Trent Barrett believes up to four of his Manly players should be featuring in State of Origin as the club braces itself for the representative period after kick-starting their season with two impressive wins over the past fortnight.
Barrett is hoping the Trbojevic brothers, Jake and Tom, along with hooker Api Koroisau will play for NSW and his halfback Daly Cherry-Evans for Queensland.
The Sea Eagles are flying high off the back of upset wins of the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium and the Storm at AAMI Park.
On Friday they are at GIO Stadium to face the Raiders, who like Manly are on eight competition points, or two wins outside the top eight.
"It's been particularly good and I think we have turned the corner pushing through a fair bit of drama on and off the field," Barrett said, referring to alleged salary cap breaches still the subject of an appeal by Manly to the NRL, and the Jackson Hastings fall-out with Cherry-Evans and coaching staff.
The Sea Eagles roster was looking thin already, then centre Dylan Walker suffered a fractured eye socket in a punch-up with Storm's Curtis Scott and faces a month out at least.
Barrett says Scott suspension doesn’t seem fair
"We've got to be really strong and really tough over the next fortnight and try and get a couple of wins up."
The Cowboys are struggling in 15th but will have Johnathan Thurston on deck, although they are likely to be missing Matt Scott, Coen Hess and Michael Morgan to Origin duty.
"We've got cover," Barrett said of plugging Origin holes. "We're lucky enough to get Jorge Taufua back this week and next week we'll have Brad Parker and Jack Gosiewski fit so we'll be able to handle it.
"But any major injuries this week is going to test us out."
"I do hope the Trbojevics are in there and I do hope Api, even though he's not playing [suspension v Canberra], because I think he'd be a real asset for NSW," Barrett said.
"He's a bit different to [Damien] Cook and [Cameron] McInnes, who they're talking about. I think he [Koroisau] can add something to the side.
"The other two are really strong ball runners but Api is probably the more creative of the three. Whatever Freddy goes with we're all barracking for NSW.
Raiders v Sea Eagles - Round 12
"Cherry is the other one who's playing very well. I certainly think he'll be well in the mix. His last 18 months of footy have been really, really good.
"As for Tom and Jake exactly the same. Their last four weeks has been really good. Tom has come through a bit of a hard patch and come out the other side."
Barrett also felt Walker was a chance before his injury.
"I feel for Dylan. He was coming into some real good form. That has sort of ruled him out of contention for an Origin jumper as well, which is disappointing for him."