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Tigers pre-season thrashing hurts Manly

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Daine Laurie showed he can be a force at fullback for Wests Tigers as their 52-18 trial flogging of Manly left the Sea Eagles facing even bigger problems at hooker.

Just days after they lost Tom Trbojevic for the first three rounds, the Sea Eagles now have a bigger issue at No.9 after Cade Cust hurt his wrist in the pummelling.

Already thin on hookers, the Sea Eagles lost Cust 25 minutes into the Leichhardt Oval trial when he was hurt trying to make a tackle.

It summed up a poor day for Manly, as Laurie scored two tries in the first 12 minutes and Luciano Leilua wreaked havoc on the left edge.

But with Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic all sitting the game out, the scoreline was the least of Manly’s concerns.

Instead, it will be their dummy-half role.

Lachlan Croker did not play in Sunday’s trial due to a hamstring concern, Manase Fainu remains stood down until at least July and the club let go of Danny Levi at the end of last year.

Cust had not regularly played hooker before this year but was expected to move into the role either starting or off the bench behind Croker.

But he now appears likely to be in a race against the clock to play the Sydney Roosters in round one.

In better news for Manly Morgan Harper was solid in his 80 minutes at fullback, making several last line of defence tackles to save tries from break.

He looks the man most likely to fill Trbojevic for the first three rounds, after the superstar No.1’s hamstring blow.

The Tigers meanwhile have no such worries with their fullback.

The 21-year-old Laurie was quick on his feet, skipping past two Manly defenders as he went short side for his first try in the eighth minute.

He was darting through the same left edge again four minutes later, when he made the most of a neat Leilua offload from 10 metres out.

Luke Brooks kicked goals and was also impressive as he prepares to take full control of the Tigers’ attack, while James Roberts looked dangerous inside David Nofoaluma.

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