MANYANA will need a big turnaround in next week’s major semi final after they were flogged 5-1 by ladder leaders Culburra at Culburra Oval on Saturday.
An anticipated blockbuster between first and second never eventuated, with the home side proving far too strong.
While the result may be a blow to Manyana’s confidence, it has not affected their position on the table, meaning the two sides will meet again in next week’s semi.
Culburra’s first goal came courtesy of a cross from Kieran Witt, which allowed in-from striker Jack Miller to tap it in.
His partner in crime Corey Ryan soon got his name on the scores sheet and the Cougars made it 3-nil at the break when the returning Daniel Wells hit a rocket into the back of the net from 20 metres out.
The home side was not without their problems in the second half, with Dale Blundell forced off with injury after popping out his shoulder, before they were reduced to 10 men after Blair Sutherland received a straight red for a dangerous challenge.
This did not have any impact on the scoreboard however, with Miller and Ryan each adding a second goal to put them in front 5-nil.
With two more goals to his tally, Ryan ensured he will take out this year’s golden boot award, following a close-fought battle with Rohan Daley.
With all their subs used, they were reduced to nine men for the final five minutes when Miller limped off with a hamstring injury, allowing Manyana skipper Mitch Butel to score a late consolation for his side.
Culburra coach Tony Gauci said the poor conditions did neither side any favours, but thought they both adapted well.
“They threw everything at us, so I was really happy with how the boys played,” Gauci said.
“We needed another good hit out before the semis and everyone went really well,” he added.
Manyana coach Matt Tooley had few answers for what went wrong and said they need to put it behind them ahead of next week.
“We got flogged and it was pretty disappointing, I definitely didn’t expect it,” he said.
“I did rest a few blokes who had yellow card trouble, so we were missing a couple but that’s no excuse really.
“We actually started well, the first 15 or so we were playing good football and creating opportunities and then they went down and scored on their first chance.”
While they may have won comfortably on Saturday, Gauci knows next week’s semi final is anything but a foregone conclusion.
“We’re onto the next stage now and it could be a completely different story this time,” he said.
“They’ll be keen, so need to put in our best to get the win so we can get a week off to rest some of the injuries,” he added.
Injuries are also an issue for Manyana, with sharp shooter Rohan Daley on the casualty list after sustaining ankle injury on Saturday.
“I’ve got two injured players so I’ll have to see how they pull up on Thursday and make a decision then,” Tooley said.
“We’ll pretty much just try and forget this and move one, hopefully the conditions are better next week, the pitch was ordinary but that was same for both sides,” he added.
Gauci named Daniel Wells, Mark Sheather and Jayden Witt as his best players, while Tooley thought Jackson Daley was their best.