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Manly in their loss to the Titans.

Manly coach Des Hasler hasn't been a happy man since his Sea Eagles players have broken one of the team's unwritten rules – don't lose two games in a row.

The 15-12 loss to the Panthers last week was that second defeat, after going down to the Titans at Lottoland a week earlier.

Manly started the 2019 Telstra Premiership season with two losses (Wests Tigers, Roosters) and made a vow they wouldn't do it again – which worked for eight weeks at least.

The Cowboys will now be stretching that theory again as they host the Sea Eagles at 1300Smiles Stadium on Saturday night.

"It's an important game for us. We've talked a lot about not losing two games in a row, but we've just done that," second-rower Curtis Sironen said.

"Des is going to make sure it's not three, so it's a big game for us. It's our first long turnaround in a while so we've been able to get some good training done.

Cowboys v Sea Eagles - Round 13

"It's a bit of goal (not to have a losing streak) so we need to switch on. Des has been really keen for us to back up a loss with a really good performance – we don't want to make it three in a row."

Perhaps the change in latitude and climate will help.

"It's one of the hardest trips but we're looking forward to the warmer weather considering what it's been like in Sydney," Sironen said of the journey to tropical Townsville.

It's also a vital game for Manly's ladder position. The seventh-placed side needs the win to not only stay in touch with the top eight but to try to wrestle free from the gaggle of five clubs sitting on 12 competition points.

Hopefully Manly's interchange hooker Manase Fainu has a better start to the game as well, after he ran into Martin Taupau in the warm-up to the Panthers game and broke his nose.

But he went on to play 27 minutes and scored a try – all with the usual head-strapping above his upper lip to stem the blood flow.

"I haven't heard of any nicknames yet but there's plenty of photos of him next to Fergo's mug shot," said Manly's starting No.9 Api Koroisau, referring to Eels winger Blake Ferguson and his broken nose photos posted on social media.

Fainu might have provided a little amusement for teammates but he definitely has their respect for opting to play under some duress.

A busted Manase Fainu.
A busted Manase Fainu. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"Surprised? No. Respect? Yes. I don't think anyone who knows him expected any less," Koroisau said.

"It must have been hard to breathe. But he found some way to do it. It's a massive compliment to himself as a footballer and as a person."

Prop Addin Fonua-Blake said he also expected no less from Fainu, who has been one of Manly's strongest performers in a revitalised Sea Eagles outfit in 2019.

"So many players hurt themselves in the warm-up or early in the first half and they go out and play through it. It's a tough game and we've got a lot of tough players," Fonua-Blake said.

"It was no surprise that Manase came out and did that. Underneath all that strapping was a gallon of blood so it was a credit to him to play."

Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic
Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic ©NRL Photos

Manly has their full complement of stars back on the field for the Cowboys. Tom Trbojevic is back after missing eight games with a hamstring tear, while brother Jake Trbojevic and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans have returned from Origin duties.

"We've had a few hiccups with injuries at the start of the season so it is probably the first time we've had everyone back at the same time," Koroisau said.

"It's really important to get this win now that we've got a few players back. But in terms of our standards as a team, that's got to be the last loss for us."

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