'Little naive': Des Hasler's face-off with journo after NRL triumph

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·Sports Reporter
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Manly coach Des Hasler bristled at several questions from reporters despite the Sea Eagles thumping Sydney 42-6 in the NRL semi-final on Friday night. Pictures: Fox League
Manly coach Des Hasler bristled at several questions from reporters despite the Sea Eagles thumping Sydney 42-6 in the NRL semi-final on Friday night. Pictures: Fox League

Most thought Manly coach Des Hasler would be walking on air after the Sea Eagles thrashed the Sydney Roosters 42-6 in Friday night's NRL semi-final.

If he was, he certainly didn't show it in his post-game press conference, with the mercurial coach delivering a series of left-field answers to questions that left reporters wondering what had hit them.

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The slightly strange vibe was clear from the outset as Hasler initially complained about being unable to hear a questions about Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic.

While the next few questions went by without incident, it was the final moments of the press conference that really got Hasler going.

As questions turned to Manly's record against the team's top sides, Hasler was clearly not in the mood for comparisons.

The Sea Eagles' win over Sydney was their first against a top five team all season - a fact Hasler wasn't overly enthused about discussing.

“I think that question is a little bit naive,” he said. 

“We’re playing the semi-finals, it doesn’t matter whether they’re top five, bottom five or middle five. It was sudden death tonight and we had to win.”

A final exchange with Fox reporter Jake Duke was the last nail in the coffin, after he was asked about Manly's round one loss to the Roosters and how it compared after the semi-final win.

“Round 1 was about six or seven months ago, does it really matter?” Hasler shot back in reply.

After Duke said it was about how their slow season had gradually gained momentum, Hasler came back with '“You couldn’t have said it any better, ‘Duke’, thanks,” before making a swift exit.

Manly outgun Roosters to continue NRL premiership hopes

A Tom Trbojevic-inspired Manly thumped the Roosters in Mackay to march into their first NRL preliminary final since 2013.

The Sea Eagles' superstar fullback fired back after his quiet night last week against Melbourne, scoring two tries and setting up another as Manly claimed a comprehensive semi-final win.

The victory means Manly move on to face South Sydney next Friday in Brisbane in a grand final qualifier with their two-time premiership-winning coach Des Hasler up against seven-time grand final victor Wayne Bennett.

"Simple things, we just held onto the ball, completed well, we built pressure and we played with a good physicality and we're gonna need that against a good Souths side next week," a happy Hasler said.

"Some good parts there we can take forward."

Tom Trbojevic was once again the key for Manly as they thrashed Sydney in the NRL semi-final. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Tom Trbojevic was once again the key for Manly as they thrashed Sydney in the NRL semi-final. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Trbojevic took just six minutes to make his impact on the game, crossing over on the first play after winning his team a penalty for a late hit from Matt Ikuvalu for which the Roosters' winger was placed on report.

When Trbojevic combined with his brother Jake just five minutes later before sending five-eighth Kieran Foran into a wide open gap, the Sea Eagles had bolted to a 12-0 lead.

Hometown product Daly Cherry-Evans was also having a good night out at BB Print Stadium, the north Queensland town hosting the first final in its history.

Cherry-Evans scored Manly's third try, busting through some weak Roosters defence with a left-foot step after a scrum, and had a key role in Manly's fourth try with a bullet pass sending Jason Saab free down the right before the winger passed inside to allow centre Morgan Harper to score.

The Roosters, who committed five errors in a sloppy first half, only had an Ikuvalu try and a Adam Keighran penalty conversion after the halftime siren to show for their efforts at the break.

With AAP

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