Barrett not confident Taupau will face Panthers after Denver ordeal
Manly coach Trent Barrett said Martin Taupau would be given up until game time to recover from jet-lag in a bid to face Penrith on Saturday but was not confident Kiwi Test prop would be cleared to play.
Taupau faced England in Denver last Saturday (Sunday morning AEST) before an electrical storm followed by other flight cancellations and delays dragged his commute out to several days before he eventually touched down in Sydney on Thursday morning.
"It will be on Marty, we'll give him a light run this morning then just see how he presents to the game tomorrow night but we'll take cover," Barrett said on Friday morning.
"I'm not that confident that he will play given the week that he's had. It's certainly not ideal given he's one of our best players and at the point we are at with our season this is a must-win for us, we've got to win all our games if we're to make the semis.
"He's a huge part of what we do and disappointing we've been put in this position."
Barrett said while he supported growing the game in other markets, international travel mid-season was a concern.
"We raised our concerns about it when the Denver Test was put into the calendar. I've said during the week I'm all for growing the game and taking games overseas but it's just the timing of it all," Barrett added.
"The main thing for us is our NRL competition. I thought the rep round was a huge success but to play the game over in Denver, it's just too far away and given the complications we've had trying to get Marty home has been a disaster.
"How he presents [Friday] morning will determine whether he's physically able to play tomorrow."
Barrett confirmed both Jake and Tom Trbojevic were good to go after light weeks following their State of Origin II win last Sunday but with a six-day turnaround from that to the Penrith game they were not in any doubt.
Barrett was also excited to be able to hand a Telstra Premiership debut to young hooker Manase Fainu, who he anticipated adding to the club's top-30 roster next week.
"He's a really good young player," Barrett said.
"He's a junior Kiwi and he's excited about playing out there at Penrith tomorrow. He's certainly a talent so for us to be able to bring him into the side is a bonus."
Fainu has been granted NRL clearance to play this week as a development player with no other fit hookers in the top squad following the release of Jackson Hastings and injuries to Api Koroisau and Lewis Brown.
"We all know how important Api Koroisau was but Manase we see as a long-term first-grader here, he can play halfback, he can play at the back of the scrum as well."
Fainu won't necessarily round out the club's roster for the year with an option to replace Akuila Uate following the winger's season-ending ankle injury during the rep round.
"There is a rule there that we can fill that spot but it has to be before Saturday and it has to be a winger so there's a bit of a rush on there but we have got some depth in those areas," Barrett said.
Prompted on the departure of Hastings, Barrett said he was "definitely" happy the issue was now resolved.
"It was certainly a distraction but it's in the past now and we've got to move on. We certainly wish Jackson all the best with what he decides to do," he said.