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Taupau told to tackle illegal NRL hits

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Manly want hitman Martin Taupau to tackle his shoulder charge issues to ensure he stays on the field this NRL season.

Taupau, along with fellow forward Addin Fonua-Blake, will miss the team's next two matches for no-arms hits in their round-one defeat to Parramatta last week.

Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett questioned why the shoulder charges were punished more harshly than the $1500 fine for punches, but still told his suspended duo to curb their aggressive instincts.

"You can't shoulder charge. That's something that Marty and Addin have got to address in their games because they're too important for us to miss," Barrett said on Friday.

"Marty's one, there was a fair bit of contact there, but Addin's one was he just lent into him more or less. And you don't get one for a punch. It is a bit of a grey area I suppose."

The suspensions, together with injuries to Lloyd Perrett and Darcy Lussick, left Barrett scraping the barrel of his front-row depth for Saturday's round-two clash with South Sydney.

Veteran Nate Myles has been promoted into the starting line-up, while newcomers Jarrad Kennedy and Shaun Lane will come off the bench.

"Obviously it's not ideal losing the three blokes on top of Lussick. It's just something I've got to deal with. I'm happy with who we've brought in," Barrett said.

"I'm confident and comfortable with the blokes we've brought in and all the blokes on the bench are real goers. They won't die wondering."

Barrett also revealed he had met with referees boss Tony Archer on Thursday to discuss a number of decisions that left his side with just 38 per cent possession against Parramatta.

The penalty count in the match was seven-to-five in the Eels' favour.

"I thought we did have some calls that were a bit harsh and probably some calls that didn't go our way. But in saying that, that's not to blame for our lack of respect for the ball," he said.

"He's in a tough position too - you can't turn back the clock. Hopefully we don't get so many of the ones we did in that game."

The Sea Eagles take on a Rabbitohs side that have been cruelled by the loss of captain and fullback Greg Inglis for six months to a knee reconstruction.

However, they could be boosted by the early return of halfback Adam Reynolds, who has trained for the past few days after undergoing surgery on his appendix.

"He'll improve their side no end, and largely due to his kicking game. We'll prepare that he'll play. Robbie Farah's also been good for them and he'll be one we're going to watch," Barett said.

STATS THAT MATTER

* South Sydney have lost their past eight matches without Greg Inglis playing, conceding 265 points while scoring just 62.

* Jake Trbojevic has scored two tries in his past two games against the Rabbitohs - the only team he has scored more than one try against.

* The Sea Eagles have not lost the opening two matches to a season at Lottoland since 2009, when they won just one of the opening four matches at the venue.

- Stats supplied by Fox Sports.

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