Manly can handle spine adjustment: Koroisau
Their high-functioning spine has been a key to Manly's surge this season but hooker Apisai Koroisau is confident they have the depth to cover for the loss of fullback Tom Trbojevic for the next two months.
As they went on a run of five wins through seven games from Round 3 it became evident that the Sea Eagles spine of Trbojevic, Blake Green, Daly Cherry-Evans and Koroisau was developing into one of the most effective in the Telstra Premiership.
Despite Koroisau's confidence, the loss of Trbojevic exposes Manly's concerning lack of depth in the fullback position in particular with coach Trent Barrett opting to name the experienced Matthew Wright in the No.1 jersey for Saturday's clash with the Titans on the Gold Coast.
Wright hasn't started a game at fullback since Round 17, 2014 when he was with the Cowboys but given Dylan Walker's unconvincing turn there last year and Brian Kelly's limited experience in the position in the under-20s Barrett was left with little alternative.
No matter how well he plays Wright cannot match the athleticism and explosiveness of Trbojevic but Koroisau is adamant that the team can adapt and play an effective brand of football in the absence of their star youngster.
"We've got a pretty versatile team," Koroisau told NRL.com.
"Our spine has been together for the first bit of the season and it has really helped but whoever is going to fill that role I know is going to be able to do the job.
"They'll be picked there for a reason so we'll back them for whatever it is."
Seemingly on the verge of Origin selection for New South Wales, with five tries, seven try assists, 12 line breaks and 39 tackle breaks Trbojevic has been at the forefront of much of the good work Manly has done in attack this year, a fact not lost on Titans coach Neil Henry.
"I think it's a pretty big blow for the team, he's been sensational," Henry said.
"His touches in the game against the Broncos were outstanding, very much a handful through the middle of the field and strong under the ball.
"They're resilient and playing some good footy and their away record is actually better than their home record so travelling doesn't seem to worry them. We have to be really wary."
The Sea Eagles gave up a 14-0 lead against the Broncos last week largely thanks to the try Brisbane scored in the immediate aftermath of the injury to Trbojevic and the blow that caused to their confidence.
Despite the 24-14 loss to the Broncos, Koroisau believes they showed enough against fourth-placed Brisbane to reaffirm their position as a genuine contender in 2017.
"I think we definitely showed everyone that we are contenders," Koroisau said.
"To be able to go 14-0 up in one half is really good and I think we were playing some really good footy too.
"There were a few unlucky tries that come off some pretty ugly plays that was the difference but as a team we defended really well.
"We were feeling really good at half-time and we were playing really well and to come off second best at the end of it is pretty hard to take.
"It's just key that we take the positives out of the game. We need to look at what we did right and how we can better ourselves."
Such has been Koroisau's own personal form that his name has been mentioned by Blues coach Laurie Daley among those under consideration to wear the No.9 jersey for the Blues in Origin I at Suncorp Stadium.
The Fijian international has been averaging more than 53 run metres and 37 tackles per game this season and troubled the Broncos' ruck defence no end with his darting runs last week, giving the credit for his career-best form to the players around him.
"This is definitely the best I've played at hooker and a lot of the credit goes to the boys," said the 24-year-old.
"Marty Taupau is absolutely destroying opposition packs and playing behind 'DCE' (Cherry-Evans) and Blake Green has been awesome.
"They're leading us around the park and really showing us how it's done.
"To be able to play with familiar people every single week really helps, especially when you start getting in the groove and feeling how they play and what their traits are.
"You can really play off the back of that so hopefully I can continue my form like that and some of these big forwards are really helping my game as well."