Manly can make NRL finals, says Hasler

Manly coach Des Hasler is clinging to the hope that the Sea Eagles can scrape into the NRL finals after keeping their season alive with victory over Canterbury.

DES HASLER
DES HASLER Picture: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

After a record 250 games in charge, including three grand finals and two premiership triumphs, it's no surprise Des Hasler is refusing to give up on Manly's NRL play-off hopes.

Despite the mathematics being well against the Sea Eagles, Hasler still believes in miracles.

"Go Warriors," the veteran mentor said after Manly climbed to 10th spot on the ladder with a 32-20 comeback win over Canterbury on Friday night.

Victory over the Bulldogs, who he coached to another two grand final appearances, not only all but consigned his old club to the 2020 wooden spoon but also kept alive the Sea Eagles' slimmest of finals hopes.

Four points adrift of eighth-placed Cronulla in 10th spot, Manly would have to thump both Gold Coast and the Warriors in their last two regular-season games and hope the Sharks suffer heavy defeats in their remaining three matches to scrape in.

But with the Sharks facing the Warriors on Sunday night, then last year's grand finalists Canberra and the Sydney Roosters, it's not inconceivable.

Boosting the Sea Eagles' chances is the likely long-awaited return of superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic from a hamstring injury for next Saturday's hosting of the Titans at Lottoland.

The former NSW Origin and Test No.1 hasn't played since June.

Dylan Walker (foot) and Reuben Garrick (shoulder) could also return, but it's potential presence of Trbojevic that most excites Hasler.

"He's jumped through hoops, He's just got to tick some squares now," Hasler said.

"At the end of the day, they're footballers and they want to play football so it's not out of the equation.

"So go the Warriors."

Where there's life, there's hope for not only Manly but also the Warriors and Wests Tigers.

A Warriors loss to the Sharks on Sunday, though, would put paid to all their chances and guarantee Cronulla settle the 2020 top eight.