Off-field matters not kind to Geoff Toovey’s side as depth at the club is tested.
Suspensions and injuries have forced Manly Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey to name a vastly different side ahead of their battle against St George Illawarra this weekend.
Steve Matai (suspension, round nine) is replaced by Tom Symonds at centre, with Peta Hiku coming onto the bench for his second game.
Toovey has named a new-look bench given doubts over Jamie Buhrer (knee) and the absences of Richie Fa’aoso (suspension, round 16) and Jason King (shoulder, round nine), with David Gower, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Esi Tonga and George Rose called into the side.
Manly have been one of the form sides of the competition over the first two months, but they dropped a rare game at home last weekend, when a fired-up South Sydney blew them off the park in the second half.
Glenn Stewart returned from off-season knee surgery last weekend, and while he played the entire game, his match fitness will need to improve before he gets back to the level of play normally associated with him.
For the Dragons they will be looking to pick themselves up again, after running into a red-hot Sydney Roosters outfit.
Despite the general lack of star power across their side, St George won their previous three games through a combination of effective tackling and working the fringes of the field well.
The Dragons have made just two changes for the game, with Damien Cook and Michael Weyman added to an extended side
DRAGONS: Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Daniel Vidot, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Jack Stockwell, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (capt), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Matt Prior, Jack de Belin, Damien Cook, Michael Weyman, Will Matthews (two to be omitted).
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (capt), Tom Symonds, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Peta Hiku, David Gower, Jamie Buhrer, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Esi Tonga, George Rose (two to be omitted).