Brett Stewart still a few weeks away
Manly coach Trent Barrett says frustrated fullback Brett Stewart is still a few weeks off returning to NRL action as an ongoing hamstring injury limits his ability to train.
Barrett also shut down rumours demoted back-rower Tom Symonds is a chance of leaving the club mid-season.
"There's no situation with Tom Symonds, he's definitely not going anywhere, he's important to us," Barrett said of the former Rooster.
The first-year coach backed young gun Tom Trbojevic to continue to shine in Stewart's absence, praising the 19-year-old northern beaches junior as one of Manly's best in the 28-6 opening round loss to the Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval.
"He still won't be right [to face the Tigers on Monday]," Barrett said of Stewart at the club's Narrabeen headquarters on Friday morning.
"He ran again [Thursday] and he's as frustrated as anyone, Snake.
"He is important to the side but I thought Tom Trbojevic did a terrific job last week. He tried really hard in difficult circumstances and he was coming off limited preparation as well.
"We're not expecting Snake back for a couple of weeks."
In what is already a drastically revamped spine with former Rabbitohs centre Dylan Walker assuming Kieran Foran's old place in the halves alongside Daly Cherry-Evans, and two young hookers in Ai Koroisau and Matt Parcell job sharing former rake Matt Ballin's old role, further disruption to the spine hasn't helped the side click at the start of a new season.
But Barrett backed his new halves to come together sooner rather than later – "this week" was his optimistic assessment.
"There were some good signs there. Some of their finishes, Daly and Dylan were really good, particularly in the first half but for those two to play well we need an even share of the footy and they need football in good field position," Barrett said.
"It's going to take some time but the more football they play together the more confident they're going to be. The message to them this week is just to keep it really simple and build the game on the back of working hard."
Barrett added it would be tough for any halves when the team overall is giving away easy ball and easy metres – and lamented two occasions when his team failed to force the ball dead against Canterbury which could have prevent tries last week.
"We were disappointed with how things went last week but it's on again and we've worked hard to fix the things I think we need to fix," he said.
"There were some things that are really simple things that we need to fix. The two balls in the in-goal, [if we] dive on them, there's 12 points that we can save and you're in the game."
He also said the Sea Eagles couldn't afford to start the match slowly two weeks in a row.
"If you're that little bit off particularly at the start of a game then the game can be gone."