Hasler eyes backline shake up at Manly

·2-min read

Dylan Walker could lose Manly's No.1 jersey even before Tom Trbojevic returns as Des Hasler weighs up a backline reshuffle to kickstart their season.

Walker endured a difficult night in the wet in Manly's 26-12 loss to South Sydney on Saturday, coughing up the ball twice in just his fourth full game as an NRL fullback.

The Rabbitohs scored off one of those first-half errors, while Walker failed to stop an Adam Reynolds 40-20 just before halftime that led to another try.

Walker had been a surprise selection to fill Trbojevic's jersey to start the season, having barely trained there during the summer.

Trbojevic is not due back until round four at the earliest, and while Walker is a natural left centre Brad Parker was sound there on Saturday night.

"It was a tough day for any fullback. Obviously we have to keep looking at that," Hasler said.

"We might need to reshuffle some players.

"I thought Brad Parker was really good today (at left centre). We might have to look at options around that."

Where Manly do need to manufacture players ahead of Friday's clash with St George Illawarra is in the second row.

Late bloomer Andrew Davey suffered a suspected anterior cruciate ligament blow in the loss to the Rabbitohs, likely ruling him out for the rest of the season.

The injury is a cruel blow, given the 29-year-old only made his NRL debut for Parramatta last season before moving to Manly on a one-year deal.

Fellow second-rower Curtis Sironen was ruled out for up to six weeks with a knee injury on Friday, while Haumole Olakau'atu has a dislocated elbow.

That could prompt Hasler to continue using young gun Josh Schuster on an edge, after he came off the bench in that role on Saturday night.

Schuster is seen as an heir to the five-eighth throne at Manly after impressing in his debut last year, and the edge role would at least give him some first-grade experience.

"We probably need to invent another back rower," Hasler said.

"I thought he was admirable and did a good job, Josh. It was handy, we're going to need it."