Injury-hit Manly are expected to receive relief when hooker Matt Parcell returns this weekend.
Parcell was back at the club’s training base at Narrabeen on Monday and is hopeful of recovering from a hamstring strain in time to take Newcastle on Anzac Day.
Their spine already in disarray with halfback Daly-Cherry Evans out with an ankle problem, the Sea Eagles were given a fresh headache the day before last week’s 22-10 loss to Parramatta when Parcell was a late withdrawal.
With back-up No.9 Apisai Koroisau filling in for Cherry-Evans at halfback, coach Trent Barrett was forced to draft in versatile back-rowers Lewis Brown and Blake Leary to plug the hole.
While both toiled admirably, Parcell’s influence was lacking.
“I haven’t trained at hooker for a long time and I haven’t started at hooker before,” Brown said.
“I just try to do my job for the team. I got called in late on the captain’s run and Matty Parcell pulled out then, it’s just something I had to do for the side.”
Leary admitted to feeling uncomfortable in the position, and joked that his kicking licence had been permanently revoked after putting in a grubber which cheaply turned over possession in the second half.
Asked if he expected Parcell back, Leary said: “I hope so, for my sake anyway.
“We’ll see how he goes and hopefully he trains well.
“I’ve spent a little bit of time there, doing the same thing coming off the bench. I actually debuted there for the Cows. But it’s not exactly what I wanted.”