Wests Tigers' season is hanging by a thread after they lost another hooker to injury and were brought undone by Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic in a 32-12 loss to Manly at Lottoland on Thursday night.
With no recognised hookers left in their top squad, the 10th-placed Tigers now need to win their remaining three games and will likely have to do it with a combination of out-of-favour five-eighth Josh Reynolds and lock Elijah Taylor sharing dummy-half duties.
Just five days after Robbie Farah fractured his tibia against the Bulldogs his replacement Jacob Liddle went down with a serious knee injury just six minutes into the Sea Eagles clash.
Liddle's left knee collapsed inward after accidental contact from team-mate Tommy Talau, with the club fearful of an ACL rupture while even an MCL injury would put the 22-year-old out for the regular season.
Match: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Round 22 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
The club will also be sweating on playmaker Luke Brooks, who was placed on report for kneeing Jack Gosiewski in the head, and Chris McQueen, who failed an HIA after more friendly fire – an accidental head clash with Alex Twal.
There were no such headaches for Manly, who hit back from last week's poor loss to put the sword to the Tigers and join the Rabbitohs on 28 competition points. With a superior for-and-against the Sea Eagles sit in fourth spot for the time being.
Cherry-Evans and Trbojevic were heavily involved, with the skipper putting Gosiewski over for a first-half double and the fullback racking up 246 metres, six busts, a try assist and a big contribution to two other tries.
Gosiewski dives on a Cherry-Evans grubber
Gosiewski opened the scoring in the 19th minute off a Cherry-Evans grubber on his second trip to the Tigers in-goal, having already been denied once by a DCE forward pass in the lead-up.
The Tigers hit back with a lovely set play, with David Nofoaluma crossing from a brilliant Benji Marshall pass to level up.
Manly reclaimed the lead via Gosiewski's second shortly before the break as the back-rower, starting for the injured Curtis Sironen, crashed onto a Cherry-Evans short ball.
It became a quick double blow as Dylan Walker sent Tom Trbojevic into space in the very next set then backed up to score under the posts to make it 18-6 at the break.
Manly should have scored from a Brendan Elliot line break but the centre failed to pass to a supporting Cherry-Evans but it mattered little as a big Tom Trbojevic run allowed Jorge Taufua to scoot over from dummy half.
A scorching Trbojevic cut-out pass in the next set helped create a Moses Suli try to seal the result.
The Tigers clawed one back when Chris Lawrence sent Brooks over in the 72nd minute before Addin Fonua-Blake charged through some tired goal-line defence to ice the Sea Eagles' 13th win of the season.
Cherry-Evans provides for Gosiewski again