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DCE will rebound from series loss: Croker

Manly hooker Lachlan Croker is confident club captain Daly Cherry-Evans will overcome the emotional toll of losing the State of Origin series in time for Saturday's clash against Canterbury.

Cherry-Evans was visibly upset and almost speechless after Queensland surrendered the series to NSW at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.

His Sea Eagles teammate Tom Trbojevic had another Origin game to remember, guiding the Blues towards victory to seal a 2-0 series win with a game left to play in a fortnight.

The pair will return to their Sea Eagles teammates on Wednesday after undergoing a 48-hour quarantine in line with Project Apollo guidelines.

"Daly will just want to get back playing footy," Croker said.

"After game one he had a very good game two nights after [against the Cowboys].

"We don't have to worry about him. He worries about us more than anything and he'll be fine once he gets some footy under his belt.

"It's just one of those things. The Blues are a very good team and Turbo will be quite a happy camper when he gets back in with us.

"If he's not the best [player] in the game he's in the top three. It will be nice to have them around."

Turbo saves a certain try to Coates

The Sea Eagles enjoyed a week off while Cherry-Evans and Trbojevic played for their states but Croker said the break entailed plenty of defensive work after they trailed 24-8 against the Titans in round 15.

A blistering nine-try second half made up for the side's sluggish start, an area Croker wants to be rectified against the struggling Bulldogs.

"It's comforting to know that we can score points like that [but] our first half defensively was really disappointing," he said.

"The last month of footy we've found ourselves with those defensive lapses that we aren't very happy with, and Dessie isn't happy with at all.

"Momentum in this game with all the rule changes is massive.

"Being able to find ways to stop momentum and turn it the other way is probably what most teams are looking to do but that's where we're at."

Many predict Manly to be a dark horse capable of challenging heavyweights Melbourne and Penrith at season's end if they can rise to another level.

They're expected to beat a depleted Bulldogs outfit on Saturday but Croker remained wary of complacency.

"That was us last year and we know exactly what that feels like," he said.

"Sometimes things just don't work out the way that you want them to.

"It's not a lot of fun but would be turning up each week with 100 per cent effort. We're very aware that they're a capable team and if we don't turn up we'll be in for a tough game."

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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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