Manly's Croker to step up again in NRL

Scott Bailey
Lachlan Croker is ready to step up again as five-eighth for injury-hit Manly

Lachlan Croker is ready to overcome his own injury demons, with Manly confirming Tom Trbojevic will miss up to eight weeks of NRL action and Dylan Walker six.

Scans on Tuesday showed star fullback Trbojevic had injured a different part of his left hamstring to previously, but he would err on the side of caution with between six to eight weeks on the sidelines.

Five-eighth Walker has two fractures in his foot, but will avoid surgery and should be back by round 13.

Croker will fill the void left by Walker in what will be his third stint as Manly's No.6.

But he'll take the field on Sunday against Cronulla, knowing it's never been his form which has forced him out of the starting five-eighth role in the past.

The Goulburn junior first looked to have cemented the spot in 2018 before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and needed the third knee reconstruction of his short career.

On return last year, he starred in his first game back, scoring twice and helping Manly to a win over Canberra.

It looked as if Croker's time had come.

Then, half an hour into the game against Canterbury the following week, he was injured again, dudded by a torn hamstring.

And by the time he returned, Manly already had Walker back from suspension and had turned him into a five-eighth.

"I feel like that's been the story of my life," Croker said.

"That's footy and that's the way it goes. There are a lot of ghosts I've got in my background from that.

"It is pretty scary thinking about what's happened before, but it is what it is.

"Now, It's just about getting my body ready and just building into the week (against Cronulla)."

Despite his hard-luck story, Croker has learned he has what it takes to be a first-grade five-eighth.

Coming off the bench this year as a utility, he has impressed, pulling off a match-defining play in their round-two win over the Sydney Roosters.

He also fitted nicely into Walker's role in Sunday's win over Canberra, having a hand in both Manly tries despite playing on a makeshift left edge.

"You never want to be part of a team through injury. It's bittersweet, but it looks like it's fallen to me at the current time," Croker said.

"I'm just excited to be playing footy and building on it."

Manly will welcome back prop Martin Taupau and winger Jorge Taufua against Cronulla in some welcome injury news.

Centre Moses Suli is still at least another week off due to his broken finger.