We've got the space for Taupau: Barrett

Murray Wenzel
1 / 2

Taupau

Marty Taupau is rumoured to be in the sight of a number of rival clubs. Pic: Getty

Manly coach Trent Barrett expects rival clubs to "pick the eyes out" of his team but has laughed off the suggestion that gun forward Martin Taupau is up for sale.

The Sea Eagles will take a home game to Suncorp Stadium when they play Brisbane on Saturday, with Barrett confident the side has moved on from its internal struggles and salary cap headaches.

Taupau is signed to the Sea Eagles until the end of 2020 but reports suggest the New Zealand international's time at the cash-strapped club could end prematurely to free-up salary cap space.

But an upbeat Barrett said he had joked with Taupau about speculation suggesting he was being put in the shop window, saying the club had enough wiggle room to keep the 28-year-old long-term.

"Contrary to a lot of media reports we're under the cap, well under," Barrett said.

"We have a laugh about it ... we don't have to move anyone and we won't be moving Martin.

"When the cap stuff comes up other clubs are trying to pick the eyes out of your best players and obviously he's one of them."

Internal dramas have also plagued the playing group this season, with out-of-sorts Daly Cherry Evans fined $10,000 for his role in a Mackay night out that led to the banishment of teammate Jackson Hastings.

Barrett admitted on Friday that incident had impacted the team's performances but that it was in the past now, a sentiment echoed by Taupau.

"Our playing group is very solid, our coaching staff is very supportive as well," he said.

"My contract here is until 2020. For me, my main priority is to play rugby league for Manly and to play to the best of my ability."

The Sea Eagles (2-7) have turned a corner in the last fortnight after a horror start, while the Broncos (5-4) have managed four wins of four points of less.

Players from both teams are likely to wear metal studs in their boots on what is tipped to be a torn-up and slippery playing surface after Melbourne and the Gold Coast play the first game of a double-header.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Broncos have won the past two against Manly and will be aiming for three straight for the first time since winning the opening three against them from 1988-89.

* Matches between the two sides tend to be blowouts with 31 of the 43 decided by double digit margins, including each of the past six and three of the last four at Suncorp by 24 points or more.

* Manly has lost its past six and 11 of their past 12 matches away from Brookvale Oval.