Manly admit they’ve been forced to delay Tom Trbojevic’s ankle surgery because of their horror injury toll which has sidelined $3 million worth of players.
Rising fullback Trbojevic will play through the pain of a high ankle sprain over the last three rounds of the regular season despite needing to go under the knife.
Surgery would rule Trbojevic out for the final few weeks of their 2016 campaign and, with the 12th placed Sea Eagles’ top-eight chances extinguished, he would ordinarily have been booked in for the procedure.
However coach Trent Barrett revealed the club’s stocks were running so thin that he had just 18 fit players available for Saturday’s clash with Melbourne.
It meant he had been forced to delay Trbojevic and Jorge Taufua (shoulder) undergoing season-ending surgery because he needed all hands on deck.
“I wouldn’t risk them if it was going to affect them long-term,” Barrett said.
“Particularly with Tom being so young, but we had an opinion off the doctor and the surgeon that you can’t make it any worse, we’re still going to have to get it fixed.
“If they don’t play, we’re going to be calling on under-20s players.
“That’s not the right thing to do.”
After Dylan Walker was this week ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, Barrett estimated he will have about half of his salary cap missing when they take on the Storm at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
“We are certainly missing a lot of players, upwards of $3 million worth of players have been out for probably six weeks now,” Barrett said.
“When you look at that, I’m really proud of how we’ve performed. There are some good signs there, it’s just not reflected on the table.”
MANLY’S INJURY WARD
Players unavailable for Manly this weekend
* Dylan Walker (shoulder, season)
* Steve Matai (neck, season)
* Brett Stewart (knee, indefinite)
* Brenton Lawrence (pec, season)
* Jayden Hodges (ACL, season)
* Tim Moltzen (ankle, retired)