Croker backs Hasler for prelim master plan

Manly hooker Lachlan Croker believes Des Hasler’s planning for next Friday’s NRL preliminary final would’ve started weeks ago.

© Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS Lachlan Croker is backing coach Des Hasler to have a preliminary final master plan for South Sydney.

The Sea Eagles rebounded from their 40-12 humbling at the hands of Melbourne in the opening week of the finals to crush the Sydney Roosters in Mackay on Friday.

The 42-6 win over the Tricolours was as comprehensive as they come, with Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans the standouts as the Sea Eagles ran riot at BB Print Stadium.

The victory sets up a clash with Wayne Bennett’s South Sydney in Brisbane next week for a spot in this year’s grand final.

Manly haven’t faced the Rabbitohs since a round-two defeat at Brookvale Oval way back in March.

Regardless, Croker expects there will be nothing left to chance in this week’s preparation.


Video: Why Joey’s backing Manly to beat Souths (Wide World of Sports)

“No doubt Dessie would’ve watched film on them for the last 12 weeks thinking about this day,” Croker said.

“So yeah, we’ll be ready.”

Friday’s win over the Roosters was the first time this season the Sea Eagles had beaten a top-five opponent.

With try-scoring freaks Trbojevic, Jason Saab and Reuben Garrick playing off the back of halves duo Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran, Manly have racked up 30 or more points in a game 14 times this season now.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the way his team was blown away by that attacking threat shows how seriously Manly need to be taken despite their underwhelming display against the Storm in week one of the finals.

“They’re definitely a threat,” Robinson said.

“When you’ve got DCE and Tommy and Jake (Trbojevic) and Kez (Foran) there running around and asking questions.

“It’s been a credit to them from the start that they had to build into that.”

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