Star Manly duo in doubt for 2017
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett admits star duo Brett Stewart and Steve Matai are no certainties to play on next season due to ongoing injury concerns.
Stewart has only managed 11 matches in 2016 and has been out indefinitely since Round 16 with a knee injury while Matai hasn't played since Round 9 due to a chronic neck condition.
With over 450 games of NRL experience sitting on the sidelines – and with skipper Jamie Lyon set to retire at season's end – Manly's formidable backline could look a lot different after a decade of dominance.
Both players are contracted for the 2017 season, but Barrett is hopeful rather than confident the dual premiership winners will be able to play on.
"I don't think we're 100 per cent confident that they'll recover, but we've certainly got our fingers crossed that they do because they are very important parts of our team," Barrett said.
"They'll both do everything they can to get their injuries right. It has been a frustrating year for the both of them but we'd hate to lose more senior players at this stage. Losing our captain is tough enough, so hopefully they can get through.
"'Snake' (Stewart) has had some setbacks with his knee and Steve Matai has had some pretty serious surgery on his neck. We've just got to monitor how they're going and try to get them back to 100 per cent fitness."
In better news for the club, rising star Tom Trbojevic revealed he would see out the season, downplaying an ankle injury that has plagued him since Anzac Day.
The Sea Eagles fullback has looked troubled at times in recent weeks but has no hesitations about the decision to delay surgery until the end of the season.
"I think a bit too much has been made of it. I feel like I'm travelling through alright," the 19-year-old said.
"Obviously I've got to get a few things done at the end of the year, but I think a lot of players are in the same situation as me, and they're all trying to push through the season. I feel like I'm good physically.
"When I hurt it against Newcastle I saw a surgeon and he said I was going to have to get it done.
"There was no real choice; it was easy for me. He said I could play through it and have it fixed it at the end [of the year] and that was the general consensus.
"I want to play as much footy as I can in my first full season after breaking into this side, so that was really an easy decision for me."