Tigers fans protest as season ends in Manly hammering


Angry Wests Tigers fans have staged a protest on the Brookvale hill and had banners taken down by security as the joint-venture slumped to a second straight wooden spoon with a 54-12 flogging from Manly.

In a fitting end to a sorry season, the Tigers were completely outplayed, letting in a long-range try in the first minute and never getting a foothold in the contest.

Haumole Olakau'atu starred for Manly, scoring one try and having a hand in three others, while winger Jason Saab and stand-in fullback Tolu Koula bagged doubles.

A group of around 40 Tigers fans chanted for chief executive Justin Pascoe's exit on the seven-minute mark, handing out flyers labelled "end the Pascoe fiasco".

Multiple banners calling for the CEO's exit were also hoisted on the famous hill, before security forced them to be taken down at halftime claiming the venue had deemed them "offensive".

Club bosses have long maintained the joint-venture is on an upward trajectory off the field, with three Australia schoolboys players and a trio of 18-year-olds taking to the field on Friday night.

But Friday's capitulation marked a sad end to Tim Sheens' 40-year span as a first-grade coach, with the veteran mentor still officially in charge alongside Benji Marshall.

"We're all guilty of the wooden spoons," Marshall said.

"Everyone that's involved in it. We all have a part to play. Justin Pascoe is as much to blame as what I am. As this bloke (halfback Api Koroisau) is.

"That's where we have to be. We all have to be better."

The Tigers were pulled apart at will on their left edge, with Olakau'atu having a field day that began by putting Koula over in the first minute.

The Manly second-rower ended the night with eight tackle busts, while also playing a part in a Saab four-pointer when he took a ball at ankle height and passed to his winger.

Koula also showed plenty of speed at fullback on the day before his 21st birthday, busting 17 tackles and proving he can be a capable back-up to Tom Trbojevic.

So easy was it for Manly, 200-game milestone man Jake Trbojevic and Gordon Chan Kum Tong were gifted tries by teammates with passes over the line.

The Sea Eagles' season ends as a case of 'what might have been', after Tom Trbojevic's pectoral tear headlined a raft of mid-season injuries that threw Manly off track.

"We wanted to play next week, that's a given. Everyone wants to play finals," coach Anthony Seibold said.

"It's been a year of growth ... and we've found out what our best footy looks like."

For the Tigers, their campaign has been another disappointment.

They recorded the same amount of wins (four), conceded almost as many points (675) and left fans concerned a 13th straight season out of the finals beckons in 2024.

"It's easy to say words, isn't it? To say, 'Stick with us, it's going to be better next year'," Marshall said.

"The proof is in the pudding. That's the truth of it. And it doesn't matter what we say right now.

"We have to be better on the field and more consistent, or it's going to be another long year."