bit, but he won’t use that as an excuse,” Hasler said.
“He is a real proud kid and he will learn, it was a real tough night for him tonight, there is not doubt about that and he won’t hide from that.
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“We will fix that off and he will dust himself off and live to fight another day.”
The Sea Eagles knew the Sharks would come out strong, being one of the competition’s frontrunners to finish in the top four.
But the Manly side were blown out of the park early and believe there is lessons to be learnt from the encounter.
“We should have competed better… there were parts of our game that were really brave,” Hasler said.
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“It was always going to be a tough night here and we knew that, it was something that we specifically spoke about.
“There is plenty of confidence that we can take out of that second half performance and shows a way for us.
“Our defence I thought was a little bit iffy, that is probably an understatement… and that can’t happen.
“Positives we can take out of it is when we do play… you turn it around a win the second half 22-2 but they were just better than us tonight.”
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