Manly face on-field test to halt NRL slide

Scott Bailey and Steve Zemek

Earlier this week, Trent Barrett stood up in front of his Manly players and told them he wasn't going anywhere.

On Sunday, Sea Eagles players desperately need to stand up for Barrett to stop their season from spiralling out of control on the field.

For all the mountains Manly must climb off the field after the past month, an equally daunting one lays ahead of them on it.

Having already copped four straight losses, Sunday's clash with the Sydney Roosters kicks off a horror two months of travel for the Sea Eagles.

They head to Brisbane and Melbourne in the following two weeks, and also have trips to Auckland, Canberra, Wollongong and Penrith to follow.

They also don't play a team below them on the NRL ladder between now and round 22 when they host Canterbury, and also have just one match at Lottoland in that period against North Queensland in an Origin-affected round.

Round nine is too early to write a team off for the next 13 weeks with the talent of the Trbojevic brothers, Dylan Walker and Daly Cherry-Evans. But there's no questioning things have to change fast.

"I don't think we're far away, but we really have to start winning," Barrett said on Saturday.

"If we don't get some wins on the board we're going to be too far behind."

Manly finally received some good news on Saturday, as their under-16s side won the Harold Matthews Cup - the club's maiden NSW Rugby League junior age title.

But in their NRL squad, players have already vowed to turn it around for Barrett this week.

They've seen the way he's fronted the press and taken the questions for his players regularly during hardship in his two-and-a-half year stint at the club.

Salary cap scandals, disproved match-fixing probes and now the fallout from the disastrous Gladstone trip last month.

And that's before the staff shortages at Brookvale are considered.

Vice-captain Jake Trbojevic even admitted during the week a lesser man would have walked away from the post, while hooker Apisai Koroisau remarked on how Barrett's fortitude had made them closer.

"A lot of the guys that are in the squad I've known for a long time and we're very close," Barrett said.

"A win on Sunday would me a hell of a lot to myself, to the club and to the players.

"We don't like seeing where the club is at the moment and we don't like the position we're in on the table. We want to fix it. I certainly want to see the club up where it should be."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Manly are the Roosters' bogie side, with 84 wins from 130 games against them.

* Latrell Mitchell is the only player to score points for the Roosters in their past 186 minutes.

* A Manly loss will mark their worst start to a season since 1999.