Manly fired up: We will stick it up you
MANLY players will use this week's salary cap scandal to galvanise one-another with hooker Api Koroisau declaring: "We will stick it up anybody who wants to say anything".
And forward Joel Thompson said Manly's cap drama has shown him first-hand just how much the Sea Eagles are still rugby league's most hated club.
Manly's playing roster will attempt to put a week of turmoil behind them heading into Saturday night's vital match against winless Canberra at Lottoland.
The Sea Eagles' misconduct - described as "deliberate breaches" by the NRL - has seen the club implement an immediate siege mentality.
"I've noticed how much everyone does hate Manly. You see it through the media, you see it through the public. You see it everywhere," Thompson said.
"I like the fact everyone hates us and that sort of siege mentality. It's us against them again.
"Everyone against us. It's interesting but it's also good. I now realise how much people dislike the club.
"I'm sure (fans at rival club) would be loving this (the cap punishment). They'd be kicking back and absolutely loving it. Good on them. You hear about the history, they have been through a lot at this club."
Asked did he believe there was genuine anti-Manly sentiment in the media, Thompson said: "Yeah. You flick to the back page and you see different headlines and different stuff. You can see it.
"I don't know why. Since I have come here I have really noticed it a bit more."
Manly was fined $750,000 and had $660,000 deducted from their salary cap for the next two seasons.
Former Sea Eagles financial controller Neil Bare was booted out of the game. He wasn't spotted at the club's Narrabeen headquarters on Wednesday.
Thompson was now preparing for the inevitable - for he and teammates to be called cheats.
"Not yet but I'm waiting for it. I'll just have to bite my tongue and keep my head down," Thompson said.
"It is a shame what's happened and what's going to happen but it's life. It's chin-up, move forward and keep working hard.
"As 'Baz' (Trent Barrett, coach) said, we're footballers. Iit's out of our hands and there's nothing we can do. We have to stay tight and work hard. Get wins and the story goes away."
Manly players have spoken briefly about the cap punishment before focusing fully on the Raiders match. And Koroisau said his side was totally united.
"It is something that is instilled in the Manly club. When you come here, you know you're backs against the wall," he said.
"That is usually when Manly play their best footy. It happened a couple of times last year when things came out in the paper and we ended up coming out and winning.
"I think the boys are going to have the same attitude and really stick it up anybody who wants to say anything."
Sea Eagles' stars wouldn't admit it but there is a real fear one player may be axed for next season due to the penalties.
"Look, that might be what it comes down to," Koroisau said. "But, at the end of the day, we're not worrying about the future too much.
"It would be bad if someone did lose their spot in the side over salary cap, something they wouldn't even have been a part of. Something like that would hurt."