Manly coach Trent Barrett remains hopeful star duo Daly Cherry-Evans and Jamie Lyon will play in Monday’s NRL clash with North Queensland.
The pair trained with the Sea Eagles in Townsville on Sunday and will have their fitness assessed before a final decision on their availability is made.
Cherry-Evans (ankle) and Lyon (hamstring) have been badly missed by the Sea Eagles who have slumped to 14th on the ladder after an six-game losing streak – their worst run since 2004.
“Both will be monitored and we are hoping they will come through. If not, we have some good replacements there ready to go,” Barrett added.
Manly will also welcome back Dylan Walker from his NSW State of Origin duties with Matt Parcell (hamstring), Liam Knight (ankle) ruled out after picking up injuries in last week’s 30-10 loss to Gold Coast while Pita Godinet has been dropped.
Barrett says the key to overcoming the Cowboys – who are chasing 10 straight wins at their home ground stretching back the end of last season – will be overcoming their star-laden forward pack.
“They have got a huge pack who have dominated all year, particularly the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott, and James Tamou,” Barrett said.
“It was where we lost the battle when we played them at Brookvale Oval in round nine. It is a big job for our forwards.
“We are a better side now than when we last played them despite not getting the results we wanted in recent weeks.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green says he is weighing up who will fill the void left after Michael Morgan injured his knee in Wednesday’s Origin win for Queensland.
Ray Thompson could make a return from injury to replace Morgan with Rory Kostjasyn the other option.
“Ray’s an option for us, it might be too early, we’ll see how he pulls up from training,” Green said.
The remainder of the Cowboys’ Origin contingent – Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou, Justin O’Neill and Matt Scott – have all been cleared to play.
COWBOYS v SEA EAGLES – Key match stats
* North Queensland have won their past four against Manly and six of the Sea Eagles’ past nine trips to Townsville.
* The Cowboys have lost just one of their past eight Monday night matches.
* Brett Stewart’s nine games without a try is the longest drought of his NRL career.