THURSDAY NIGHT RUGBY! SEE THE NORTH HARBOUR RAYS VS MELBOURNE RISING
By Adam Lucius
Normally any win over Randwick at Coogee would be cause for celebration.
But the Marlins' solid but unspectacular 20-6 disposal of the Galloping Greens on Saturday didn't have the travelling fans - or team - dancing in the aisles.
In fact, coach Tim Lane labelled the performance 'disappointing' and declared he expected more from the men in blue after setting a high benchmark for the 2012 campaign.
"It was pretty average. It's not what we are or hope to be this year," he said after locking his team in the dressing room for a heart-to-heart chat.
"We were expecting a fair bit more.
"Compared to our trials we didn't show up physically and just went through the motions.
"It was disappointing. We won it but it's not the way we want to win.
"We should be up to play Randwick at Coogee but we weren't and still did enough to get away with it.
"I'm disappointed and so are they.
"We want to play a helluva lot better than that."
Randwick started the stronger and should have taken the early lead after squandering a certain try under the posts.
The Wicks did take a 3-0 advantage via a Toby Browne penalty before Manly half Jack Rowntree opened the try scoring with a clever pick up and dart from the scrum base.
Penalty goals were then traded for a 10-6 halftime scoreline.
A second half try to prop Oliver Hoskin and a Sione Ala penalty eased Manly further in front and they scrambled well in defence to hang on for the win.
Pretty it wasn't - thanks partly to an incessant flow of 17 penalties against the visitors- but four points all the same.
"We will be better than that it coming weeks, that's for sure," Lane promised.
Prop Dane Maraki, who had an enormous game, added: "We didn't see a lot of ball so we took a positive out of our strong defensive effort.
"There are a lot of new faces in the side and it will take time to gel but it looks good.
"The improvement will come. I'm pretty happy with the way things are looking."
Manly claimed two of the three lower grades, with seconds (39-26) and fourths (32-24) taking the cash.
Third grade went down 41-7.
The Marlins are at home next Saturday for the first time this year when they host powerful Sydney Uni at Manly Oval.