BACKLASH: The Sea Eagles after conceding a try to the Storm last weekend. Picture: Getty ImagesSOUTH Sydney coach Michael Maguire says he is wary of a Manly side coming off a record loss in tonight’s encounter in Gosford.
Manly surrendered a 20-0 lead, a Brookvale Oval record, against Melbourne, when they lost 23-22 in golden-point extra-time.
The loss has stung the Sea Eagles, and forwards leader Anthony Watmough declared the effort ‘‘wasn’t up to NRL standard’’.
The Rabbitohs were the most impressive team in round one with their 28-8 win over premiers Sydney Roosters, but Maguire cautioned his troops as to the bounce-back factor as they get ready to face last year’s grand finalists in successive weeks.
‘‘Melbourne are a team that have shown for a long, long time they are always in the game, and so are Manly,’’ Maguire said.
‘‘It was probably very unlike a Manly team, but I know they will come out fired up this week and we have to be sure we are well and truly on our game.
‘‘In that first half last week Manly were on fire. They put a number of great plays on, they showed their capabilities, and no doubt they will again.
‘‘If that loss happened to be us, we would be stung, too, so we know they will be well and truly up for a game.
‘‘They are always dangerous. They have been a quality team for a long time and they have been performing at a high level for a long time and been involved in grand finals for a while now.’’
Brett Stewart [hamstring] is a significant omission for Manly for the Central Coast Stadium clash. Pita Hiku will take his spot at fullback.
David Williams (knee) returns for Manly alongside prop Jason King, who has overcome a shoulder injury.
Souths are unchanged from the 17 that beat the Roosters.
Meanwhile, Souths have begun to look elsewhere for a replacement to superstar Sam Burgess after they missed out on Andrew Fifita.
The Rabbitohs were linked to off-contract Bulldogs prop James Graham, but he appears set to stay at Belmore.