Sea Eagles suffer double injury blow
The Sea Eagles will have to steel themselves for their Saturday assignment at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium without two of their most experienced players with confirmation that Brett Stewart and Steve Matai did not travel to Brisbane.
Sea Eagles players were mobbed by Manly fans at Brothers Junior Rugby League club on Thursday evening as hundreds turned out to meet their heroes but there was no sign of either Stewart or Matai, Tom Trbojevic called into the squad but still required to pass a fitness test on Friday.
With Trbojevic to assume the fullback position, 18th man Tom Symonds will come into the centres for Matai, prop Nate Myles resigned to the fact that Manly have once again been unable to field their best 17.
"It's always going to be a blow, I think 'Snake' (Stewart) was 50/50 and 'Skivvy' (Matai) is going to be a big loss for us but that's just part of footy," Myles said.
"It hasn't been our greatest strength, keeping the 17 on the field at the moment but we know what we've got there and we know what we can do and we look forward to it.
"For us, we played against the Cowboys in our last game and we were good for 60 minutes and no good for 20 minutes. It's about challenging ourselves and getting the best out of ourselves and although it's a cliché, we're nowhere near where we need to be and consistency is the issue."
Returning to the ground where he was booed last season in the wake of his backflip on a move to the Titans, Sea Eagles half Daly Cherry-Evans believes his side can attack the game without fear against a Broncos team he says is the benchmark.
"It will be an upset," Cherry-Evans said of a Sea Eagles win. "Realistically there's no pressure on us which is great.
"We've come down here very confidently, we've had a good week in preparation so we're looking forward to the challenge of the Broncos who are the benchmark at the moment.
"The quality of sides that are playing, we're looking at three of the top four sides so it will be a great night of footy and we all know how passionate Queensland fans are about their rugby league so I can't wait to get out there.
"As a club that only has a suburban ground it's something that we definitely envy, the availability that the Broncos have to fill that stadium and they go close every week."
While the financial payoff will be significant many have questioned Manly's decision to relocate a game at Brookvale to Brisbane's home turf but Myles is adamant his team will get just as much of a lift from the atmosphere as the Broncos.
"We'll play them anywhere," said Myles, who scored the first of his seven NRL tries at Suncorp Stadium back in Round 9, 2005.
"The stadium is purpose-built for our game and I've got no doubt it's the best one for rugby league in Australia.
"It's amazing and the best part about it is all the supporters that get there every weekend. Everyone is a passionate rugby league fan and it's so easy to hear people when you're on the field. It's always great to be a part of any game at that stadium.
"You can actually hear the fans and everything they're voicing when you're on the field and I have no doubt that we're going to grow a leg whenever the crowd goes up too."