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Milestone man Hasler demands a response to big loss

Friday's match against the Warriors could prove crucial for Manly's finals hopes and Des Hasler has challenged his team to lift after being smashed by Penrith.

Walloped 42-12 last round, the Sea Eagles sit ninth with the Rabbitohs and Sharks leapfrogging them amid a luckless injury toll.

Five-eighth Dylan Walker is out after suffering a new foot fracture, with Cade Cust slotting back into the No.6, while centre Brad Parker (head knock) has been replaced by Tevita Funa.

Curtis Sironen (knee) and Joel Thompson were also ruled out on Thursday and Manly were given an exemption by the NRL to add Toafofoa Sipley to their squad.

Fullback Tom Trbojevic is set to return in a few weeks but Manly need to string some wins together to ensure they're in play-off contention once the Origin and Test star is available.

On paper a clash with the 12th-placed Warriors at Lottoland may seem like an easier kill for Hasler's troops but he isn't taking it lightly.

"I think it's also an important game for us ... against a Warriors team - who I think are always a dangerous entity at the best of times - playing some really good footy in some really good form the last two rounds," Hasler said on Thursday.

Sea Eagles v Warriors - Round 13

"With that in mind, I think it's important we respond to last week. There were some areas of our game where we let ourselves down a bit. It's important that we come back tomorrow with a good response."

A lack of cohesion due to frequent forced changes isn't ideal leading into the finals but Hasler said those in the side should block it out.

"At this stage, those players [need] to focus on their game and make sure they deliver what they need to in response to their role," he said.

He has faith that 21-year-old Cust, who came into the team from rounds 7-11 when Walker was initially injured, would step up.

"Cade's a great competitor and he's learning his craft. He'll be good tomorrow," Hasler said.

In typical fashion, Hasler has kept the fuss minimal as he prepares for his 400th NRL match as coach.

"I thought I'd done well to keep that quiet. Both from a playing aspect and a coaching aspect, I've had a wonderful time. It's been a wonderful ride and I'm enjoying it," he said.

"I enjoy every bit of it. You feel fortunate."

It's been a long journey for Hasler, who played 289 premiership matches for Penrith, Manly and Western Suburbs before entering the head coaching realm with the Sea Eagles in 2004.

Hasler reflects on career as he reaches 400

Manly finished 13th in Hasler's maiden season but he guided them to a grand final in 2007 and then the premiership the following year.

Another title came in 2011 when the Jamie Lyon-captained Sea Eagles downed the Warriors in the decider.

Hasler left for the Bulldogs in 2012, reaching two grand finals in six years at Belmore, before returning to the Sea Eagles last season and taking them to the finals.

"It's always being able to adapt and to be able to motivate," Hasler said of the secrets to his success.

When it was mentioned that Hasler's flowing blond hair hadn't changed since his playing days while the game itself has evolved, the wily mentor cracked wise.

"One of the great things during coaching is it's those around me whose hair tends to fall out … I'm quite proud of that," he joked.

"It's probably a legacy that I'll leave in the game – a lot of bald people, so that's good."

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