Manly turn to unlikely halves

They’ve spent the bulk of their careers playing in different positions and had just one training run together in the lead up to Thursday’s NRL clash with South Sydney.

But Manly coach Trent Barrett is maintaining his faith that the class of unlikely halves pairing Apisai Koroisau and Dylan Walker will shine through in the absence of star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.

With Cherry-Evans expected to miss the next month with a high ankle sprain, much of the side’s fate will depend on Koroisau and Walker and their ability to fire the Sea Eagles’ attack.

After luring Walker from South Sydney late last year, Barrett is attempting to mould the former Test centre into a five-eighth and has had mixed results across the opening four rounds.

Koroisau, who won a premiership at hooker for Souths in 2014, started the year at No.9 but Barrett has backed his limited experience as a playmaker.

The 23-year-old played a handful of games in the halves during his time at Penrith last year, where Barrett served as an assistant coach, and has been used at five-eighth in NSW Cup over the past fortnight after being dropped.

He also ran there during the pre-season.

To make their task more difficult, Koroisau and Walker had just one training session together at Wednesday’s captain’s run due to Manly’s five-day turnaround after beating the Sydney Roosters last Saturday.

“We’ll iron out a few things and the big focus for us tomorrow night is defence,” Barrett said.

Thursday’s clash will be Walker’s first against his former club since his acrimonious split.

“In the back of his mind, that will always be there, but once that ball is kicked, it’s just another game of footy for Dylan,” Barrett said.

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