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Keppie seeking to make bench impact

Manly forward Sean Keppie has vowed to increase his impact from the interchange bench in Sunday's clash with Cronulla after starting for the first time this season against Canberra last weekend.

Keppie stepped into the front-row in place of Samoan Test prop Martin Taupau (thumb) and played 45 minutes as the injury-hit Sea Eagles overcame the loss of three backs to down the Raiders 14-16.

With star fullback Tom Trbojevic suffering a hamstring injury shortly after half-time, Manly were reduced to one interchange for 28 minutes as back-rowers Curtis Sironen and Jack Gosieswki were in the centres and Lachlan Croker at five-eighth.

Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler rotated Keppie, Taniela Paseka and Morgan Boyle with the young props trying to bring energy to the team each time they came on as no other player could receive a spell.

Keppie, a Narellan Jets junior whose only previous starting appearance was against Cronulla in last year's elimination final, produced a big play near full-time when he jolted the ball loose in a tackle on Siliva Havilli.

The former Australian Schoolboys representative said he had learned a lot from the experience and would try to do the same when he comes off the bench against the Sharks following the return of Taupau.

Sea Eagles v Sharks - Round 7

"It was a great experience," said Keppie, a Narrellan junior. "That was a tough game and a tough win, and it made me appreciate what the boys who start do every week. I will take that into every game I play now. I will come off the bench and try to have more impact.

"I know how much effort it takes to start the game so I have got to back that up coming off the bench now."

Paseka said he had noticed how much Keppie had grown in confidence since being called up for his NRL debut in the final round of last year's Telstra Premiership.

He has now played nine consecutive games for Manly, including all six matches this season.

"Everyone is confident about doing their own job, especially young blokes like Sean Keppie," Paseka said. "He has got really good confidence now.

"He has trained really good, he has stepped up to the plate and he has done a good job."

Keppie said the Sea Eagles were confident they could overcome the absence of Trbojevic and five-eighth Dylan Walker (ankle) in the clash with Cronulla.

"We train for those things and if someone else gets thrown into a position you have to take the weight on your shoulders and go," he said.

"We believe in all of our team-mates, we believe we could do it and you saw what happened [against the Raiders]."

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