Key players missing

THE Sea Eagles will have to steel themselves for their assignment today at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium without two of their most experienced players with confirmation that Brett Stewart and Steve Matai did not travel to Brisbane.

Sea Eagles players were mobbed by Manly fans at Brothers Junior Rugby League club on Thursday evening as hundreds turned out to meet their heroes but there was no sign of either Stewart or Matai, Tom Trbojevic called into the squad but still required to pass a fitness test on Friday.

With Trbojevic to assume the fullback position, 18th man Tom Symonds will come into the centres for Matai, prop Nate Myles resigned to the fact that Manly have once again been unable to field their best 17.

“It’s always going to be a blow, I think ‘Snake’ (Stewart) was 50/50 and ‘Skivvy’ (Matai) is going to be a big loss for us but that’s just part of footy,” Myles said.

“It hasn’t been our greatest strength, keeping the 17 on the field at the moment but we know what we’ve got there and we know what we can do and we look forward to it. For us, we played against the Cowboys in our last game and we were good for 60 minutes and no good for 20 minutes. It’s about challenging ourselves and getting the best out of ourselves and although it’s a cliché, we’re nowhere near where we need to be and consistency is the issue.”

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