Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans is in a race against time to play against the Broncos next week, but should be ready for Origin II.
Cherry-Evans sat out Queensland’s Origin I win on Wednesday night because of a shoulder injury and will definitely miss the Sea Eagles’ clash with North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday.
His final chance to play ahead of Origin II is when Manly meet Brisbane next Friday.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey said the club was mindful of not exacerbating the injury and while he was touch-and-go to take on the Broncos, he would be right for Origin II at the MCG on June 17.
“I’m pretty sure (Cherry-Evans) will be fit for the second State of Origin, it’s just a matter of whether or not he plays for us next week against Brisbane,” Toovey said.
“He’s doing as much as he can to get back. We’re quietly – not confident – but hopeful that he will play (against Brisbane).”
Cherry-Evans has been restricted to rehab on his shoulder at training and has yet to resume contact work.
As the star No.7 battles to be fit, speculation continues to swirl about whether he will backflip on his deal to join the Gold Coast next NRL season.
Manly have until the close of business of Tuesday June 9, the day after the conclusion of round 13, to convince Cherry-Evans to stay.
Toovey would not be drawn on whether the Sea Eagles had offered their halfback an upgraded contract, but he said he was seeking a resolution to the saga soon.
“The quicker a decision is made either way the better for the club,” he said.
“We understand what’s going on and we’re waiting for a decision.”
Cherry-Evans will miss Saturday’s match with the Cowboys however his halves partner Kieran Foran will return from injury provided he gets through the side’s captain’s run in Townsville on Friday.