Manly will find out on Monday how long they’re forced to make do without Tom Trbojevic as figures reveal why he’s the most influential attacking player in the NRL.
The superstar fullback was rushed in for scans on his left hamstring on Sunday night, just hours after the Sea Eagles’ gutsy 14-6 win over Canberra.
Five-eighth Dylan Walker was also sent alongside him, with Manly fearing possible ligament damage in his foot after initial concerns over his ankle.
Meanwhile, the initial feeling from Manly’s coaching staff is that Trbojevic’s injury is not as bad as the one that ruled the 23-year-old out for eight weeks last year.
But any absence of Dally M count leader Trbojevic will worry Manly fans.
The No.1 has either set up or scored 11 of Manly’s 14 tries this year. It means only three have been done without his involvement.
His 78.6 per cent influence in Manly tries is by superior to any other player in the competition.
Shaun Johnson is next best with 53.3 per cent at Cronulla, with he and Trbojevic the only two players to have set up or scored more than half their teams tries this year.
Working in Manly’s favour though is that he should be back well before the run into the finals.
“I’m not too concerned,” coach Des Hasler said.
“Obviously later in the season, there might have been more drama. There is still time to go.
“He’s just disappointed. He loves playing footy so that will be the hardest part.”
Manly should at least get some reinforcements next week against Cronulla.
Hasler is confident winger Jorge Taufua will return from a quad injury, while prop Martin Taupau back from a dislocated thumb.
Brad Parker would also be expected to overcome a concussion given the seven-day turnaround, meaning he can return to the centres.
Brendan Elliot will likely move to fullback as he did at the end of last season to cover Trbojevic.
Hasler said he will have no hesitation throwing Lachlan Croker in at No.6 in place of Walker, after he impressed in Sunday’s backs-to-the-wall win.
“He’s been in great form,” Hasler said.
“In round two he came off the bench against the Roosters and he really turned that game.
“He came up with a tackle on Tedesco that swayed it back our way.
“Each time he has come on he’s produced something. He’s a quality player.
“He’ll slip into that position vacted by Dylan until Dylan is right and will take the opportunity.”