Manly Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler has told his pack they need to raise their game when they take on the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
The Sea Eagles are priced at 21/20 to beat the Roosters and bounce back from a disappointing round one defeat against the Penrith Panthers last Thursday.
The Sea Eagles forwards have revealed how unhappy Hasler was following the loss to the Panthers when they once again failed to win the territorial battle.
It was an issue that dogged Manly against the better teams in 2021 and was there for all to see against the Panthers.
Hasler wants more speed and aggression and veteran prop Martin Taupau says it is important they dominate the middle against the Roosters and give their attacking stars more of the ball.
"In any squad it definitely starts in the middle. If you create that ruck momentum, the rest of the squad go off the back of that," Taupau said. "For the middle third, we go in with high intensity, high energy and a lot of intention to win that ruck.
"But it all comes down to what we do. We try and minimise the errors, the allowances of them attacking our tryline. The onus is on us, and if we don't do our job we deserve to cop a spray."
Star fullback Tom Trbojevic was kept quiet by the Panthers and Roosters halfback Luke Geary says that has not gone unnoticed as they prepare for the game.
"The field position battle is the big one," Keary added. "Penrith were good and they played a patient style of footy with Jarome (Luai) and Sean (O'Sullivan) kicking them into that corner.
"They made Manly come off their own line and I don't think Tom really had too many opportunities or good ball sets."