Manly have sunk to a 15-year NRL low, conceding the most points of any team through the first three rounds of a season since Canberra in 2006.
The Sea Eagles’ defensive woes slumped to a new level on Friday night, as they gave up 38 points in their flogging at the hands of St George Illawarra.
Manly have now lost 11 of their last 12, having also given up 30 points or more in seven of their last nine games dating back to late last year.
But while all hope was lost in the final rounds of 2020, their numbers in this season alone are more concerning.
The Sea Eagles have now let in 110 points in the first three rounds of this year, after also conceding 46 points to the Sydney Roosters and 26 to South Sydney.
“We have to get better at defending last tackle plays,” Manly coach Des Hasler said.
“We conceded four tries off kicks. We need to diffuse those plays.
“Defensively through the middle I thought we were good.”
Making matters worse for Manly is the fact they have Penrith on Thursday night, giving them little time to fix a defence that is averaging 32 misses per game.
Their biggest issues have been on the edges, where they conceded seven tries on the left in round one and just as many on the right across the past two weeks.
“We’ve got to better in that department,” Hasler said.
“We have to, because Penrith will be coming down there on Thursday night.”
Still, Hasler is adamant he has the team to turn it around as they risk going 0-4 for the first time since 2009.
The veteran coach won’t be tempted into bringing Tom Trbojevic back from his hamstring injury early.
But after claiming his team was also too frantic in attack on Friday night, Hasler is certain one win can make the difference.
“We’ll dig our way out. You watch,” Hasler said.
“Just because of the spirit in this team.
“There is quality fight in this side … We just have to get better nailing those parts of the game when we get in position.”
WORST DEFENSIVE STARTS TO A SEASON AFTER ROUND THREE SINCE 2006:
Canberra (2006): 140 points conceded
Manly (2021): 110
Gold Coast (2020): 106
Sydney Roosters (2016): 103
Gold Coast (2018): 102
Newcastle (2016): 102
Sydney Roosters (2010): 102
North Queensland (2008): 102