Manly hope to have Dylan Walker back next week but Cade Cust has shown he is ready to step up again if the Sea Eagles take it slow with their star No.6.
The 21-year-old was arguably Manly’s best in Friday night’s 24-12 win over North Queensland, setting up a second half try and scoring another.
Impressive in last week’s win over Parramatta, Cust only took the five-eighth spot off Croker in that match after coming off the bench in previous weeks.
Walker is a chance of returning in next Sunday’s clash with Penrith, but Cust’s performance could take some pressure off Manly to rush their first-choice No.6 back.
Hasler even made a point to raise Cust’s performance off his own bat at the end of his press conference on Friday night in Townsville.
“You haven’t mentioned Cade Cust, he was really good tonight,” Hasler said.
“He was very strong. He came up with some big players, a line break and a try.
“He played there last year, six or eight games. He was very strong there. Very competitive. I thought he was outstanding tonight.”
Cust was equally solid in his stint at five-eighth last year, setting up six tries and scoring four of his own i his seven games starting last season.
The Sea Eagles’ win moved them back into the eight, and took their record without Walker and Tom Trbojevic to 2-3.
Trbojevic is still due to miss at least another three weeks, with games against Panthers, Warriors and South Sydney to come before then.