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Manly ready to prove they're NRL real deal

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/05/2017 Laine Clark

It may be billed as a State of Origin audition but Manly believe Saturday night's NRL clash with Brisbane is a chance to prove they are the "real deal".

Queensland coach Kevin Walters will run the rule over Broncos pivot Anthony Milford's battle with the Sea Eagles' Daly Cherry-Evans as he contemplates a replacement for Maroons playmaker Johnathan Thurston (shoulder).

There will be no shortage of sub plots with Manly bench prop Nate Myles hoping to earn a 32nd Queensland jersey and Sea Eagles siblings Tom and Jake Trbojevic daring to dream of becoming NSW teammates for this month's Origin series opener.

Manly lock Jake Trbojevic says their Suncorp Stadium "home" game as part of the NRL's doubleheader was a golden chance to show Trent Barrett's side were a premiership force.

"The Broncos are one of the best teams in the competition, a win against them will hopefully prove we are the real deal," he said.

"We need to get back in to the finals.

"The last couple of years have been pretty disappointing for us."

The Sea Eagles are vying for a third-straight win after overcoming a shaky season start to cruise in to the top eight. The fourth-placed Broncos have won four straight.

Manly coach Trent Barrett admits the match would produce plenty of Origin speculation but hopes his players don't take notice.

"I certainly don't want that at the forefront of our individuals' minds," he said.

Yet Barrett talked up Cherry-Evans' Origin chances.

Cherry-Evans played the last of his six Origin games in 2015 but Barrett believes the playmaker was ready to don the maroon jersey again.

"He is one of the form halves of the competition this year," Barrett said.

"He is leading the competition in try assists, he's in a really good space at the moment.

"It's a big game for him."

Jake Trbojevic relished the prospect of running out alongside brother Tom for the Blues.

"It would be a dream come true. It was pretty special just to play first grade together," he said.

"But you don't want to think too much about it, what it's like or whether we are up to it."

Barrett had no concerns with fullback Tom Trbojevic getting caught up in Origin hype.

"Nothing much really worries Tommy. He's taken it all in his stride thus far," he said.

"We haven't seen anything to worry about."

Meanwhile, Brisbane centre James Roberts (ankle) won't make an NRL return after failing a fitness test.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Manly have won 16 of 19 "home" matches held away from Lottoland since 2006.

* Brisbane have lost just one of their past nine matches at Suncorp Stadium - a 21-20 golden point loss to North Queensland in Round two.

* Source: Fox Sports Stats

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