Barrett won't give up Fainu hooker fight

Scott Bailey

Manly coach Trent Barrett has pleaded with the NRL to allow him to play rookie hooker Manase Fainu, vowing to continue to apply for his registration each week until they do.

Barrett was forced to cycle through Trent Hodkinson and Matt Wright at dummy-half in the Sea Eagles' loss to St George Illawarra on Saturday, after Api Koroisau went down injured last week.

Manly had originally named development player Fainu in their team, but were denied the right to elevate him given the NRL deemed they had enough cover at dummy-half in their squad.

"I just question the whole idea behind your six development players," Barrett said.

"My understanding is they will probably change it next year but it's not going to help us now. It's going to be extremely difficult for us to make the semi-finals.

"I would love to be able to give the 19-year-old kid, who is a genuine first grader, 12 weeks of first grade and lead him into a pre-season next year and we're being denied that.

"And I don't agree with that."

Barrett argues that among the other hooking options, Wright is primarily an outside back, Lewis Brown a utility and controversial Jackson Hastings a half.

Combined, the group have started at hooker in just five of 390 first grade matches, with Barrett desperate to give his rookie a chance.

Manly also don't have the room in their squad to upgrade Fainu to their top 30, with all spots filled.

That includes released players Darcy Lussick and Nate Myles, while Moses Suli has already taken one of the few spots remaining when he was needed to cover injuries.

"I'm going to try every Monday to get him (Fainu) registered and I'm going to keep knocking on the door because I hope they realise the situation we are in," Barrett said.

"If we had an out and out No.9 sitting in my top 30, well then different story. But we don't.

"We've released some players due to the salary cap issues we've had.

"With the three season-ending injuries we've had, we're thin. The issues around Jacko. It's (the roster) is all a bit of a shit fight at the moment.

"It is what it is. But it would make it a little bit easier if I could pick the kid at hooker and finish the year on a good note."

Manly's cause may be made easier if Hastings is released to pursue what is believed to be interest from English clubs, freeing one hooking option from their squad.

"We do understand there is interest overseas and he's got until June 30 to figure it out," Barrett said.

"If that does eventuate it might open a spot for Manase to come in.

"If it doesn't I'm going to be sitting here every Monday applying for some dispensation for him."