Manly face a nervous wait on Addin Fonua-Blake’s knee as coach Des Hasler insists their mounting injury toll can’t be used as an excuse for their poor form.
Fonua-Blake suffered a suspected PCL injury in the Sea Eagles’ 26-22 loss to the Warriors, with Manly expecting he could miss a couple of weeks after scans.
Fellow starting prop Martin Taupau will also need to pass concussion checks to face Newcastle after being hit high, but has a nine-day turnaround in his favour.
Second-rowers Joel Thompson and Curtis Sironen both missed Friday’s loss.
Tom Trbojevic is still at least a fortnight away and Dylan Walker faces another five weeks on the sidelines with a fractured foot.
But still, Hasler has told his players their casualty ward can’t be an excuse.
The Sea Eagles have now lost five of their past seven games, going from top-four contenders to battling for a spot in the eight.
“We were winning these kind of games last year (with injuries), Hasler said.
“We just can’t fall back on it.
“We should have won that game, we had chances to win it without six or seven regular first graders, so you can’t use it as an excuse.”
Working in Manly’s favour is their run home.
Melbourne is the only top-four team they face again, while big games against Newcastle and South Sydney await in the next fortnight.
After that, they have four matches to finish against bottom-eight teams.
But Hasler is desperate for things to turn around fast.
And that will start with the beginning of matches. In the past two weeks they have been outgunned for the opening, giving up the ball in the first set and conceding early tries.
“It’s something we need to fix pretty quickly,” Hasler said.
“We travel to Newcastle next week, so that’s not going to be easy.
“Our start today, we had enough possession but we need to stick at it. There’s key parts of the game we’re not efficient at at the moment.”