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Hasler has more big holes to plug as injuries take hold

Cade Cust will be slotted straight back into the halves as the Sea Eagles lick their physical wounds as well as some mental ones after conceding seven tries in the 42-12 loss to the Panthers on Saturday night.

Coach Des Hasler lost another three players and will try to rally his troops for what's certain to be another big battle in the middle when Manly meets the Warriors at Lottoland next Friday.

Five-eighth Dylan Walker (foot fracture), centre Brad Parker (concussion) and back-rower Curtis Sironen (knee) were all unable to complete the Panthers game.

"Dylan has a fracture, Brad has a serious concussion and will probably have to miss a week and Siro re-injured his knee," Hasler said.

"We'll find out how long (the trio is out) once they get scans.

"It's a short turn-around – we play Friday."

Losing Walker was a real blow. He only lasted 13 minutes before limping from the field. It was his first game back since injuring his foot in round six against the Raiders.

Hasler said it was "a different bone this time" but it could mean another month or so on the sidelines with only eight games left in the regular season.

Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Panthers

Cust was part of the back-to-back wins for Manly against the Eels and the Cowboys but was dropped for the Panthers game once Walker was cleared.

"What can you do about a fracture?" Hasler said.

"It wasn’t the same fracture – but you sort of expected Dylan to get through the 80."

Sironen has played the past few weeks with his right knee heavily strapped.

Sironen leaves field with knee injury

Hasler was adamant Sironen, who turned 27 last Friday, had not re-damaged his anterior cruciate ligament, which he tore in 2018.

But the coach will have to reshuffle his forwards and his back five ahead of the Warriors. At least Cust can slip straight back into his fruitful partnership with No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans.

His fullback Tom Trbojevic (hamstring) is still three to four weeks away from returning.

Now it's just a matter of how to keep possession for longer than the 40% they got against Penrith.

"Things just didn't go our way tonight," Hasler said.

"They were super disciplined with the ball. We found it difficult to get into the game.

"You can always lean on the fact about injuries but still, they were just better than us in key parts of the game.

"They just managed field position really, really well."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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