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Mansour 'clone' latest nomad covering $3m of injured talent

A Josh Mansour clone is just the latest NRL nomad called upon by Des Hasler as he covers for over $3 million of sidelined backline talent.

And back-rower Curtis Sironen bluntly concedes such a scenario would have had Manly "crapping our pants" at the start of their surprise run into this year's top eight.

With big names Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic injured and Dylan Walker suspended, the loss of Jorge Taufua to a two-week calf injury comes as Hasler confronts the Canterbury outfit that sacked him 18 months ago.

As a result the club has been granted an NRL exemption for rookie Abbas Miski to debut against the Bulldogs, with no other wingers available in Manly's first-grade squad.

Miski's call-up caps a lengthy road for the eight-time Lebanese international, whose greatest claim to fame to date is his uncanny likeness to Panthers counterpart Mansour.

The 23-year-old enjoyed cult status when the pair squared off at the 2017 World Cup, to the point that fans would stop Miski in the street for photos thinking he was the ex-Kangaroos winger.

Abbas Miski hits it up for Blacktown Workers.
Abbas Miski hits it up for Blacktown Workers. ©NRL Photos

His Brookvale debut this Saturday comes after stints in the juniors at St George Illawarra and Parramatta, followed by Norths and Wentworthville in Canterbury Cup.

Miski joins a well-travelled back five including Brendan Elliot (Roosters, Knights, Titans), Moses Suli (Wests Tigers, Bulldogs) and Reuben Garrick (Dragons), that despite their low-key status have proved pivotal in Manly's rise to sixth on the Telstra Premiership ladder.

"To lose Chez and be without Turbo for a fair bit of time this year, that's a lot of our attack sitting out," Sironen told NRL.com, having himself filled in at five-eighth when Cherry-Evans went down injured against Canberra.

"But guys have come in and lifted and just done their job.

"We've been without big Addin Fonua-Blake as well through suspension.

"We've done pretty well considering. If you told us at the start of the season we'd be without those four, we'd be crapping our pants a bit.

"But there's a different vibe around this year, a bit more belief and the hard work keeps you going.

"We've had guys come into the squad this year that have done really well, Reuben, Brendan Elliot, Corey Waddell, Manase (Fainu). Guys like that are just flourishing for us."

Being without the combined $2 million attacking arsenal that is Cherry-Evans (syndesmosis) and Trbojevic (hamstring) for the next month will be the true test of Manly's mettle.

But as Hasler hosts his old side Canterbury for the first time since the club sent him packing, Sironen said Sunday's 24-20 upset of the Raiders, despite losing Cherry-Evans, would have been beyond the Sea Eagles in recent years.

"I think it would've got away from us previously," Sironen said.

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"Even early we were down 12-0 after 10 minutes. In past years that would've done us, we'd put our heads down and the floodgates might open.

"But we all stood up and when you win games like that it always feels that much better.

"You know you've got a ready-made excuse, but we didn't let the excuses come into it."

Sironen expects recalled half Kane Elgey to stay at the scrumbase alongside Lachlan Croker, despite suggestions he will be reverting back into the halves.

As expected, little has been made at Manly when it comes to Hasler coaching against a Canterbury side still recovering from salary cap moves made under his watch.

But having played against his own junior side, the Wests Tigers, for the first time earlier this year, Sironen couldn't deny a win would be just that little bit sweeter for Hasler.

"It probably will be a bigger game for Des this week," Sironen said.

"I know when I played the Tigers I wanted to go out and put a bit more effort in but we haven't spoken about it.

"Des just gets on with it and is clinical with his work."