MANLY coach Geoff Toovey and captain Jamie Lyon last night each said they were “not worried” about the sudden escalation in the impact of ASADA’s investigation into NRL drug use.
The Sea Eagles, one of six clubs mentioned the landmark report compiled by the Australian Crime Commission, beat Brisbane 22-14 in the hours immediately after Cronulla suspended or sacked five staff members in a draconian reaction to the controversy.
“There seems to be a fair bit of talk but we’re not too worried about it,” said centre Lyon after the only Friday night game of round one, which saw Steve Matai post two tries.
“We’ve got a job to do and we’re just going to worry about what we’ve got to do. Big game next week and we’ll just concentrate on that.”
Speaking on radio Triple M late last night, Toovey also said he was “not worried” about “speculation of allegations”. “The sooner it is all sorted out, the better,” he said.
Earlier, the coach told the post-match media conference: “Obviously we don’t stick our heads in the sand. We knew about it.
“I think all football players are happy the season has kicked off so we can get on to concentrating on the good things.
“The players want to get on with it and they want whatever dramas there are off the field to be resolved as quickly as possible. That’s all we can hope.”
It was a disappointing commemoration of Brisbane’s first premiership match, also against Manly, 25 years ago.
Visibly upset Broncos coach Anthony Griffin accused his men of “rolling over early in that second half” as the Eagles won their fifth game against Brisbane at Suncorp from the last five.
“We were very slow and they jumped us,” he said. “Three tries, we gifted them that last one, and that was it.”
Griffin said his men paid a “psychological price” when they “(gave) up that 14-6 lead so easily in the second half. That was the ball game.”
Captain Sam Thaiday reckoned “we were pretty bad” and “we were too soft on ourselves”. Griffin said “it’s hard to be happy about anything”.
Manly’s Anthony Watmough again aggravated a rib injury and had an injection topped up in the second half. “The painkiller wore off … there was no more damage and he was right to go back on,” his coach said.
“It’s going to take a while to repair but he had an outstanding game.”
Toovey said the battle between centres Matai and Justin Hodges “ended up about even.
“But I thought our whole left edge was good. I think they were stacking our right side to come at the bloke next to me (Lyon).
“That did open up a bit of space for Steve Matai and Keiran Foran.”
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD