Geoff Toovey springs a selection surprise ahead of clash against the Cowboys.
In a massive shock, rookie Peta Hiku, more known as an outside back, has been named to play halfback in place of Daly Cherry-Evans for Manly’s game against the Cowboys in Townsville.
Ligi Sao earns his NRL debut in place of Anthony Watmough (NSW) while Jamie Lyon continues to prove why he is one of the best centres in the competition as does Jorge Taufua, who shined in his side’s 40-point demolition of Parramatta last weekend.
That win was an important one for the Sea Eagles, who have been struggling with injuries to key players in the last six weeks.
It broke a three game losing streak and kept them in the conversation about who will finish in the all-important NRL top four.
The Cowboys face huge changes given four Origin players are missing but amongst all the madness, Clint Greenshields has retained his fullback spot, with Matt Bowen (knee, round 18) to return next week.
Youngster Ethan Low has been named to start ahead of Gavin Cooper and Tariq Sims ,although that may change on game day.
Joel Riethmuller should get good minutes this week in the absence of Dallas Johnson (dropped).
It has been a disappointing season to date for the Cowboys, who many had picked to be one of the contenders for the title.
Players this week have said they rely on captain and five-eighth Johnathan Thurston too much in attack.
However, they will get their chance to try and win without their leader, as he will miss the game due to State of Origin duty.
Despite the inconsistent form, Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein continues to show why he is one of the best finishers in the game, having scored 11 tries in 15 games.
Tip: Manly by 10
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v MANLY SEA EAGLES at 1300SMILES Stadium
COWBOYS: Clint Greenshields, Ashley Graham, Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ray Thompson, Robert Lui, Ricky Thorby, Anthony Mitchell, Glenn Hall, Ethan Lowe, Jason Taumalolo, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Gavin Cooper, Tariq Sims, Scott Bolton, Michael Morgan (one to be omitted).
Ins: Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ricky Thorby, Anthony Mitchell, Ethan Lowe, Joel Riethmuller, Michael Morgan
Outs: Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott (Queensland), James Tamou (NSW), Dallas Johnson (dropped)
Others unavailable: Ashton Sims (suspension, round 20), Matt Bowen (knee, round 20)
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (capt), Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Peta Hiku, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Richie Fa’aoso, George Rose, James Hasson, Ligi Sao.
Ins: Peta Hiku, Ligi Sao
Outs: Daly Cherry-Evans (Queensland), Anthony Watmough (NSW)
Others unavailable: Jason King (shoulder, season), Joe Galuvao (Achilles, season)
Click here to watch a live stream of the Manly v North Queensland game.